How can I stop being paranoid?
Last Updated: 07/05/2020 at 5:41pm
★ This question about Anxiety was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
Jennifer Geib, LCSWR
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
1:1, daily chats. - My therapy is non-judgmental and focuses on emotions and motivation to accomplish your goals or overcome your struggles.
Top Rated Answers
Learn to reign in your negative thoughts. One of the reasons you're paranoid is probably that you tend to assume the worst in any situation, and focus on the worst thing that can happen instead of being realistic about the possible outcome. You may think that everyone hates you or is talking about you, that everyone hates your new haircut, that your new boss is out to get you -- however, it's very likely that none of this is true. The next time you have a very negative thought, stop and do the following: Ask yourself how likely it is that the negative thought you're having is actually likely to come true. When you're expecting the worst, consider all of the possible outcomes of a situation, not just the most negative ones. Then you'll see that there are many other possibilities besides the worst one. Try to combat each negative thought you have with two positive thoughts. For example, if you're worried that everyone thinks your new shoes look terrible, remind yourself how great your hair and outfit look. Stop obsessing over every little thing. Part of being paranoid means not just considering that everyone is against you or out to get you, but it also means thinking about this constantly. The more you think about the same negative thing, the more you indulge your paranoid thoughts, and the more you become convinced that they are likely to be accurate. Though it's impossible to stop obsessing completely, there are a few tricks that can help you minimize your obsessive thoughts: Give yourself a designated "worry time." Tell yourself that you're going to freak out about whether or not your best friend secretly hates you or if your boyfriend is cheating on you from 5-5:30 every evening. Spend this time sitting down with your paranoid thoughts, evaluating them, and trying to minimize them. If a worry comes up during a different part of the day, just try to mentally move it to your "worry time." Remember Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. When faced with a difficult problem, she says, "I'll think about that tomorrow." Tell yourself the same thing when a thought keeps nagging at you -- tell yourself that it may be a cause for concern, but that you don't have time to stop and obsess over it. Keep a journal that tracks your paranoid thoughts. Reread it weekly. This can help you not only get out some of your paranoid feelings in a more introspective fashion, but it can also help you see that some of your paranoid fears were completely unfounded when you read back over what you've written. Confide in a close friend. Having someone you can talk to about your paranoid feelings can help you get your worries out in the open and get some perspective. Even the act of vocalizing some of your fears can make you see how ridiculous you sound. Your friend will be able to take you seriously while making you feel better about some of your concerns at the same time. If you tell your friend that you think your group of friends really hates you, your friend will be able to provide rational and concrete examples that prove you wrong. Just make sure you pick one of your more rational and even-keeled friends. You don't want someone who might encourage your paranoid behavior and make you feel worse. Stay too busy to be paranoid. Another way to avoid being paranoid is to not give yourself a lot of time to wallow or sit around thinking about what everyone else is thinking about you, or worrying that the world is going to end. Though staying busy can't help you escape your problems, it can help you focus your energies on more productive outlets, such as pursuing your interests or attaining your personal goals. If you spend even a few hours a week pursuing something that your really love, whether it's yoga or coin collecting, you're guaranteed to be less absorbed in your paranoid thoughts. Make sure you leave some room in your schedule for reflection. Just don't leave your schedule wide open or you'll have too much time to be paranoid. Seek professional help if it's necessary. There's a difference between worrying that all of your friends are always talking about you and letting this thought completely consume you. There's also a difference between knowing that your thoughts are irrational on some level and suffering from serious delusions that everyone is really out to hurt you or just out to "get you." If you feel like your paranoid feelings are taking over your life and preventing you from enjoying your everyday interactions or socializing at all, then talk to a medical professional to get help for your condition.
Low self-esteem, mistrust of others, persecutory delusions and certain mental health problems are associated with symptoms of paranoia. Having low self-esteem in their ability to cope, people with this condition are likely to resort to substance abuse. The first step to improve your mental health is to gain information about your paranoia. Training guides on 7 Cups are a great place to start, along with talking to the listeners about your fears. A trained professional can diagnose your paranoia under paranoid personality disorder, delusional disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. Clinical paranoia is severe but regular treatment can make the condition easier to manage.
There are a lot of guides on 7 cups about easing paranoia, I would recommend OCD and anxiety training it has some great tips, it helps to ask yourself if you are being rational and rate the anxiety and possibilities on a scale
Paranoia stems from a deeply help belief that others are plotting to harm you. There are two ways to manage paranoia. The first thing you can do is what's called "reality testing." simply and casually put, find ways to question your beliefs surrounding the paranoia. Make a list of things that seem to both support and disprove your beliefs. Involve a trusted friend in this process and get their opinion as well. The second thing you can do to manage paranoia is to not try to fight the paranoia, treat your beliefs like they are fact, but do things that make you feel safe so you can continue to function normally. This way you don't have to agonize other questioning whether your beliefs are right or wrong. For instance, if you feel that someone is spying on you, you can put up heavy drapes. Making modifications to your environment to make you feel safe is never a bad thing so long as you it doesn't leave you totally isolated or creating a dangerous situation for yourself or others.
