Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

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Today is Friday the 13th in the Northern hemisphere. This is day that is thought to be unlucky in most western cultures. Psychiatry has even identified a condition for people with a severe fear of the number 13 – Triskaidekaphobia. When coupled with a Friday, we seem to have acquired a shared superstition that is hard to explain. You can find a number of theories about which bad event in our past started the belief that Friday that fall on the 13th day of the month are unlucky, but no one seems to know for sure.

Psychologists call beliefs like this “magical thinking,” something I’ve written about before. Even though most of us recognize that, from a purely rational point of view there is nothing particularly dangerous about these days, something in the back of our minds keeps nagging at us. Something bad happens and we remember – it is Friday the 13th after all. Apparently most of us were exposed to this superstition fairly early in life and since it is reinforced every time a Friday the 13th comes around, the neural pathway in our brains is fairly well-established. The good news is that you can change your brain’s wiring and start forming a new pathway if you choose. Maybe you can adopt a more positive outlook about these days and start forming a positive superstition. Start looking for ways in which today is lucky for you.

Since we have a strong bias towards optimism, you should be able to come up with something.

 

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