Superstitious beliefs have been shown to help promote a positive mental attitude. Although they can lead to irrational decisions, such as trusting in the merits of good luck and destiny rather than sound decision-making.
Fear of Friday the 13th isn’t just something from the silver screen. It’s a real phobia called paraskavedekatriaphobia, a term coined by North Carolina behavioral scientist Dr. Donald Dossey.
According to Dossey, about 21 million Americans suffer from this phobia. It can result in them avoiding potentially dangerous situations, like surgery, on this ominous date to those who are frightened to even leave their own homes.
Even famous people like President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Ford were known to be terrified of the date. Ford is said to have avoided business deals on any Friday the 13th. And FDR refused to travel on this date. It’s interesting to note that FDR actually died on a Thursday, on the 12th of the month.
But Can Being Superstitious Actually Be Healthy For You?
Yes, according to recent research conducted at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The study found that people who engaged in superstitious actions. Actions like knocking on wood, throwing salt over their shoulders, and avoiding cracks in the sidewalk, experienced less negative anxiety. This felt more in control of their circumstances. This, in turn, led to positive outcomes for those involved.
The researchers pointed out that while superstitions have no real-world basis. Our perception of them has a lot to do with actual outcomes.
Other research strengthens these claims. A team of researchers at Stanford University found that people who had some anxiety surrounding upcoming events actually had greater activation of their anterior insula, an area of the brain that plays a pivotal role in predicting harm and strategizing how to avoid it.
In other words, the perception of having control over an upcoming event made the subjects less anxious about it, and in better shape to face them. The physical act of throwing salt over one’s shoulder for good luck. For example, could bring a calming effect to the individual and actually improve his or her physical response to upcoming events.
Use Your Superstitious Nature to Make Your Own Luck
Mind over matter is a powerful thing, so use your gut feelings and intuition about potential negative situations to make your own luck, says Better Living Expert, Ellen Whitehurst, author of the bestselling book Make This Your Lucky Day: Fun and Easy Secrets and Shortcuts to Success, Romance, Health, and Harmony.
“In researching recent scientific studies about luck, I’ve come to find out that it really can be taught,” says Whitehurst. There are four characteristics or qualities that lucky people have in spades. And one of those qualities is the ability to tap their intuition in order to follow their lucky hunches. “The Universe is constantly giving us ideas, inspirations, and intuitive messages to help us live our best and luckiest lives ever. But becoming aware of that information takes a conscious effort.”
So go ahead and avoid that ladder and those cracks in the sidewalk. While it may not bring you good luck directly, it may bring you peace of mind which is worth a lot.
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