Paranoia is a thought process that often involves persecutory beliefs or conspiratorial thinking, and may be triggered or exacerbated by anxiety and fear. It is typically characterised by the expression “everyone is out to get me.” A general distrust of others, false accusations, and attributing meaning where there is none may also accompany paranoia. It may experienced on its own, or as part of certain disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and paranoia personality disorder.
Paranoid beliefs can be heavily influences by social circumstances, and are often associated with a sense of powerlessness and victimization. Having a lower socioeconomic status also appears to increase the likelihood of paranoia, as well as those who come from unsafe or untrustworthy environments.
Other factors that may contribute to paranoia are disappointment, stress, a hopeless state of mind, discrimination, and isolation.
Tip 1: Self-insight
Maintaining self-insight and the ability to self-reflect are important to managing various mental health problems including paranoia. It is often the case that our thinking is inaccurate, or that our feelings may influence who we perceive ourselves and the world. Simply asking these question and reflecting on the answers can help to maintain self-insight, and alleviate some of the experience of paranoia.
– What am I feeling?
– What am I thinking?
– What actions?
– What recent events have happened in my life?
– Could I be wrong?
– Is it just me who thinks/feels this way??
– What is my motivation?
– Alternate explanations?
– How is my general life functioning?
– Is this an escape from other problems?
Tip 2: Relax
Learning relaxation techniques and stress management can be a simple but effective way of reducing feelings of anxiety, fear, and paranoia.
Breathing – Simple breathing exercises, such as the 4-7-8 technique, can help to relax the body and calm the mind. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose for four seconds. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
Nature – Talk a relaxing walk in nature, which can help to reduce stress and take your mind of any paranoid or worrying thoughts you might have
Music – Listen to your favourite song or artist. Try listening to atmospheric or relaxation music, if you haven’t done so already
Take a break – Take a break from what you are thinking about, and do something different. Focus on one of your hobbies for a while or consider taking up a new one.
Tip 3: Support
The final tip involves getting support from others, which may include friends, family, or help from a trained mental health professional.
Friends – Do you have any friends that you trust and could confide in? If it helps, you don’t have to go into full details of your beliefs and ideas, you could just focus on the emotions and feelings you are experiencing, such as stress, fear, anxiety, or worry.
Family – Do you have any family members that you trust and could confide in? If it helps, you don’t have to go into full details of your beliefs and ideas, you could just focus on the emotions and feelings you are experiencing, such as fear, anxiety or worry.
Therapy – The final option is to consider getting therapy by visiting your local doctor or mental health professional who should be able to help you.