“The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley
You have the right to be assertive. Other people have the right to be assertive too. Being unassertive will cause you more stress in the long-term. Being unassertive will reduce your feelings of self-worth. Being respected and respecting yourself is more important than being liked. Give a reason for your assertive response if you feel it is appropriate, but never an excuse or an apology.
With practice assertiveness will become second nature to you.
“Gossip. All humans partake in some form, despite the age-old adage, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Whether it’s workplace chatter, the sharing of family news or group texts between friends, it’s inevitable that everyone who talks, well, talks about other people. In fact, a 1993 observational study found that male participants spent 55% of conversation time and female participants spent 67% conversation time on “the discussion of socially relevant topics.”
People tend to think of gossip as synonymous with malicious rumors, put-downs or the breathless propagation of a tabloid scoop. But researchers often define it more broadly: as “talking about people who aren’t present,” says Megan Robbins, an assistant professor of psychology at The University of California, Riverside. “It’s something that comes very naturally to us” — an integral part of conversation, information sharing and even community building.
“It’s not necessarily negative,” adds David Ludden, professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College and the author of The Psychology of Language: An Integrated Approach. “It can be positive or neutral.”
In a 2019 meta-analysis published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, Robbins and a colleague found that, of the 52 minutes a day on average the 467 subjects spent gossiping, three-quarters of that gossip was actually neutral. One subject for example, spoke about someone who was watching a lot of movies to stay current. “It was kind of boring,” Robbins says, “not salacious and negative” at all.
Just a small portion of the conversations analyzed — around 15% — was deemed negative gossip (though positive gossip amounted to a smaller portion still, at only 9%). So while it is true that people can spend a significant amount of time talking about their peers, oftentimes that chatter is benign.
Why do people gossip?
Some researchers argue that gossip helped our ancestors survive. Evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar first pioneered this idea, comparing gossip to the grooming primates engage in as a means of bonding. Instead of picking fleas and dirt off one another to bond, Ludden explains, we now talk, which is “where gossip comes in, because chit-chat is mostly talking about other people and conveying social information.”
Gossiping, Dunbar’s work argues, gives humans the ability to spread valuable information to very large social networks. “Were we not able to engage in discussions of these [social and personal] issues, we would not be able to sustain the kinds of societies that we do,” she explained in a 2003 paper published in the Review of General Psychology. “Gossip in this broad sense plays a number of different roles in the maintenance of socially functional groups through time.”
How Gossip Can Help You
“We are much more social [than our evolutionary forbearers],” says Ludden, “so it can be very helpful to get information about people [from others] when this network is too big to observe by ourselves.”
Some scholars view gossip as evidence of cultural learning, offering teachable moments and providing people examples of what’s socially acceptable — and what’s not. For example, if there’s someone who cheats a lot in a community or social circle and people start to talk about that person in a negative way, says Robbins, the collective criticism should warn others of the consequences of cheating. And as word near-inevitably trickles back to source of said gossip, it can “serve to keep people in check, morally speaking,” Robbins adds.
What happens physiologically when people gossip?
In a 2015 study published in Social Neuroscience, scientists looked at brain imaging of men and women as they heard positive and negative gossip about themselves, their best friends and celebrities. People hearing gossip — good and bad — about themselves, as well as negative gossip in general, showed more activity in the prefrontal cortex of their brains, which is key to our ability to navigate complex social behaviors.
This activity indicated the subjects responded to the gossip and its insight. The authors say this is related to our desire to be seen positively by others and fit in socially, regardless of whether this reflects what we’re actually feeling.
The study also found that the caudate nucleus, a reward center in the brain, was activated in response to negative gossip about celebrities; subjects seemed to be amused or entertained by salacious celebrity scandals. (The researchers also polled how the subjects felt, in addition to studying what their brain images revealed. Not surprisingly, they were happier to hear positive gossip about themselves, and more irked by hearing negative gossip about themselves as opposed to hearing gossip about others.)
So, can gossip be good for you?
