3.1 Life Beyond Sensorimotor OCD

Note: All parts of the guide have been updated as of Sep 2022 after much discussion from those suffering from SOCD and my own experience. In particular I have considerably adjusted the ERP approach, as I now believe that is better to simply avoid doing any explicit rituals, rather than trying to literally do nothing, which seems to have been causing some issues for people.

This unit the final part of the guide. To see all units in the guide, click here.

If you’ve been doing the exposures correctly, hopefully your anxiety has dropped significantly. If it hasn’t, it might mean you’ve done something incorrectly in Modules 1 or 2. Return to Modules 1 and 2 as often as required, particularly for new obsessions.

Don’t stop too early

You might feel soon enough that there’s so little anxiety that there’s no point in even keeping the reminders there any more, and so you can remove them. However, be careful with this. Don’t stop if there’s even a bit of anxiety or there’s still one or two obsessions you’re not completely comfortable with. Destroy it completely. Otherwise it can come back or just be something which continues to annoy you.

However, you will reach a point where you can stop all kinds of exposures. This is a new stage in your recovery. You’re no longer trying to ‘actively’ recover, and that can have its own challenges. You will actually now probably go long periods totally forgetting about the obsessions.

But what happens now is that you’ll get those obsessions randomly popping up here and there in your mind. Again, your job is to not engage in any compulsion and just get on with whatever you were doing. This shouldn’t be too difficult in the beginning, but the ‘randomness’ of it can affect you. Now you’re not the one reminding yourself, but it’s just coming out of nowhere from your brain. Still, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Dealing with long term relapse

Longer term however, there are more significant risks. I speak from my own experience; though I largely overcame my sensorimotor OCD several years ago (in 2012 to be precise), I had a major ‘reoccurrence’ four years after that point.

What often happens is that after you’ve gone several months (or years) without really thinking about the obsession, you forget what you did right. You might start to feel a bit of anxiety at noticing it again after so long. You can easily fall into a negative thought process “I’ve had relief and been living normally all this time, and now this thought is back, which might ruin my life again!”. Another negative thought that can creep in is ‘What if I fluked it? What if I got lucky didn’t really recover, and now it’s going to go back to how it was!?’ These are anxiety inducing thoughts, and hence you now have more anxiety associated with the obsession…which then means it remains in your mind even more, and the cycle can begin again. It’s easy for rituals to begin to solve it, whether that’s trying to control it, researching about it, or just trying to ‘figure it out’ again.

This is what happened to me, and I basically had to re-learn what I did the first time around. Just do what worked the first time; interrogate those thoughts again and bring back the exposures, until the anxiety is back to zero. Fortunately, usually the anxiety won’t be as bad as it was the first time, because you will be more confident you can get over this again, and the recovery period will hopefully be shorter as well. Just as you recovered the first time, you can do so again.

Overcoming sensorimotor OCD

I believe full recovery is possible from SOCD. You can live a normal life where this doesn’t really bother you at all.

However, I think as people who are susceptible to this, we have to be on guard against any kind of OCD thoughts or habits which might build up. You have to know yourself. It’s as simple as maybe recognising you are subtly annoyed by being reminded of an obsession, or avoiding certain activities you know would trigger you. Don’t let yourself live with 1/10 OCD; there’s no reason to. Don’t fear any kind of obsession; rather face them head on. Do whatever exposures you need to do. It might even pay to do exposures every so often even once recovered, like once every month, just to make sure nothing develops.

Ultimately, you want to become the kind of person who is completely resilient to awareness of sensations. You truly don’t care whether they are there or not. That’s when you have true freedom from SOCD. As a result, you will eventually forget about these obsessions. But remember, it’s not the obsessions you want to get rid of, but the anxiety and pain associated with them. It’s an amazing feeling to be aware of your sensations and just be totally fine with it, without even a hint of anxiety or discomfort.

Thanks for reading through the guide. If you found it useful, it’d be great if you can share the site far and wide. I’d also love to hear your feedback, particularly on what worked for you (especially if it’s something not on this guide), as I’m always trying to improve the site (Apologies if I dont’ get back to you soon, as there’s often lots of emails). If you have a question though, please leave a comment on the site. Finally if you can support financially, that would also be wonderful as it helps with running costs and allows me to produce more content! All the best on your journey to recovery.

