Dealing with Stress/Paranoia


Hi there,

I've got a whole raft of problems that I feel compelled to bring up to you. I'm 19, and have just started University College. After 15 years at the same school I was ready for a fresh start, my school life had been dominated by exam stresses and countless arguments and fallouts with friends. My problem was that I was very loud and confident, however this confidence was probably due to deep set insecurities I have.

Anyway, it's the first day and I'm ridiculously excited. On the first day and the following weeks I was very, very confident, funny and although people found me a little intense I got on really well with loads of people. I was in essence, the centre of the group. However, as the weeks have gone on it's harder to keep up my constant upbeat, immature and fun loving personality all of the time.

My problem is that I find the need to be on really good terms with absolutely everyone!! I can't deal with just having 'acquaintances' that I pass in the flat and just say 'hi' to. If people don't absolutely love me and show me affection I automatically think 'why don't they like me? what have i done to upset them?'

At the moment I get on really, really, really well with the upstairs flat, and I'm going to live with them next year. I feel like some of the people in my current flat this year aren't that nice, and I feel like I don't get on that well with them... However, when I convince myself I'm being paranoid and try to socialize with them sometimes they can be quite mean and my negative thoughts are confirmed. Yet on other days, they'll be super nice and my paranoid earlier thoughts will be dismissed.

Most ordinary people would just accept that 'you can't get on with everyone in life', and move on, but I dwell and dwell on it. I've read loads of books and articles about positive and not paranoid thinking but a couple of days after I've put the book down I'll get paranoid again. I almost need some sort of mantra I can keep telling myself when I get paranoid...

For example last week every free minute I got I spent it chilling with the upstairs flat. The only time I spent in my flat was when I was working in my room. From time to time I would go into my flat's kitchen and try to engage with conversation. However, it's really awkward and whatever comes out of my mouth they make subtle fun of it. Because of this I feel more compelled to spend as little time as possible with them. The next day when I was upstairs one of my friends that lives there took me to one side and said that 'Mr. X (lets call him)' had come up from downstairs and asked 'Is Johnny ok? He's been off with the whole flat'. This made me question my earlier paranoid and think, 'wow, how nice is my flat'.

What should I do, think, or am I simply thinking too much?

Hi Johnnie

Yes, you are thinking too much.  You have a few billion brain cells in your head and you are trying to use them all so that you can love the whole world, but it is not working.  You are using the wrong brain cells.

Did you know there are around 40 000 brain cells in your heart?  Those are the cells that you should use to like and love people.  

Now here is the catch:  You can use the brain cells in your mind on command, which means you focus them on other people.  If you do it too often or too intensely, people feel you are insincere and they don't take you seriously.

What is far more important is that you should love people with your heart.  This does not mean you can simply switch your focus from your head to your chest.  

The way to love people with your heart starts with you loving yourself.

Go and stand in front of a mirror and look yourself into the eyes and say "I Love you" to the person in the mirror.

Once you can manage that, then go further and say "I Love you because you ..." and add one thing every day.

If you can honestly and sincerely do this from day one without clowning around, you will start to discover the real person that you struggle to live with at the moment.  

You expect other people to love you, because you are not sure of what you will discover when you look into the mirror.

Once you are able to love and appreciate yourself, you will not need so much affirmation from other people.  Your true self will show, and people will love you not just while you are clowning around, but also when you dare to show our lovely true self.

Then it will not matter whether people like or dislike you, and you will be able to relax and enjoy the company of those people who can live with themselves.

That is called maturity and it is within your reach.

Love and Light

Dealing with Stress

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Elsabe Smit


Stress is the result of an inner conflict or a conflict between you and the world around you. I deal with relationships (marriage, divorce, teams in business), parenting, money issues, bereavement, conflict, and major life events (serious illness, redundancy).


Trained as psychologist, NLP master practitioner, highly intuitive. Uses a unique and holistic approach that focuses on removing physical and emotional pain.

Published various academic textbooks as author, co-author and editor.

Master's Degree in Industrial psychology, Master's Degree in Business Administration

Past/Present Clients
Businesses with change management, conflict management, communication and teamwork. Individuals with divorce, relationship issues, career crises, personal growth, money issues, mid-life crises.

©2017 All rights reserved.