“People are really resistant to thinking about gossip as anything but a bad behavior,” says Robbins. And Feinberg notes that there are some types of gossip that should be avoided, such as gossip that is purely harmful and serves no greater purpose — like mean comments about someone’s looks.
In such a scenario, “you’re not learning anything,” Robbins adds. “No one is benefiting.”
There’s also a physiological distinction to be drawn between active and passive participation in gossip. Matthew Feinberg, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and his colleagues explored this in a 2012 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. When subjects heard about another person’s anti-social behavior or an injustice, their heart rates increased. When they were able to actively gossip about the person, or the situation, on the other hand, it soothed them and brought their heart rates down. The act of gossiping, Feinberg explains, “helps calm the body.”
In addition, Feinberg’s research has shown that gossip can promote cooperation by spreading important information. “When people say ‘your reputation precedes you,’ it’s because they have heard gossip about that person,” he says, which “can be extremely useful.” That said, disseminating or not correcting gossip you know to be untrue doesn’t have any pro-social benefit.
In another of Feinberg’s studies, a group of participants identified members who behaved selfishly via gossip, and promptly kicked them out. In the study, participants were divided into subgroups, and then each person was given a number of points representing small sums of money. Each participant could contribute these points to their group — in which case, the points would be doubled and redistributed equally — or keep them for themselves. Armed with the knowledge of their peers’ decisions, participants then played the game over again in different groupings. Crucially, they could inform their new groups how much someone had contributed in earlier exercises, and could vote to exclude someone who had behaved selfishly from a round entirely.
Having eliminated those bad apples, remaining participants were then able to work more harmoniously and inflate their collective pot. Individuals who had given less than half their points initially increased their contributions by the end of the latter rounds, while those who had been excluded gave significantly more after they were allowed back into the game, conforming to the less selfish behavior.
Gossiping also says something about the relationships people have with each other. “In order to gossip, you need to feel close to people,” says Stacy Torres, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied gossip in older adults. “There’s an intimacy” to sharing experiences and feeling like you’re on the same page about others, she points out. Torres’ research has found that gossip can stave off loneliness, while other studies have found it can facilitate bonding and closeness and serve as a form of entertainment.
So, keep on talking. And when your conversation turns to gossip, as it inevitably will, remember that some good can come of it — with the right intentions, of course.”
“Let’s face it—we’ve probably all fallen prey to a psychic vampire, possibly without even knowing it. It may have been a chance encounter with an energy predator that left us temporarily exhausted, or possibly along-term vampire interaction with serious wear-and-tear effects on the mind and body.
Psychic vampirism is alive and flourishing in the world today. As consumers of energy rather than blood, vampires of the psychic kind exist in many guises but with one common trait—their own inadequate energy system compels them to tap into and feed upon the energies of unsuspecting host victims. The immediate results of such a one-on-one vampire encounter are anew but temporary surge of energy for the psychic vampire and a serious loss of mental and physical energy for the unsuspecting prey. If you suddenly feel emotionally or mentally depleted, you may be under attack by a psychic vampire. The unfortunate effects of prolonged energy loss are damage to the energy system itself and in some instances, serious illness.
As consumers of energy rather than blood, psychic vampires, like their folklore counterparts, can be men or women, young or old. They can be tween, teens, or adults. They can be professionals in business suits, wealthy dot. comers, dapper CEOs, ultra-groovy rock stars, or construction workers in hard hats. They can be a business associate, next door neighbor, or even family member.
