All of these compulsive habits are carried out because you want to feel better ‘now’! You ‘need’ to do these things because you don’t believe that you can put up with whatever uncomfortable feelings you are experiencing without having something else to make you feel better.
People have compulsive habits because of their history and the way in which they formed relationships with caregivers when they were small children.
The way we relate to important people in our lives is called attachment. people with secure attachment (who have grown up in families where they were secure and their emotional needs were met) learn how to deal with difficult emotions without needing something else to help. People with insecure attachment haven’t learned how to do this and so use something else, (food, alcohol, drugs, shopping etc.) to make themselves feel better.
Lifespan Integration is a gentle mind body therapy which can heal attachment deficits which are underlying an inability to self soothe and everyday distress. Clients say that they feel different, that they no longer feel the need for something and they feel calm and in control.
Cognitive Therapy can help.
Changing the way you think is also very important in controlling anxiety and compulsive symptoms. Recognising unhelpful, negative and mistaken belief systems will teach you how to manage your thinking and change your reaction to anxious thoughts.