Superstitions

Superstitious Beliefs

Superstitions are created as a long-established coping mechanism during uncertain life situations. Being superstitious affects how people see things, issues, and events happening around them.  Whether superstitions are true or not, they have an impact on how people think and react.

Mental illness illustration in black and white. A quote from Jeanette Winterson that says "To be ill adjusted to a deranged world is not a breakdown"
Source: flickr.com

Superstitious beliefs are often rooted in supernatural beliefs and a sign of respect to the past, to how people back then lived.

It is a questionable postulation that superstitious behavior that implicates largely mental action, as opposed physical behavior, could even be considered behavior because it is not observable. — Ann Olson Psy.D.

Superstitious Beliefs

While others find no harm from being superstitious, there have been concerns from medical experts, especially those who are mainly concentrated on mental health that superstitions would affect how believers understand and accept therapy or counseling, as to how they see superstitions change their views on therapy.

Black cat and Friday the 13th signs in one image with a black background. Is there really a significance between the two?
Source: pixabay.com

Do you find yourself knocking on wood when you said something foreboding, and you want to reverse or counteract what was spoken? Or are you spooked by seeing 13 falling on a Friday or a black cat crossing your path? Are you that superstitious person who doesn’t walk under a ladder and instead goes around it?

These are just some of the superstitious beliefs we grew up knowing, and some are still advocated up to this day.

Superstitious Beliefs

According to a poll made by Gallup, it was found that about 25% of Americans are superstitious; that’s about one in four people living in the country. That number says a lot about following certain superstitious beliefs that usually have no scientific basis. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with being superstitious.

Thoroughly confused, I was informed that knocking on wood ensures that you don’t “jinx” something you really want to happen. Rather than question the logic of this deeply illogical practice, I latched on. — Emily Green Psy.D.

Where Superstitious Beliefs Originated

One would wonder – where did all these superstitious beliefs originate? Somehow, whoever invented superstition ideas must have some foundation, right? Psychologists explained that it commenced from certain traditions and superstitious beliefs around the world and ended up in households all over the world, superstition has made quite an impact on people’s behavior towards certain things. Much of these superstitions come from life’s uncertainties, wherein if you yearn for something, you’ll find comfort and control in superstitious behaviors.

When people are faced with chaos and uneasiness, it makes them feel like they are losing traction and control; therefore, the tendency is to find solutions for the lack of oversight from outside sources such as mythical beliefs.

Superstition: Rationality versus Beliefs

The reality is, that being overly superstitious significantly affects a person’s state of mind and behavior, influencing everything related to mental health issues and therapy. From a person’s performance and preparation for a specific challenge to the responsiveness to given placebos, the effectiveness of specific psychological illness treatments is wholly dependent on the patient’s responsiveness and positive thinking. Therefore, when superstitious beliefs are getting in the way of treatment, it’s time to take it down a notch or completely disregard superstitious beliefs. This should be done to make way for a scientific approach when dealing with mental health conditions.

Every behavior we repeat offers a reward. It doesn’t matter if the reward isn’t obvious. — Teri Woods Ph.D.

What’s disconcerting about believing the superstitious, especially if it concerns mental health, is the way people would understand and accept the diagnosis thinking that it’s just some sort of superstitious event in a person’s life which can be eluded or conquered easily. People’s performance to achieve goals that are elicited from superstitious behavior disregards the process of learning how goals should be met.

Conclusion On Superstitious Beliefs

In therapy, if a superstitious patient’s uncertainty about obtaining mental health goals is heightened, there is a possibility that the superstitious beliefs and supernatural are also increased.

However, if provided with a lucky charm, they will become more positive in the outcomes, and their performance in conquering their conditions becomes more pronounced. Whatever the setting may be, the superstitious become precarious when they start to interfere with wellness and activities of daily living.