Long before the popularization of folklore vampires as blood-thirsty villains who sucked life-sustaining blood from their prey, psychic vampires as energy-sucking predators were common. There’s strong evidence, in fact, that vampires as consumers of energy were the trailblazers that actually inspired the legendary version of vampires as consumers of blood. An early example with clear fingerprints of psychic vampirism is the Biblical account of Delilah’s cunning seduction of Samson in which she vampirized him by cutting his hair, the source of his strength. Even the Biblical version of creation in which God breathed into man the “breath (energy) of life” and then took from him a rib (of energy) to create woman illustrates the transferable nature of life-force energy. That give-and-take make-up of energy is even more dramatically illustrated in the Biblical account of the woman who, upon touching the hem of Christ’s garment, was infused with energy while Christ simultaneously felt the energy leaving his body. On a very broad scale, psychic vampire themes were common in many primitive cultures that routinely used rituals to embolden and energize their warriors while simultaneously demoralizing and enfeebling (vampirizing) their enemies. Even today, military strategies often include an excessive show of force—such as shock and awe—to demoralize and dispirit (vampirize) the enemy.
In my early childhood, I first became aware of psychic vampirism through a distant relative who claimed to have discovered the secret of living forever. A world traveler, she had studied under several far eastern scholars who, she claimed, taught her how to communicate mentally, travel out-of-body, and extract life-force energy from nature, including trees, streams, and even rocks. But among her most remarkable claims was the ability to mentally extinguish fire by drawing rejuvenating energy from it.
One of my most vivid childhood memories was a festive dinner party at her mansion during which she stunned her guests by demonstrating that amazing skill. Upon taking her place as hostess at the head of a very long table graced by three large candelabras, she commented on the room’s excessive light. To the astonishment of everyone, she then leaned slightly forward and mentally extinguished five of the six candles in each candelabra!
Intrigued by her extraordinary claims of power and having seen many of them demonstrated, I began to suspect that she extracted energy not only from nature but from people as well. I finally collected the courage to ask her privately whether she drew energy from people. Placing a hand on my shoulder, she answered, “Well, of course. How else could I live forever?” Although I admit I was left wondering whether to believe her, I suspected that among her preferred energy sources were the well-developed young males who made up her household staff. She remained in excellent health and incredibly youthful in appearance until she finally crossed over during sleep at the age of 101.
Psychic Vampirism in the Laboratory
With these distant childhood experiences still etched in my mind, I welcomed the opportunity as Professor of Psychology at Athens State College (now University) to lead a study investigating the human energy system. The year-long study, which was funded by the US Army Missile Research and Development Command, identified several important characteristics of that system. Of particular interest was the finding that the physical body’s central energizing core and its surrounding energy field, commonly called the aura, are each influenced by the presence of others. Using aura photography along with visual observations of the aura, the study found that the auras of couples whose interactions were positive tended to complement and energize each other, with each aura becoming brighter and more expansive. Conversely, negative interactions tended to constrict the aura and actually induce a state of mental and physical fatigue. When constrictions occurred in the aura, intellectual functions became slower, short-term memory declined, and physical strength decreased by as much as 50 percent.
A later study funded by the Parapsychology Foundation of New York not only confirmed the findings of our earlier research, it showed that certain persons were highly skilled at deliberately tapping into and directly feeding upon the aura of others. By draining energy from another person’s aura, these so-called psychic vampires not only deplete the aura’s energy resources, they interrupt the capacity of the aura’s central core to generate new energy, particularly when the interaction is prolonged. Consistent with our earlier findings, direct observations of the aura as well as aura photographs taken before and after a psychic vampire interaction showed the victim’s aura becoming severely de-energized and constricted following an attack while the vampire’s aura became energized and expansive. I was reminded of my aunt’s claim of deliberately drawing energy from others, a claim that now seemed considerably more plausible.
My more recent studies uncovered even more vivid evidence of psychic vampirism and its effects. Both visual observations and aura photographs revealed ominous tentacle-like structures extending outward from the vampire’s aura during an attack to puncture and draw energy from the victim’s aura. As expected, such onslaughts dramatically expanded the invading vampire’s aura but seriously dulled and constricted the host victim’s aura, a condition that often lasted for days. Even more seriously, vampire puncture wounds to the aura often required weeks to heal. (As an important footnote, all observations and photographs obtained throughout our studies were with consent of informed volunteer subjects, most of whom were college students. Both observational and photographic assessments obtained during an actual psychic vampire interaction were obtained from couples who were in an on-going relationship. All participants in our vampire studies were offered counseling and provided instruction concerning the use of appropriate intervention and protection techniques.)
