Did your business survive Friday 13!

Were you challenged by  Friday 13th April?  Do you believe it’s an unlucky day … or are you a sensible doubter but still hedging your bets …. just in case it’s true.  Are you one of thousands who avoids social and business activities on Friday 13th?
You may scoff at the superstitious but fear of the number 13th is a genuine phobia called Triskaidekaphobia, and fear of 13 has lead to many buildings avoiding a thirteenth floor (see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_floor )
And although it may sound strange, many people do avoid making arrangements on Friday 13th. Airlines confirm that bookings are down http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2085656/Unlucky-Friday-13-sees-flight-bookings-drop-third.html and financiers have known investments to be deferred until another day.
Psychologists include superstitions among a wider range of human traits collectively called ‘magical thinking’, that includes other questionable beliefs ranging from a harmless belief in fairies through mildly disturbing beliefs in the paranormal to potentially more harmful beliefs such as fanatical religion.
Chartered Psychologist Graham W Price, from Abicord, has helped many clients with phobias and / or superstitious beliefs.
Magical thinking perhaps demonstrates the gullibility of humans, particularly in light of the fact that many such beliefs can be disproved. Track events on Friday 13th and compare the results with any other day and, unsurprisingly, there’s not much difference for the average person.
One might imagine the superstitious belief itself could impact the results. Couldn’t a belief that accidents will happen so distract believers that they become more prone to accidents? The studies suggest that even this doesn’t happen.
In fact a Dutch insurance company study in 2008 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th) actually showed that were fewer accidents on Friday 13th as people were preventatively more careful!
What can you do if you have a superstitious belief, or perhaps many such beliefs, that are limiting you in some way? Perhaps you can’t venture out of the house on Friday 13th and that’s costing you a day’s vacation, on average twice a year.
Graham W Price has some advice;
Hypnotherapy can sometimes help. It works for some, but on its own success is far from certain and relapse rates are high. Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (CBT) are generally more effective and sustainable for most mind-related issues, particularly if they’re combined with modern acceptance-based approaches such as Acceptance-Action Therapy (AAT).
A combined CBT-AAT treatment might involve challenging beliefs using an evidence-based approach, learning to accept any feelings such as anxiety and confronting the superstition by changing your behaviour.
When we act in ways that are consistent with an unproductive belief, we always reinforce the belief. Our mind gets a message that the belief must be true …. otherwise why are we behaving in that way. Conversely, if we repeatedly act in the opposite way, we’ll undermine the belief.
Graham recommends trying the following steps to help you move past the superstition and stop it holding you back:
Create a habit of noticing whenever you “buy into” the superstition and limit yourself.  Accept that this is the way you are right now. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t get annoyed or frustrated with yourself
Recognise that the superstition is irrational. Remind yourself that studies have shown there’s no evidence to support it
Drop the thought (surprisingly easy once we’ve carried out the first two steps)
Take the action you were hesitating over while accepting any anxious feelings this may generate
“Do this repeatedly and the limiting belief, and any anxious feelings it may be generating, will soon disappear.” says Graham.

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About Wanobe, the business knowledge network
Writer, journalist and broadcaster, sixty-something David likes nothing better than being with family and friends, eating out and drinking great wines, and scuba diving.

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