If you try to read ulterior motives between the lines of every word or interaction, distrust others, or assume that everyone is out to deceive or hurt you, you are likely to be more suspicious and paranoid than most people. A suspicious mind is always agitated and looks for hidden meanings in everything, even when no one else believes they are there. When you start to suspect something or someone, try to relax through calming activities and deep breathing exercises. Also, improve the quality of relationships by learning to listen carefully, showing curiosity, asking questions, and avoiding jumping to conclusions.
Method 1 of 4: Using Coping Strategies
Step 1. Determine if you suffer from paranoia or anxiety
Both problems are caused by fear and manifest themselves through excessive worry and a sense of imminent danger - paranoia is an unfounded belief or fear that something bad is about to happen. Often, a paranoid individual may be suspicious of another person, believing they will be responsible for the alleged negative incident. Paranoia comes with a sense of threat and is characterized by the exaggerated nature of one's beliefs - this is what distinguishes it from normal feelings of fear and worry.
Step 2. Practice relaxing activities
Stress can be one of the main factors responsible for paranoid feelings and thoughts, so relaxation methods are very important. Take a moment to relax when you start to feel suspicious. When we are plagued by suspicion or paranoia, the body reacts with a state of alert very similar to fear, and this can be extremely tiring. Tune in to your body's reactions (such as an increased heart rate, a feeling of a knot in your stomach, or rapid breathing) and try to bring a sense of calm to your body. Practice guided visualization, say a prayer, or breathe deeply.
- To begin breathing deeply, focus on each in-breath, making them slower and deeper. This will slow down the body and provide a feeling of calm.
- Meditate. Meditation will help you learn to focus and relax. The technique can also be used to enhance feelings of well-being and inner peace.
Step 3. Keep a journal
Writing can be a great way to process feelings and thoughts if you want to devote a little time to self-knowledge - particularly when it comes to your paranoia. Write about the times you felt hurt, betrayed, helpless, or humiliated, including the feelings associated with each of these experiences. You'll be able to organize and calm your thoughts by putting them down on paper, and you'll also be able to clarify the connections between these negative ideas and any outside influences.
- Write about any childhood experiences that gave rise to distrust of others' intentions. Were there times when you couldn't determine if someone was lying or telling the truth?
- Was there a time in your life when you were betrayed by someone and consequently became more suspicious of others?
Step 4. Talk to a therapist
Suspicion and paranoia are often the result of distrust, so see a therapist to begin rebuilding trust in your life - long-term therapy is one of the best options. The therapist can help you deal with some traumatic situation or event from the past, as well as teach you how to practice relaxing strategies and techniques to control your paranoia.
- At the beginning of treatment, it is important not to let paranoia interfere with therapy - view the therapist as a trusted person who will not share your secrets with anyone else. After all, he has a professional obligation to keep confidential information confidential.
- The therapist can work with you to challenge the factors responsible for distrust, and also to help you develop skills to get along better with others.
Method 2 of 4: Changing Relationships
Step 1. Communicate openly and honestly
Engage in honing your communication skills if you have difficulty feeling secure in relationships. Ask people to speak directly and honestly, without sarcasm. When talking to someone, spend a lot of energy listening carefully and understanding what is being said. Ask questions if any points are unclear. In summary, show curiosity during conversations and avoid jumping to conclusions.
Ask a question if you start to doubt what the other person is saying or doing, but don't blame him. For example, if you're suspicious when your loved one says you're leaving, ask, "Do you know what time you're coming back? I thought we could spend some time together tonight."
Step 2. Choose to trust
Your ability to cultivate friendships and relationships has likely been undermined by your inability to trust. While some individuals really aren't trustworthy, that doesn't mean "everybody" is like that. Think about what "you" lose when you doubt someone: that person's time, presence, love, and perhaps even friendship.
- For example, if someone calls to say they're going to be late, it just means they're late, and nothing more. Even if an individual is often late, this personality trait doesn't mean they're doing something wrong-no matter how much you hate being late.