Although the human energy system is indestructible—it is literally the soul of our being—its capacity to generate the energy required for daily living can become severely impaired. Long-term, continuous psychic vampire attacks can have devastating consequences that reach far beyond damage to the energy system. Like the host victims of their blood-sucking counterparts, victims of recurring psychic vampire assaults can become—dare I say—psychic vampires themselves in a desperate effort to replenish their lost supply of energy.
Fortunately, highly effective strategies are now available to prevent a psychic vampire attack, or once it’s underway, to promptly end it. These laboratory tested strategies can also promote healing and repair damage to the energy system resulting from long-term vampire assaults. They can even be used effectively by psychic vampires provided they are motivated to overcome their energy addiction.
One of the most effective protection procedures known is the Finger Interlock Technique. Developed in our labs, this technique is easy to implement, and its effects are instant. To begin this technique, simply bring together the tips of your thumb and middle finger of each hand to form two circles. Then, bring your hands together to form interlocking circles while envisioning your body enveloped in a bright sphere of impenetrable energy. Finally, relax your hands and simply affirm, “I am now energized and fully protected.” This simple, inconspicuous technique requires only seconds and can be used almost any time or place. With practice, you can use the finger interlock gesture alone as a cue to instantly activate the effects of the full procedure.
A former student who found herself under a psychic vampire attack during a job interview used the Finger Interlock Technique to instantly end the attack and gain control of the interview process. She was offered the position at a salary that far exceeded her expectations. She attributes her successful interview to the simple Finger Interlock Technique.
Aside from its effectiveness as a psychic vampire protection procedure, the Finger Interlock Technique has many other useful applications. Overcoming stage fight, improving memory, and promoting positive social interactions are all within its scope. You can use the technique to induce instant relaxation during important examinations, public presentations, and conferences, to list but a few of its many applications. A former student, now a practicing attorney, attributes his admission to law school largely to his use of the technique during the entrance exam. The technique, here ported, effectively reduced his stress level and stimulated his recall of important information. Because the technique is so inconspicuous and easily executed, it has become popular among public figures including actors, politicians, performing artists, and TV personalities. If you observe their hands, you will notice many of them using the simple finger interlock gesture.
That old and trusted stand-by, the quartz crystal, has almost unlimited potential as a psychic empowerment tool. Throughout my career as a college professor and practicing psychologist, I’ve found that almost everyone is responsive to this tool. Because of its receptivity to programming, the crystal is an excellent tool for such personal goals as losing weight, quitting smoking, promoting career success, and even slowing aging (See my book Rejuvenation: Living Younger, Longer and Better). My students have used this tool to raise their grade point average, gain admission to graduate school, and get the job of their choice. One of my former students successfully programmed the crystal to find the love of her life! I’ve used the crystal to get research grants and introduce parapsychology into the college curriculum (a first in Alabama). The phenomenal success of the International Parapsychology Research Foundation, which has funded student scholarships and psychical research, is largely due to crystal programming.
At a personal level, I’ve found the quartz crystal to be unsurpassed in its capacity to protect against psychic vampirism. For that purpose, I recommend the Crystal Protection Procedure because of its capacity to erect an outer protective shield around oneself that renders any vampire attack harmless.Once the crystal is appropriately programmed and then kept in close proximity to the physical body, the protective shield remains in place to provide constant protection. The procedure is particularly effective in protecting against prolonged exposure, such as when a psychic vampire may be living or working right alongside you.
For this procedure, you can use a crystal already in your possession, or you can select a fresh one from an assortment. When selecting a crystal from an assortment, first state your goal of complete protection from psychic vampirism, and then slowly pass your hand, palm side down, across the assortment. Select the crystal that seems to stand out from the others, and while holding it, note your interaction with it. If the crystal does not seem appropriate for your stated goal, repeat the process until you find a receptive crystal. Not infrequently, the crystal in an assortment that first commanded your attention is ideal for your present use.
