Friday the 13th comes round at least once a year, and with 2015 boasting three of the unlucky days, the year ahead is a miserable prospect for any friggatriskaidekaphobes – people with an irrational fear of the fateful date.
But Dr Matthew Smith, a psychologist and ‘luck doctor’ from Buckinghamshire New University, wants people to forget any thoughts that it’s the day which brings bad luck – the misfortune, he says, is all in your own head.
“The concept of attracting bad luck is all in your head; luck is influenced by your thoughts and beliefs and actually comes down to the right balance of accepting what you can’t control and influencing what you can in order to make your own luck,” says Dr Smith.
Here are Dr Smith’s top tips for being lucky on Friday the 13th or indeed any other day of the year.
So many things in life are uncertain, unexpected and unplanned. The challenge is to embrace these events and acknowledge that much of what happens to us is down to luck, good and bad.
Expect good luck
If you expect good luck rather than bad, you may find that you're actually likely to have more of it.
Psychologists call this a 'self-fulfilling prophecy' in that your beliefs influence how you interact with the world, which in turn affects the things that happen to you. This might at first seem at odds with tip one, but there are many things we might put down to luck, which we can influence!
Getting the balance right can be quite powerful, especially on a day like Friday the 13th, when others are expecting the worst.
Be open to opportunity
There are opportunities around us all the time, we just don't pay notice them. Cultivate a relaxed and open attitude to what's around you to spot these opportunities and recognise them as such. It's within these opportunities that many 'good luck' experiences can lay.
Don't forget your own role in creating opportunities... striking up conversations and taking yourself out of your comfort zone are simple but important ways of making opportunities, and making your own luck.
Go with the flow
The idea of 'going with the flow' often gets a bad press, but knowing which way the wind is blowing and letting yourself be carried along with the breeze is actually a great way to let luck into your life. It requires an element of trust to get what you need and that unplanned events, if you let them, can be the source of exciting surprises!
Let's be honest... it’s the bad luck you're worried about when it comes to Friday the 13th isn't it? There's no getting away from the fact that bad things do happen. It is just part of life. But you can still use simple psychology to deal with unfortunate stuff effectively.
One way is to remember that no matter what happens, it could be worse. Another way is to look for the lesson to be learned. What can be gained from this experience? Taking this perspective doesn’t always come easy but it can help you through the hardest of times.
Dr Matthew Smith is a senior lecturer in Psychology and teaches on the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology at Buckinghamshire New University. His PhD research examined the psychological aspects of 'luck', both good and bad.