- When you're having trouble believing someone, tell yourself, "I choose to believe she's telling the truth."
Step 3. Avoid basing the present on the past
Maybe an ex-boyfriend was unfaithful and now you're afraid of getting into a relationship and being cheated on again. However, living in the past is not a healthy way to direct present and future behaviors. Don't let the negative events of the past affect your judgment - learn to control your distrust whenever you find yourself in similar situations. The process of rebuilding trust starts with just you.
Learn from past experiences and become more resilient, but use the lessons as a step to help you climb, rather than a weight to pull you down
Method 3 of 4: Improving Thoughts
Step 1. Keep a log of paranoid thoughts
Whenever you suspect someone or have some other kind of paranoid thought, write about it in your journal. Describe the details of the situation, including who were there and what was happening at the time. This will help you identify the triggers responsible for paranoia.
Step 2. Be logical
Use logic and common sense to control emotional reactions and think rationally before reacting or saying something. Avoid making assumptions when you're not sure what's going on. Try to approach all situations logically and calmly, asking questions before making judgments and looking for evidence and explanations before making any conclusions.
Distrust destroys relationships, so don't wind up with those thoughts - challenge them. Ask yourself, "Is this true? What proof do I have?"
Step 3. Be optimist and always hope for the best.
When we stay active and try to do things that really matter, we don't have time to be suspicious. Get involved in activities that keep you busy and spend time in the company of people who distract you (in a positive way). Take every opportunity that will come when you keep an open mind.
- Instead of waiting for others to hurt or disappoint you, wait for good things and wonderful people with whom you can share different experiences.
- Look for people with whom you can cultivate a connection, and who will help you learn and grow.
Step 4. Watch for behaviors that inspire confidence
The basis of suspicion and paranoia is to prove to ourselves that we were right to distrust someone. You are likely trying to find evidence to validate your suspicions and demonstrate your reason. However, proving yourself right by distrusting someone will not help you feel more confident and secure. Instead of focusing on all the ways someone can hurt you, shift your focus to behaviors that demonstrate that a person is trustworthy and that others can count on them.
For example, if someone says they'll meet you for lunch and sticks to the agreement, show yourself that that person did what he said he was going to do
Method 4 of 4: Improving Emotional Self-Awareness
Step 1. Control anger
You have every right to be angry at those who hurt you in a difficult time, or who took advantage of you. However, anger cannot be transferred to everyone else - bringing hurt and distrust into your other relationships is the habit that hurts you the most. Anger management techniques will help you reduce stress and improve the quality of relationships.
Learn to communicate more effectively, solve problems and think differently
Step 2. Increase empathy
Turn the tables if you have difficulty trusting others (particularly friends, family, or loving partners). Think about how you would feel if a loved one didn't believe anything you say or say, and how you would feel if you were always asked where you are and what you think. How do you feel about this idea? Interrogations are very unpleasant to say the least, but they can also be invasive and disruptive.
If you feel that you are acting out of prejudice, find things in common with the target of your mistrust. Develop a relationship with the person, show curiosity about their life, and remember that they too are human
Step 3. Trust yourself
When learning to trust others, decide to trust yourself too. We project our fears onto others when we view the world through the lens of distrust. There are many authentic and true people in the world, so focus on yourself and learn to trust yourself. Stay away from those who doubt your ability and don't believe in your success. Make a commitment to yourself and go after everything you want and need.
When you say you are going to do something, know that you are going to comply with the agreement. For example, if you say you're going to exercise today, make a point of honoring that commitment
- Occasional distrust based on plausible reasons is perfectly acceptable, as you need to remain vigilant in order to take care of yourself. Watch for obvious signs of betrayal or abuse - they will only cause pain and suffering in the future. For example: catching your partner cheating, discovering improper withdrawals from your account, discovering that an accusation is well founded, etc.
- Use common sense when changing your paranoid mindset - you don't have to believe all the people in the world. Trusting too much and making too many compromises, particularly self-destructively, is a useless and harmful habit. Use common sense.