Once you’ve selected a crystal, deprogram it by briefly holding it under cool running water and then letting it air dry on a towel. To install the new program, simply hold the crystal in your hand, and while gently stroking it, invite it in your own words to be your empowerment partner by working with you to neutralize and defeat psychic vampirism in whatever its form. To save the program, simply say, “Please stay.”
The Finger Interlock Technique and the Crystal Protection Procedure can be used separately or together to provide constant protection from psychic vampirism. Everyone can benefit from the use of these procedures. I use them regularly and make it a practice to teach them to my students and patients because of their effectiveness in promoting a sense of security and well-being by erecting an impenetrable sphere that envelops the full aura. You can view this interesting phenomenon called the halo effect around your own aura by first holding your hand, palm side outward, at arm’s length, and then while viewing your hand against a neutral background, slowly expanding your peripheral vision. Finally, let your eyes fall slightly out of focus, and you will see the aura around your hand as a colorful glow surrounded by an outer halo of bright energy. (As a footnote, this technique can be easily adapted to view the aura of another person. For that application, see my book Aura Energy for Health, Healing, and Balance.)
Many Faces and Unsuspecting Guises
As already noted, psychic vampirism comes in a variety of unsuspecting guises. We see it all to commonly between individuals as one-on-one vampirism, but feeding on the energies of another person is only one of its many forms. For instance, anyone who exploits a lover, spreads malicious rumors, ruins a reputation, or betrays a trusted friend is a psychic vampire.
On a much broader scale, psychic vampirism can occur in a vicious, collective form as sometimes seen among organizations that feed on prejudice and hate, or corporations that blatantly vampirize their employees through deception and greed. Narcotics trafficking, organized crime, and so-called “ethnic cleansing” along with discrimination based on age, race, gender, or sexual orientation are examples of collective psychic vampirism on an alarming scale. In its most widespread collective form, psychic vampirism can exist at a global level. Reckless pollution of the environment, irresponsible disregard for endangered species, and exploitation of the globe’s natural resources are examples of global vampirism that affects everyone and literally puts the future of the planet at risk.
Finally, it may seem hand to fathom, but psychic vampirism can occur in a self-contained, parasitic form that turns inward to feed upon oneself. In that internal form, the person ironically becomes both vampire and victim. Examples are such flagrant consumers of our energies as phobias, obsessions, and compulsions that can hover over us like monsters waiting to devour us.
One of my patients, a 22-year-old art major, when asked to draw a picture of his fear of heights, drew a lifeless figure of himself being held in the claws of a giant monster. His drawing vividly depicted the over powering vampire nature of his fear.
In my past-life regression studies, parasitic vampirism was often found to be related to some painful, unresolved past-life experience that continues to hound us in this life. Here are a few examples drawn from college students:
- Deep insecurity and fear of abandonment were reactions to being an outcast and homeless in a past life.
- Fear of enclosed places resulted from having been buried alive in a past life.
- Fears of rats, spiders, and crawling insects were associated with imprisonment in an infested dungeon in a past life.
- Fear of heights was associated with having fallen to one’s own death in a past life.
- Compulsive overeating was associated with a past-life of extreme hunger and stealing food to survive.
- Stage fright and fear of crowds were reactions to death by public execution in a past life.
In a remarkable example of parasitic vampirism with threads of past-life origin, a 22-year-old student’s fear of sunlight, along with the compulsion to wear dark shades even when indoors, was a reaction to past-life torture in which his eyelids were cut away and he was left to die in the desert with his arms bound behind his back.
Incredible as it may at first seem, our case studies found that knowledge of the past-life sources of parasitic vampirism was often sufficient in and of itself to overcome this plight. In many cases, phobias, obsessions, and compulsions with a very long history were instantly extinguished through a sudden flash of new knowledge.
