How To Stop Being Paranoid In A World Of Paranoia
By: Nadia Khan
Updated December 07, 2018
Medically Reviewed By: Natalie Feinblatt
It's difficult not to feel some sense of paranoia when conspiracy theories run through social media like water and our fears are played with by a press hyped up on sensationalism. We learn to distrust our neighbors and to become suspicious of their activities. We begin to feel cheated and betrayed by our leaders. The battle cry of "trust no one over thirty" in the 1960's, has been abbreviated to "trust no one." Indeed, you may wonder how to stop being paranoid for your own good.
Rock musicians of the sixties through eighties knew perfectly well how harmful paranoia can be to your sense of self and relationship to others. They ripped the stage with their paranoia destroying admonitions, painting a far drearier world if we succumbed to the feelings of persecution and treachery than if we left ourselves open to new experiences and friendships.
Nearly everybody has experienced paranoia at some time during their lives. One out of four people dwell on suspicious thoughts. This is a natural reaction to strangeness or change in our surroundings. The rationing part of our brains wants to eliminate all possible dangers before crossing the bridge into new territory. Most people are able to rationalize their fears and maintain highly functioning life styles, but for some, paranoia is a real and debilitating disorder that can lead to persecutory delusions, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
They're Not All Out To Get You
We have an information overload of personal profiles. Between satellite images, cell phone shots, GPS finder, computer spyware and Homeland Security, it seems we have absolutely no privacy. We're being spied on. Those who have strived for a little notoriety, however, discovered very quickly it's very difficult to get noticed. Unless we are blatantly breaking the law, we're not under anyone's radar except perhaps, the occasionally scam artist who can appear in any aspect of social life.
Putting this into perspective gives us a more balanced look of how we are viewed. We are more like the number of pedestrians on a busy street corner than we are like the singled out individual on a park bench.
How To Stop Being Paranoid In The Face Of So Much Emotional Manipulation
It's impossible to ignore the media that feeds paranoia. Heightened anxieties over terrorism and immigration reform have reopened racial and religious wounds and created tension between opposing views. Political parties and ideologies are deeply split, with accusations on all sides of every issue and screams of corruption.
The media has always been used to sway opinions through exciting the emotions. The greatest difference is that instant global communications has enabled an extremely diverse media with diverse opinions. The conspiracy theories, the organized movements, the real and imagined activities of the rich and famous are more in your face.
Don't let the media wars push your buttons. Take a hiatus from them now and then so you can sort out the emotional language from your own belief system and understand the facts. Keep in mind it's the objective of the media to sway you, but that persuasion shouldn't play on your fears.
If you're actively seeking help, you probably don't have a paranoid personality disorder, just a lot of confusion over current events and their relationship to you. A paranoid person will not view his or her behavior as abnormal and will probably not look for help. In fact, there will probably be an underlying suspicion of counselors.
If you do feel heightened anxiety, and are having a hard time putting it aside, talk to someone about it before it begins affecting your daily life. People with developing anxiety disorders often feel "something isn't right" or that they are in constant danger. It can be debilitating in your ability to associate with others and to your general happiness and well-being. You can always get help by qualified professionals who care. BetterHelp.com is always standing by to help you find peace.
One of the techniques you might learn in therapy is how to check the reality of your suspicions. While there are many things you can't check, this technique can come in handy in other circumstances. Taking a rational approach to your fears can help you feel more in control of your life. Yet, it can be hard to know what's reasonable when you're overwhelmed with anxiety. A counselor can help you assess your suspicions to make an educated guess about whether you have anything to be concerned about. Don't worry! Your therapist will listen to you and assess your thoughts fairly. Then, they'll guide you to a better understanding of yourself and the world around you.
Taking steps to reduce your anxiety can make you feel better almost immediately. It can also cut down on the time you spend worrying about your suspicions. Some of the techniques your counselor might teach you are mindfulness, meditation, guided imagery, and belly breathing. You'll discover that you can find more peace when you practice letting your suspicions float out of your mind as quickly as they came in.
If you're concerned that ignoring your fears will make you more vulnerable, you can put them off with a promise to yourself to get back to them later. What you might find is that they don't return immediately. In fact, the more you practice this technique, the sooner you might find them not returning at all.