Mental Health

Pass the Magical Thinking Hat

magic hat and cartoon rabbit
kalhh on Pixabay

In psychiatry, magical thinking refers to the idea that there is a causal relationship between one’s thoughts and the outside world; basically that thinking something makes it so.  I tend to combine magical thinking with avoidance to produce a thought pattern of “I won’t think about it and therefore it’s no longer real.”  It’s entirely illogical, and yet it’s a pattern I keep repeating.  Supposedly Albert Einstein said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”, and I’m guilty as charged.

In order to create my false world where bad things haven’t happened, it feels like my mind slows down.  I find it hard to concentrate.  I actively avoid even opening my journal.  I watch mindless videos.  I project my negative emotions onto other issues that are less triggering.  And I drink.  I don’t normally have a problematic relationship with alcohol, but when it comes to tuning out of reality, alcohol is a favourite crutch.  Nothing too wildly out of control, but enough to provide a dose of brain-numbing.  And pass the potato chips while we’re at it, because at this point who cares, right – the world is a collapsing circus tent, and nothing is reality!

It sounds unhealthy, which would be because it is, but to put a more positive spin on it I guess what’s I’m trying to do is buy myself a bit of time for the emotional mind to calm down a little bit so wise mind is more within reach.  Not that I’m consciously wallowing in emotion mind; in fact, I’m running as far away from it as I can knowing that it will naturally start to mellow out as time passes beyond a given event.

But for right now, I’m that kid with their fingers stuck in their ears shrieking la la la la la la la!

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17 thoughts on “Pass the Magical Thinking Hat”

  1. ‘I won’t think about it and therefore it’s no longer real’.

    One of my most favourite methods to cope with life!

  2. I tend to be more “I’ve thought of something bad, therefore it definitely will happen.” I can get into self-fulfilling prophecy territory with that train of thought.

    1. Yes there are definitely times I jump on board on that train too, and you’re absolutely right, it can be such a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  3. I always try to be a fortuneteller with anything that could happen. The potential of the unknown does all sorts of crazy for my brain. It’s exhausting and I don’t know how I have lived this way for almost my whole life. Concentration becomes difficult during one of my “something is making me anxious and I’m going to pretend like it doesn’t exist” states and the energy it takes out of me to even do the simplest tasks like eating and remembering to send out that email or text becomes huge weights where accomplishing them feels like I just ran a mental marathon.

      1. Exactly. I’ve gotten the sense from one of my family members in particular… This person is the closest I’ve gotten to telling any family at all about my mental health. At least some of the advice he has given me makes me feel he just will never get it. What looks like to him is me hardly saying a word and being standoffish is actually me going through an anxiety episode.

  4. I’m the person that thinks that I can’t think positive or be excited about something, because it means that thing will be taken away for sure. My therapist likes to tell me I don’t have that kind of power.

  5. Great post!! Very insightful!! Great self-awareness!! Pass the potato chips!!

    I never knew exactly what magical thinking was, so this was interesting. I love your psychological definition posts!!

  6. I can totally relate to this. I procrastinate and will do anything rather than deal with something. I would rather clean the oven than deal with paperwork. I pretend to myself that the paperwork will magically disappear.

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