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Anisha Bux

Just finished reading this and its so insightful. Thank you so much for actually creating something like this for peolle who experience sensorimotor hyperawarness ocd.


Very helpful. Thank you


Just finished reading, I found it really interesting and reassuring, thanks for writing such a great article! 🙂


Is it important to be happy and not cry through this? I a trying but OMG.

Cory Podany

Thanks for the information! Love this article and going to try it….Thought I was weird by having this obsession, but turns out it is quite normal;)..

Mike Sadler

Hi, interesting read

If you’re able to get the anxiety down how long does the awareness linger for?


I noticed you said that you’re planning on making changes to the guide because the ERP may actually be feeding the problem. Can you explain more?


Nice article


Olá, falando aqui de OURO PRETO – BRASIL ( cidade histórica joga no google kkkk). Tive uma melhora absurda com os ensinamentos desse documento. Sinceramente se eu não encontrasse isso aqui, eu não sei oq seria de mim, Deus te abençoe imensamente. Tenho 3 perguntas.

1) Minha ansiedade diminuiu consideravelmente, a consciência pra mim não importa se estou piscando ou não. Mas tem hora que é chato o cérebro ficar me lembrando toda hora e isso é um indutor de ansiedade. Como posso desafiar esse pensamento?

2) Eu tenho uma estratégia que tenho medo de ser compulsão. Quando estou conversando e percebo que estou piscando, eu deixo a consciência e dou uma atenção maior à conversa e curiosamente desaparece. Isso seria uma compulsão?

3) Uma coisa que deixa ansioso é que fico um tempo sem a consicência de piscar e do nada ela vem. Quando ela vem eu fico me perguntando se eu pisquei certo, como que eu não percebi, como isso aconteceu sabe? E acaba que parece que meu cérebro sempre me traz à essa consciência. Isso faz parte do processo?


Thank you so much!! I had sensorimotor ocd for 5 months (earworms 24/7). It was horrible. Your guide helped me a lot. After reading your guide it took 5 weeks until it went away. I am still afraid that one day I will suffer from it again but at the moment I am happy that I can live my life without those obsessions.

Daniel Wellington

Hi Aadil,

Thank you for the super insightful article. Just had a question about the breathing OCD. I understand I shouldn’t pay too much attention to it and just be aware of it but I have two problems.

1) I get shortness of breath when I am aware of my breathing. Is that okey or does that mean that I am paying too much attention to it.

2) I feel like I’m controlling my breath which is difficult to stop paying attention to.

Any advice on this would be super grateful 🙏


hello! were you able to stop it? i’m having +- the same problem. with other obsessions, I could just let it be there and I wouldn’t care, but noticing breathing requires me to control it even if I don’t want to, so I just get stuck… thank you, daniel & aadil as well for this website


Hi! I have a question, I worry I’m the only one dealing with this. But, whenever I relax the ocd to one obsession another one latches on, but it’s not like that one is the only one standing. Once it latches on I have 3 sensorimotor obsessions at once, it’s getting exhausting, because I was making good progress. I feel like a mess and I wonder if medication is the only option.


Hi, sorry to bother. But, I’m fine with sensorimotor ocd for the most part, but what I find challenging is getting caught up on little stuff. For example, whenever I have a stuffed nose It makes it hard to not focus on breathing and in turn causes anxiety and discomfort. Any tips? Thank you!


Hey Aadil, this is good advice. I struggle with various somatic obsessions. Is it possible to chat with you personally anywhere?

Joseph Smith

Excellent breakdown of the SOCD demon and how it wants to torment us 24\7. I’ve suffered on & off for 30 years at the hands of this Bully, and the mindset you describe is exactly how I’ve overcome it. I’m dealing with a flare up right now & I 100% agree that it IS possible to function, even when the u wanted, pervasive thoughts are present. It HAS made me a .pre empathetic person, even a stronger person. THANK YOU for reminding me of these facts!

João Pedro Teixeira

Sorry for my bad English, I’m from Brazil

Should we consider the SOCD an enemy or is it better for us to understand it as a personality trait, like “it is how our mind work’s, so let’s understand how to deal with myself.”