Positive Musings: Counteracting Paranoia at Work

Do you find yourself internally accusing a colleague at work of some randomly suspicious activity against you? If so, chances are, you are experiencing work paranoia.


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Recognizing Paranoia At Work


Work paranoia is something that the working class experiences all the time at different intervals. Though it’s relatively a regular occurrence, it can be irrational and destructive especially to a person’s productivity and state of mind. Above all else, the worst thing to worry about at work is the imaginary scenarios and problems you conceive.

Paranoia shares traits with anxiety – primarily dread and a sense of loss of control. But paranoia includes the idea that the bad things are due to a single, identifiable source. — Stanton Peele Ph.D.

One of the main reasons why paranoia exists at work is because of some unfavorable events that happened wherein you are directly and hugely affected. Some common examples are:


  • Being laid off for no reason. The next time you find another job, you would always be at the edge of your seat waiting, wondering when the day would come that you’ll be called into the big boss’ office once again for another round of, “I’m sorry to say this but…”
  • Having an intimidating superior. Encountering a manager that is more difficult to work with, who never praised or supported your efforts can be quite daunting and exasperating. Instead, this horrible person always calls you out during meetings and embarrasses you in front of the team and other high-ranking officials.
  • Hearing gossips about you and people laughing about it. You try to ignore it, yet you can hear your name being mentioned several times inside the coffee room along with some criticisms and hysterical laughing.
  • Being questioned and judged for requesting time off. You most certainly deserve a break. You know that you do. But why is it that every time you walk into your manager’s office to ask for a couple of days off, the first thing that welcomes you is that condemning frown on his face and a disappointing look in his eyes?


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When we don’t make a point to slow things down and make time for stillness and relaxation, the less effective we become at managing the stressors in our lives. — Megan MacCutcheon, LPC

Counteracting Paranoia With Positivity


It’s quite difficult to escape traumatic work experiences. What’s worse is when you can no longer get rid of the repeated animosity that you felt before. However, if you are absolute in leaving the past behind and all its unpleasantness, there are ways to shake them off of your shoulder. All you need is a dash of positivity and the following:


  1. Recognize Your Thoughts

Before jumping to conclusions or giving into paranoia, you must first be mindful of the circumstance. To do so, one must keep a journal and take down notes on when the paranoid thoughts arise and what may have caused it. Documentation is a therapeutic way of breaking free from your disturbing thoughts. Go through it every day and notice how far your anxiety has taken over your state of mind.


  1. Consider The Facts


Immediately arriving at a false conclusion and accepting it as is will not help with counteracting paranoia. Before drawing judgment, you must first find a basis. Gathering unbiased information which includes data that might refute your initial, wrong interpretation is an efficient way to get rid of paranoia at work. Take it from doctors who always test their theories before providing a final diagnosis.


  1. Confront Your Suspicions


In other words, instead of isolating yourself and confining your thoughts within, approach the person who you think is spreading misinformation about you. By doing so, you are asserting yourself to the fact that there is a high chance that your assumptions are untrue and you are just paranoid.

Tackling additional maintenance factors — sleep problems, for instance, or reasoning biases — is likely to be a productive approach, and one that we’re currently piloting. — Daniel Freeman, Ph.D. and Jason Freeman

Consider This


Always be curious and be involved. This is one way to confront your paranoia directly. By considering a different side of the story, you are deflecting your attention from paranoia to the actual truth.