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If you have Friggatriskaidekaphobia, you and 17 to 21 million other people may have an anxious day today.

Today is Friday the 13th. Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th!

And while there is no causal evidence that links Friday the 13th to any bad event or luck, this day can actually paralyze people with fear. We joke about the day, but it is no joke to those filled with anxiety. Some refuse to fly, get out of bed, do business and feel paralyzed on this dreaded day.

Why the fear?

According to the Department of Psychology Chair at Cornell University, people tend to link unpleasant things or events in their lives to this perceived unlucky day. Because of the superstition associated with the day, if anything bad or negative happened to you, you could link the negative events to the date. Basically, the fear develops by association and believing superstition.

Interestingly, some people link religious events to Friday the 13th–the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus! But don’t go there because Christianity is not about luck or superstition.

The fear or anxiety produced is clearly an issue of the mind that has been reinforced in the culture.

Think–no 13th floors in buildings, Alfred Hitchcock was born on Friday the 13th,  airports often omit gate 13, jokes about Friday the 13th, etc. And apparently this day can be a down day in the economy because people are more hesitant to do business.

So, if you know someone who truly suffers from this fear, don’t make fun of the person. Let him or her know there is help. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C.,  offers therapy to help people overcome their fear of Friday the 13th. And because the day continues to make the calendar, it would be worth getting over the fear.

 

For more help with worry and anxiety, click on my book cover, Letting Go of Worry.

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