Friday 13th - should it be feared?
Did you catch the date today and, upon realising it is Friday 13th, wondered what bad luck was in store for you? And before you knew it, you’d played out several catastrophic scenarios over in your head.
Believe it or not many people woke up today and did the same thing. They negatively forecasted the future and ended up experiencing some form of mild anxiety. But why does this day have such a hold over us?
Why is Friday 13th considered unlucky?
There are lots of negative associations surrounding Friday and the number 13, which is often hyped-up by superstitious chatter and Hollywood portrayals. Two supposedly unlucky things are coming together (Friday and the number 13), which can cause unnecessary worry and angst.
In numerology, 12 is traditionally considered the number of completeness: 12 hours of the clock, 12 signs of the zodiac, the 12 disciples, 12 months of the year etc… Whereas the number 13 goes beyond that completeness – in the Last Supper, there were 13 people present (Jesus and his 12 Apostles) and the 13th person who joined the table – Judas – was the betrayer. In Britain, it was also said that there were 13 steps to the gallows.
As for Friday, it has been considered unlucky for a number of reasons from both a religious and financial standpoint. "Black Friday" has been associated with several stock market crashes and Friday was seen as the day of punishment. Jesus, himself, was crucified on a Friday. Also in Norse mythology, the goddess, Frigga was worshipped on the sixth day of the week. Christians believed that Frigga was a witch and so Friday was considered to be witches' day.
Even today, the doubt around the number 13 lingers everywhere. In many buildings and cruise ships, the 13th floor will be missing; airports skip the 13th gate and airlines miss out the 13th row. You’ll often find that hotel rooms will leave out the number 13. Even some athletes avoid wearing the number 13 on their jersey. And in a deck of Tarot cards, the death card is the 13th card…
Some random facts:
⚠️ In 1995, Finland named Friday the 13th "National Accident Day’
⚠️ In the US, approximately $900-million in productivity is lost every Friday the 13th, due to fear of travel.
⚠️The horror master himself, Stephen King, suffers from triskaidekaphobia – a fear of the number 13. He won't stop writing if he is on page 13 or a one of its multiples.
Fear of Friday 13th
But there are some people who develop a deep dread or a phobia about Friday 13th. Their worries have built up a long time before the day itself comes around and it will take
a toll on their daily life and impact their relationships. In fact, around 1 in 5 people in the UK have a fear of Friday 13th - also known as Paraskevidekatriaphobia.
All phobias, regardless of what the feared thing is, produces feelings of anxiety and the fear of Friday 13th is no different. As long as you “believe” that the object or situation you fear represents a real danger to you, then you will experience real fear along with all of the associated symptoms.
The issue isn’t with the reaction or the anxiety experienced but the thoughts associated with the fear reaction. If you suffer from a phobia, I am sure that you can accept that your fear is irrational and if it was your choice you wouldn’t have it, but you can't help but experience the negative emotions.
Even though most people have never personally experienced unlucky occurrences on this specific date, that worry of something uncontrollable possibly happening causes intense anxiety. If you drastically change your plans in an attempt to avoid an unlucky fate, you are likely to hold onto a false belief that doing so will prevent bad things from happening.
When you stress and focus on your negative thoughts and then find yourself experiencing an unfortunate event, you may well be experiencing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Falling over, being late for work or missing an important phone call have nothing to do with it being Friday 13th. The fact that so many accidents occur on this day, has nothing to do with the day itself – people are more likely to be clumsy because they are not focusing on the present moment and their thoughts are elsewhere (i.e. stressing about what could happen).
Believe it or not, there are actually a number of amazing things that happened on Friday 13th:
Roy Chapman Andrews discovered the first dinosaur eggs at a dig in Mongolia on Friday 13th July 1923.
On Friday 13th October 1939, Evelyn Pinckert Kilgore became the first licensed female flight instructor.
Friday the 13th 1970 is said to be the birth of heavy metal with the release of Black Sabbath’s eponymous album.
Super Mario bros was released in Japan on Friday 13th September 1985. A significant amount of moon water was found on the moon on November 13, 2009
And of course, Friday 13th is the last day before the weekend! Surely that is something to celebrate!?
If you’d like to learn more or feel that your phobia is having a negative impact on your life then get into contact with me. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be highly effective in permanently eradicating fears and phobias so that they no longer control your life.