Depending on what type of anxiety you're struggling with, it may take counseling and medication to manage your paranoia. However, there are also some small steps you can take. For example, when I am very anxious, I try grounding techniques. I look around the room and label what I see: blue chair, brown table, shiny rock, small plant... be as detailed as you need, but don't judge anything (ex: don't say 'sad blue walls, huge scary room, that picture i hate..' etc.). You can also take some slow deep breaths when you start panicking. Keep taking slow breaths until you can take three breaths in a row without thinking about anything except 'in and out' or 'one two three, one two three'. Grounding techniques like that can help you calm down. Then, once you are calm, it can help to write what you are scared of. Be specific, but do this in a safe place. I like to journal - sometimes I write really fast and sloppily. Sometimes I write slower and more thoughtfully. However you write, look it over when you are done. What parts of it are Facts? What parts are opinion? Which parets aren't you sure about? Can you identify any cognitive distortions (googling 'cognitive distortions' and learning about CBT can help)? Think for a while and try to write a more realistic thought. You might not fully believe this new thought that you write, but if you practice it, it can become easier. You might talk to a friend, counselor, or family member to help you think of a more realistic thought. For example, sometimes I am very scared I'm going to fail. I have a huge overwhelming sense of impending failure. However, if I write it out, I might realize that I can't, actually, fail even if I get a zero because the rest of my school work has been good so far this term. Or, I might realize that I am the only one judging myself and that no one is actually paying attention to me in this particular situation. Or, perhaps, I might fail this particular thing, but I won't lose my job, or I won't be kicked out of school, or I won't lose my home, etc. It helps me a lot to realize what parts of my worries are realistic, and which parts are truly just worry. Realizing what parts are just worries DOESN'T mean you won't still worry! And it doesn't mean you're silly or stupid or ridiculous to worry about them. They are real nd valid emotions, no matter if they seem weird or unrealistic to other people. BUT, by identifying what parts of your anxiety is unrealistic, you will be better able to comfort and reassure yourself and begin reducing your anxiety. I hope things get better for you soon!
Being paranoid is a tough issue. For many people, being paranoid is an appropriate response to growing up in a painful or traumatic situation. For others, paranoia exists for irrational reasons. For these latter folks, getting in touch with your anger about things can be a helpful way to minimize paranoia. Some suggest that paranoia exists because we project our own anger onto others. i.e., we imagine that they are angry with us or out to get us, because we haven't yet come to term with our own anger. When we do, then our paranoia will decrease.
You can stop being paranoid by stop thinking about the thought that put you into that state if you can do that you wiill feel more relaxed and calmed down.
Paranoia can be a symptom of an underlying issue that may require the attention of a doctor. If you're worried that someone is out to get you or watching you, please tell someone.
When you start to feel you are getting paranoid take a deep breath and think about the bigger situation. Listen to your breathing and relax. Ask yourself questions. Eg: should I do this? Is this as big as a deal I make it out to be? Is there anyway I can make this better. Hope this helps.
There are various ways of not being paranoid. I read lot of books and they teach number of ways for being calm and peaceful. Few ways are which can help you are - By taking deep breaths, going out for a walk or watching a comedy show.
Work first on focusing on the actual facts that will lead you to see that things are not that bad to be paranoid.
Give yourself a designated "worry time." Spend this time sitting down with your paranoid thoughts, evaluating them, and trying to minimize them. If a worry comes up during a different part of the day, just try to mentally move it to your "worry time."
Stopping yourself from being paranoid can be accomplished by separating what you believe to be truths from actual truths.
Paranoia isn't something you can usually stop instantly, it will take time. But you can begin by trying to combat those paranoid thoughts with more positive ones and acting against the paranoia. Also by just trying to distract yourself from the thoughts by doing normal things, such as taking out the rubbish or catching up with your favourite tv show. Another thing I would recommend trying would be meditation, or mindfulness.
I see the experience of paranoid as "#thinking of possible future threatening events that may result in negative consequences for myself", which results in me experiencing of anxiety or fear., sometimes in scalating levels. The origin of this experience is #thinking. Going away from reality into fantasy world by thinking these scenes in our head. #Thinking. By placing your attention into these scenes you think of, we trigger the experience of paranoid. To stop, you may take your attention away from such things, and place your attention back into the now. One effective way is to practice #breathing, mindful breathing. You may explore #mindfulness, #ZenMindfulness to understand deeper how it mind works. Yet, you may stop the feeling of paranoid without understanding how mind works by practicing mindful breathing exercices, taking your attention back into your breathing every time you see your attention going away into one of those scenes. Take your attention back into the now, into the breathing. You may try that and then contact me to discuss how it went for you.