One of the great teachers of all time summed up the power of knowledge this way: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. “Knowledge remains perhaps the most powerful force in the universe. Among our greatest challenges is finding new knowledge and applying it to empower our lives while making the world a better place for all. Who could argue with that?”
“What is suicide and suicidal behaviour?
Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of approximately 47,000 Americans each year.
Suicidal behavior refers to talking about or taking actions related to ending one’s own life. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors should be considered a psychiatric emergency.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting either, you should seek immediate assistance from a healthcare provider.
Warning signs that someone may attempt suicide
You can’t see what a person is feeling on the inside, so it isn’t always easy to identify when someone is having suicidal thoughts. However, some outward warning signs that a person may be contemplating suicide include:
-talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, or alone
-saying they have no reason to go on living
-making a will or giving away personal possessions
-searching for a means of doing personal harm, such as buying a gun
-sleeping too much or too little
-eating too little or eating too much, resulting in significant weight gain or loss
-engaging in reckless behaviors, including excessive alcohol or drug consumption
-avoiding social interactions with others
-expressing rage or intentions to seek revenge
-showing signs of extreme anxiousness or agitation
-having dramatic mood swings
-talking about suicide as a way out
It can feel scary, but taking action and getting someone the help they need may help prevent a suicide attempt or death.
How to talk to someone who is feeling suicidal
If you suspect that a family member or friend may be considering suicide, talk to them about your concerns. You can begin the conversation by asking questions in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way.
Talk openly and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions, such as “Are you thinking about suicide?”
During the conversation, make sure you:
stay calm and speak in a reassuring tone
acknowledge that their feelings are legitimate
offer support and encouragement
tell them that help is available and that they can feel better with treatment
Make sure not to minimize their problems or attempts at shaming them into changing their mind. Listening and showing your support is the best way to help them. You can also encourage them to seek help from a professional.
Offer to help them find a healthcare provider, make a phone call, or go with them to their first appointment.
It can be frightening when someone you care about shows suicidal signs. But it’s critical to take action if you’re in a position to help. Starting a conversation to try to help save a life is a risk worth taking.
If you’re concerned and don’t know what to do, you can get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline.
If you live in the United States, try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). They have trained counselors available 24/7. Stop a Suicide Today is another helpful resource.
Befrienders Worldwide and the International Association for Suicide Prevention are two organizations that provide contact information for crisis centers outside of the United States.
In cases of imminent danger
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), if you notice someone doing any of the following, they should get care immediately:
putting their affairs in order or giving away their possessions
saying goodbyes to friends and family
having a mood shift from despair to calm
planning, looking to buy, steal, or borrow the tools to complete a suicide, such as a firearm or medication
If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm:
Call 911 or your local emergency number.
Stay with the person until help arrives.
Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
What increases the risk of suicide?
There’s usually no single reason someone decides to take their own life. Several factors can increase the risk of suicide, such as having a mental health disorder.
But more than halfTrusted Source of all people who die by suicide don’t have a known mental illness at the time of their death.
Depression is the top mental health risk factor, but others include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders.
Aside from mental health conditions, other factors that increase the risk of suicide include:
-poor job security or low levels of job satisfaction
-history of being abused or witnessing continuous abuse
-being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as cancer or HIV
-being socially isolated or a victim of bullying or harassment
-substance use disorder
-childhood abuse or trauma
-family history of suicide
-previous suicide attempts
-having a chronic disease
-social loss, such as the loss of a significant relationship
-loss of a job
-access to lethal means, including firearms and drugs
-being exposed to suicide
-difficulty seeking help or support
-lack of access to mental health or substance use treatment
-following belief systems that accept suicide as a solution to personal problems
Those who have been shown to be at a higher risk for suicide are:
-people over age 45
-Caucasians, American Indians, or Alaskan Natives
-Assessing people who are at risk for suicide
A healthcare provider may be able to determine whether someone is at high risk for suicide based on their symptoms, personal history, and family history.
They will want to know when symptoms started and how often the person experiences them. They’ll also ask about any past or current medical problems and about certain conditions that may run in the family.
