We often feel suspicion for a reason. Our brains work hard to alert us when there is a threat to our safety, and help us decide who to trust and who to watch out for. This ability is important to help us pay attention to our surroundings and to our survival.
What happens when we face many threats or problems, such as the pandemic? When we have repeated problems or threats, our brains can go into overdrive. Even when we are again safe, or a situation is harmless, our brains may look to fill in the same amount of threats. Instead of seeing less harm and feeling more trust, our brains may tell us that harmless things are threats, or make us suspicious even when we need not be.
Feeling suspicious is a normal brain function, but if that’s becoming a more regular feeling, it could be the symptom of a bigger issue. For example, if conspiracies are often top of mind, you may not feel safe. Or, if there is a sense that people are following you or always talking about you, this can get in the way of relationships.
Sometimes feelings like suspicion come about because there’s something bigger going on. Our brains are always at work—directing our thoughts, our feelings and even our decisions. Sometimes our health or life events change the way the brain works, affecting how we think, feel, and act.