Take a breath before reacting
The key to managing paranoia is to learn ways of coping that help an individual not react to the emotional state of mind and be able to respond from their wise mind or intuitive sense, says Lisa Bahar, MA, CCJP, a marriage and family therapist in Dana Point, California. “This can be challenging, however, if the individual is not able to discern what feels like an intuitive gut instinct, versus paranoia. It’s a process the mind goes through to interpret and give meaning to events inside their head or that are occurring outside of themselves, and are stories that are not been fully based on fact.” She says fear can be reduced by reviewing facts and calmly evaluating the situation. “Check in with your intuitive sense of self with mindfulness. Learn how to slow down reactivity and respond from a reasonable state of mind if you feel it will be helpful to the relationship and you.”
Resist obsessing about social media postings
Marni Amsellem, PhD, a licensed psychologist in Mamaroneck, New York, says the Internet and social media enables paranoia because they are ways to secretly keep an eye out for potential suspicious activity. Sometimes, an ambiguous post can easily fuel insecurity. “Suddenly a story is construed in your imagination, which then affects how you feel about yourself, your significant other, and the state of your relationship,” Dr. Amsellem says. Rather than stalking your partner’s social media platforms and inventing scenarios, ask him who the person is that is commenting of his posts directly. Here are more tips about how to successful navigate worry and social media.
Be in the moment and notice what is happening, both emotionally and physically; this may help reduce self-sabotaging behavior, says Allison Abrams, LCSW-R, a licensed psychotherapist based in New York City. “What are the thoughts that are triggering these emotions? These sensations can also serve as signals for whenever something like this happens, giving you the opportunity to reconsider acting on instinct. Without mindfulness (awareness of what is happening in the present moment) this opportunity will be lost,” she says. A prerequisite for changing any behavior is awareness of that behavior, Abrams says. “Behavior such as paranoia in relationships can be best understood through attachment theory. Knowing your attachment style and working with it, rather than allowing it to work on you, is a way to counter acting on self-destructive behaviors.” (Here are some mindfulness exercises to try in the morning.)