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What Can I Do About My Superstitions?

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Q. I think that certain things affect the outcome of my life. For the last 6 years or so, I have been having thoughts that certain things (such as a particular song, pair of earrings, clothes, or even the route I take somewhere) affects the outcome of my day. I realize that this doesn’t make sense and try to control it. However, if I try to defy the thoughts by doing those things anyway I become extremely agitated and worried. Is there a medication that I can take to help me?

What Can I Do About My Superstitions?

Answered by on -

A.

Many people, like you, are superstitious. Many people will not walk on sidewalk cracks because they think it’s bad luck. I even heard it reported recently that John McCain, one of the Republican presidential candidates, has many superstitions related to his current campaign. Some of McCain’s staff members carry special coins with them thinking the coins will bring good luck. One of his staff members doesn’t wear socks. In another politics-related example, James Carville, a Democratic political consultant reportedly did not change his underwear during his efforts to help elect Senator Harris Wofford in 1992. He apparently believed that changing his underwear might actually affect the outcome of the election.

In all of the aforementioned instances, it was believed that a person’s actions or a particular object had the power to alter future outcomes. These were not based on reality but in a (generally unfounded) belief in luck. Superstitions are not reality-based or logical but they are harmless as long as these practices are not causing an individual harm or undue stress. What is problematic for you is the added anxiety you face that accompanies your beliefs. This is psychologically distressing you and is therefore no longer harmless. Because of this, I would advise you to meet with either a doctor or a therapist for help with this issue.

I do not know of a particular medication that can change your thinking and make you less anxious. There are many medications that could help you but only an in-person meeting with your doctor could know if a medication could help you and if so, which ones would work best. A therapist can help you learn how to handle your thoughts, teach you how to examine them based on reality and assist you in learning strategies in handling the anxiety that follows these thoughts. I think you could be helped greatly by a good therapist. Medication may also work. Whatever you decide, I wish you luck. Take care.

What Can I Do About My Superstitions?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). What Can I Do About My Superstitions?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/01/08/what-can-i-do-about-my-superstitions/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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