This can help them determine possible explanations for symptoms and which tests or other professionals might be needed to make a diagnosis. They will likely make assessments of the person’s:
Mental health. In many cases, thoughts of suicide are caused by an underlying mental health disorder, such as depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. If a mental health issue is suspected, the person will likely be referred to a mental health professional.
Substance use. Misusing alcohol or drugs often contributes to suicidal thoughts and behavior. If substance use is an underlying problem, an alcohol or drug addiction rehabilitation program may be the first step.
Medications. The use of certain prescription drugs — including antidepressants — may also increase the risk of suicide. A healthcare provider can review any medications the person is currently taking to see if they could be contributing factors.
Treatment for people who are at risk for suicide
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of someone’s suicidal thoughts and behavior. In many cases, though, treatment consists of talk therapy and medication.
Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is one possible treatment method for lowering your risk of attempting suicide. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that’s often used for people who are having thoughts of suicide.
Its purpose is to teach you how to work through stressful life events and emotions that may be contributing to your suicidal thoughts and behavior. CBT can also help you replace negative beliefs with positive ones and regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life.
A similar technique, called dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), may also be used.
If talk therapy isn’t enough to successfully lower risk, medication may be prescribed to ease symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. Treating these symptoms can help reduce or eliminate suicidal thoughts.
One or more of the following types of medication could be prescribed:
In addition to talk therapy and medication, suicide risk can sometimes be reduced by simply adopting certain healthy habits. These include:
Avoiding alcohol and drugs. Staying away from alcohol and drugs is critical, as these substances can lower inhibitions and may increase the risk for suicide.
Exercising regularly. Exercising at least three times per week, especially outdoors and in moderate sunlight, can also help. Physical activity stimulates the production of certain brain chemicals that make you feel happier and more relaxed.
Sleeping well. It’s also important to get enough quality sleep. Poor sleep can make many mental health symptoms much worse. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re having trouble sleeping.
How to prevent suicidal thoughts
If you’ve had suicidal thoughts or feelings, don’t be ashamed and don’t keep it to yourself. While some people have suicidal thoughts without any intention of ever acting on them, it’s still important to take some action.
To help prevent these thoughts from recurring, there are several things you can do.
Talk to someone
You should never try to manage suicidal feelings entirely on your own. Getting professional help and support from loved ones can make it easier to overcome any challenges that are causing these feelings.
Many organizations and support groups can help you cope with suicidal thoughts and recognize that suicide isn’t the best way to deal with stressful life events. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great resource.
Take medications as directed
You should never change your dosage or stop taking your medications unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so. Suicidal feelings may recur and you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking your medications.
If you’re having unwanted side effects from the medication you’re currently taking, speak with your provider about switching to another one.
Never skip an appointment
It’s important to keep all your therapy sessions and other appointments. Sticking with your treatment plan is the best way to deal with suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Pay attention to warning signs
Work with your healthcare provider or therapist to learn about the possible triggers for your suicidal feelings. This will help you recognize the signs of danger early on and decide what steps to take ahead of time.
It can also help to tell family members and friends about the warning signs so they can know when you may need help.
Eliminate access to lethal methods of suicide
Get rid of any firearms, knives, or serious medications if you worry that you might act on suicidal thoughts.
Suicide prevention resources
The following resources provide trained counselors and information about suicide prevention:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Chat: The Lifeline Chat connects individuals with counselors for emotional support and other services via web chat, 24/7 across the United States.
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741. The Crisis Text Line is a free text messaging resource offering 24/7 support to anyone in crisis.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA’s helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental health or substance use disorders.
Befrienders Worldwide and the International Association for Suicide Prevention: These are two organizations that provide contact information for crisis centers outside of the United States.
Today, many organizations and people are working hard on suicide prevention, and there are more resources available than ever. No one should have to deal with suicidal thoughts alone.
Whether you’re a loved one who’s concerned about someone or you’re struggling yourself, help is available. Don’t keep silent — you may help save a life.”