Why Superstitions Can Be Good for Us

In honor of Friday the 13th, it seems fitting to appreciate the value of superstitions in our life levothyroxine synthroid.

One definition of “superstition”, found on the www.ask.com website, is “any irrational belief that results from fear”.  In the case of Friday the 13th, both Friday and the number 13 have negative connotations.  Henry Baker stated in his Yahoo! News article today (“How  Did Friday the 13th Get Such a Bad Rap?”) that Good Friday, when Jesus Christ was crucified, led to the notion that Fridays bring bad luck.  Baker also mentioned that the British used to schedule hangings on Fridays, which adds to the negative connotation of that day.

As for the number 13, it is also associated with religious  beliefs.  Many people know that Judas was the last and 13th dinner guest to attend the Last Supper.  But Baker also mentioned that the Norse Vikings had a 13th dinner guest (Loki), who ended up killing their hero (Balder).  Furthermore, the pagans used to follow a 13-month lunar calendar  —  but when society switched to a 12-month calendar, and shunned paganism, the number 13 was also shunned by association.

Why do we have superstitions anyway?  According to Matthew Hutson, in his April 6, 2012 New York Times article, superstitions offer “psychological benefits that logic and science can’t always provide:  namely, a sense of control and a sense of meaning.”

First, let’s look at the “sense of control”.  This concept comes into play in instances where we have and use “lucky charms”.  Hutson discussed a University of Cologne study, in which subjects  were given a golf ball.  Half of the subjects were told that the ball “had been lucky so far”.  The subjects who believed they had the “lucky” ball were 35% more successful with their golf putts than those who had a “regular” ball.

In my own life, I have “lucky earrings” and a “lucky bracelet” that I wear whenever I do a presentation in front of groups or organizations.  I also have a “lucky blouse” that I wore to take both my rigorous licensing exams, and that I believe helped me pass both exams the first time. Wearing my “lucky charms” helps me feel self-confident and self-empowered  —  which are exactly what I need during the times that I wear them!

Then there is the “sense of meaning”.  This concept becomes evident whenever we believe in “omens” — either good or  bad.  Many people believe that finding a four-leaf clover is a “good omen” that will bring about a positive experience or event.  Many people also believe that rain on the day of a special occasion (such as a wedding) is a “bad omen” that the event should not take place or be celebrated.  Such belief in fate or destiny gives people meaning and purpose in their lives.  Hutson referred to a Bowling  Green State University study, in which students who believed a negative situation was “part of God’s plan” ended up becoming “more open to new perspectives, more intimate in their relationships and more persistent in overcoming challenges.”

For me, having sunny weather while vacationing during rainy season is a “good omen”.  I visited Kauai (the Hawaiian island with the most rainfall) during rainy season earlier this year.  It was sunny the entire time I was there.  I took that as a “good omen”, because I was able to go on a Zodiac boat tour that would not have taken place if it had rained.  That boat tour turned out to be one of the most exhilarating and beautiful adventures of my life!  Because of the sunny weather, I believe it was part of my life destiny to go on that boat tour.  As a result of going on that tour, I have become more adventurous, and more willing to try new experiences.

There may be times when even superstitions are not enough to help us face and deal with challenges in our lives.  That is when it may be helpful to work with a licensed counselor, who can help you find the “lucky charms” you need, or the “good omens” you have been overlooking in your life.

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