I can slip into paranoid thoughts sometimes and then it can feel like a slippery slope. The challenge is getting out of it. I suppose the first thing is to label them ‘paranoid thoughts’. Just by labelling them creates a distance and makes me question the truth of these thoughts. Then I try and just sit with the feeling a bit, as I feel wrestling with these feelings would be like quick sand and drag me further under. Sometimes if I sit with my feeling for long enough, and I am able to bring some compassion to it, it can make me want to cry, as if it has all bubbles up to the surface and crying is a natural release, a way of just letting it go. If you have been anxious for a period of time, you can feel like a tightly coiled spring. I really can’t recommend a good cry enough. I also am a great believer in getting out of your head and into your body. Go for a swim, a run, a walk and really try and be there in your body when you do that. The feel of the water, the temperature of the air, the smells. If you are in your body, then you are not in your head, which is where paranoia resides. It is amazing when you come out the other side and are able to how your mind has been warping things. When your in the thick of it, it is easy to believe that it is permanent and will never end. This is not true of course. Mostly just be kind to yourself. xxx
Understand your emotions and labeling them helps. Next, recognize your own fears and face them head on. It may help to ask yourself "What's the worst that can happen?"
Well,sometimes being natural and letting the moment pass by for what it really is helps you to see life as being more natural and bearable, while at the same time preserving your sanity and not testing the patience of others. If you're able to realize that your suspicious outlook on life is unhealthy and you're willing to do something about it, then you're already making headway. For starters try keep it busy, dare to confide in someone close to you and try figuring out of your paranoid feelings are really a resulted of some deep-rooted anxiety through some.counselling or therapy..
Take deep breaths and tell yourself that everything will be okay. You need not worry. Always expect the worst case scenarios in things like these. At least, you've prepared yourself for the worst.
Try seeing a therapist and try to change your thought process so you're less suspicious of people.
Stop being paranoid by thinking about the positives not the negatives. When u think for example u might have something to be paranoid about, for example you might be worried that your bum is to small and that your worried as to what people might think. Turn that into a positive! I mean for example plane seats will never be an issue! Stay calm and believe in yourself x
Rationalize your fear, and tell yourself why it most likely won't happen. Also, resist checking and distract yourself.
You can't simply stop being paranoid. Allowing yourself to be scared is important. Don't hold back your feelings and let them build up. Take deep breaths, do what you need to feel safe.
Go to a psychiatrist. Just remember that it is not always what you think it is. Just like they say that life is not what it seems to be.
Use reality-checking techniques to ground yourself and help determine if you are in need of further assistance, and use whatever other coping skills you find helpful.
sometimes by finding a hobby or a interest or even talking to someone about it, that can occupy our minds
This is a normal thing that the people around the world have to experience, the best way to stop being paranoid is to go to a therapist and believe that whatever you are paranoid about will not happen and it is not happening.
Sleep more probably. Maybe get professional help. Ask yourself, where did this feeling come from? Is it rational? If it really is not rational. Rationalize to yourself exactly why it doesn't make any sense to be paranoid. I wish the best of luck to you !!!
If you're feeling paranoid, it is best to become the observer of the paranoia verses the person directly experiencing it. As an observer of these intense feelings like paranoia, which can feel like a weight an intense feeling and chatter in the body and mind. Remind yourself to breathe, take a step back, and say, "Why am I feeling this? How long have I been feeling this? What can I do to revert this feeling into a feeling that is more manageable. Our feelings are our guides. Observe, observe, observe.
I think that getting to the root of what is causing your paranoia is important, for example is it the consequence of a mental illness which taking medication could help with? Should you see a doctor to find out? Is it maybe the consequence of a recent bad experience such as finding out a romantic partner was cheating? Once you know this it might be a good idea to research your options and speak to supportive friends and family members, often they can help tell the difference between paranoia and reasoned caution and good guidance can help you tell the difference. Best of luck.
Related Questions: How can I stop being paranoid?
How can I overcome anxiety if I can't talk to a therapist or my own doctor?How do I get over feeling that everyone is going to leave me?Everything in my life is messed up. Motivation works temporarily and I'm not suicidal but feel it's pointless to live like this. What should I do to feel hopeful? How can I get what I need from my doctor? I feel extremely sick whenever I leave my house, what can I do? I have trouble with my school work due to procrastinating. And my anxiety always gets in the way. How do I get things done?A family member thinks I am lying about where I am going but I'm not, what should I do?How do I know if I did the right thing?Is it hard to think critically about something you love?How do I overcome the fear of cashiers?