This technique can be incredibly useful if you can remember to use it, I so often forget. Even though my OCD is a lot better nowadays I still have parts of the day which I find harder than others, for example: washing up and going to sleep at night are daily activities where I find my OCD can run away with itself if I’m not careful. I have, over the years noticed that if I can focus my mind on something other then the OCD thoughts, then the OCD doesn’t tend to take hold in quite the same way.
let me try and explain with a couple of examples:
Whilst washing up, I can convince myself that the water isn’t clean, the tap is dirty, the draining board is making the clean washing up dirty again, I could go on. I have in fact, on more then one occasion, had to change washing up water and rewash items numerous times. This can, as you would imagine, become quite distressing and of course we all know the more you give into these thoughts and compulsions the more distressed you become. I have however found that if I am distracted by something such as singing to some music, watching something on my tablet or even just chatting to a friend or my other half then the thoughts either don’t come at all or I am able to dismiss them much more easily.
It’s also the same with going to bed, this is one of the toughest parts of the day for me and my OCD. I do well during the day to keep it at bay but once I relax and close my eyes all the thoughts start rushing in. I have, for a long time now, gone to bed with the TV on, only the sound not the picture and it has to be something I’ve already seen else I stand no chance but I do find it helps to distract my mind enough for me to relax. (Music would also work here if you would prefer.)
I realise distraction probably isn’t a long term solution for people and I hope eventually I will be able to cope without having to use it as a crutch but for now if you’re struggling at certain parts of the day then give it a try, it may help whilst you’re building up the strength to face your thoughts head on.