By KRS Edstrom
I think I am suffering from OCD. I have read that
low serotonin levels are
related to OCD, and that sunlight (and chocolate?) may be of some help.
Also, would it be a good idea for me to take vitamin D?
I haven't read any studies proving that sunlight, chocolate or vitamin D
affects OCD. We do know however that sunlight can positively affect the
brain (and thus the chemicals produced by the brain) as evidenced by
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (where some get depressed if not
to enough sunlight.) Along these lines, there are unproven theories that
there is a relationship between OCD and low serotonin levels.
If that is true, it would make sense to get a daily dose of sunlight
(vitamin D) since sunlight absorbed through the eyes is said to be a source
of serotonin. By the way, if you're getting enough sunlight (20-30
minutes/day) you may not need additional vitamin D, unless you're in your
40-50s and hormones may be affecting bone health, etc.
Consider working on your OCD issue behaviorally with a professional
experienced in this area (if you aren't already). OCD builds on itself, so
working consciously toward modifying your behavior (the manifestations of
your drivenness) can help.
Set small goals to ease off the behavior. For example, if you generally
check the door to see if it's locked "6" times before leaving the house,
resolve to check it only 5 times the first week, then 4 times, 3 times. . . and
meditation techniques that help dissolve compulsive urges. For
example, if you learn to go inside to the place where the drivenness begins
and "relax into" the physical sensations of drivenness before acting on
them, you can eventually desensitize your internal reactions and resulting
external actions - from the inside out. Feel free to listen to my audios for
free on my site - I'd be interested to hear your results.
I was wondering if you could help me cope with an emotional issue. I am a
freshman in high school and when I get angry, I almost always cry. Sometimes
I'll get mad at myself on the basketball court and start to get teary eyed.
Whenever this occurs I try to think about something happy, but sometimes I
just can't hold back my frustration and I cry. Any tips or advice on my
problem would be appreciated.
Cry When Angry Student
Dear Angry Student,
Congratulations for having the desire and courage to resolve this issue
rather than pushing it away. Every obstacle presents itself to us as an
opportunity for inner growth. In facing this you may be digging deeper than
others in your class who appear on the surface to be gliding through
effortlessly. Here are a few suggestions to help you make use of this
First, recognize the expression of emotions (such as crying) is a normal
human experience. Too many people stifle their emotions because they don't
want to appear foolish or be different than what they've observed from their
parents or in society. In fact, you may be so busy trying to hold back the
emotion that it never gets "completed" so it keeps trying to get out in bits
When emotions are unexpressed or "pent up," they can often come out "sideways" in inappropriate circumstances. Practice these exercises daily
and you will become "friends" with anger and it will no longer frighten you
or take you by surprise.
1) Anger-releasing exercises. Take a tennis racket or something similar and
hit your bed or a cushion. You can also use your fist or an actual
sponge-type bat sold for this purpose. Forget about feeling silly and hit as
hard as you can.
Scream, yell or let any words come out as they will. Don't worry about
forming sentences or being proper. Let it come. Continue until you are
exhausted, then rest for a one minute, staying focused. Then repeat the
exercise until exhausted again. Repeat one more time (3 times total). Tears
may come - let them. If you want to repeat this more than three times, feel
free. You are unleashing all those trapped feelings.
2) Meditation Techniques. One technique I use is to name the area of your
body where you can feel the anger in your body. You can practice this by
sitting quietly with your eyes closed and relaxing for a moment. Then
imagine playing basketball and getting upset. Really get into it (try it
right now). Then, ask yourself where you are feeling that anger in your body
or ask "Where in my body does it feel like I want to cry?" It may be a
small area or your whole body - it doesn't matter where it shows up.
The point is to relax into those uncomfortable sensations and feel them
completely. BE with the sensation. What does it feel like? Can you just
allow it to be there as you breathe and relax into it? You'll notice that it
gradually gets less intense or even goes away completely. Keep working on
this. It's very powerful, exciting work that will help you with more than
KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She offers private
sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, stress, pain,
weight loss. For free soothing
guided meditations and more information,
(323) 851-8623 or email:
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