Overcoming Learned Helplessness - Take Your Power Back

Most of us are all guilty of trying desperately to STOP or START something, right?

Whether that SOMETHING is to...

Stop smoking. Stop drinking. Start exercising. Start drinking more water.

We've all been there. Often, when our attempt to change goes off the rails, we come down very hard on ourselves. We become very negative and cynical about the "thing" that was going to be different this time. The negative self-talk sets in and we begin to spiral out of control again.

We think to ourselves, "I'll never be able to" _____________ (fill in the blank).

The same can be said for depression and how one responds to it. "I've been depressed for so long, it's all I know." This is known as learned helplessness and it occurs when people continuously face negative situations beyond their control and as a result, they stop trying to change their circumstances even when they have the ability to do so. 

People who are depressed may have feelings of sadness, loss of interest in most or all normal activities, sleep disturbances, fatigue, reduced appetite, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, thoughts of death, physical problems such as unexplained headaches or stomach aches. If the depression was caused by feelings of guilt for something he or she did or didn't do, then this individual may feel that the depression is deserved. The person may lay in bed all day and rehearse or ruminate over the event(s) that led up to the depression. Feelings of powerlessness and self-pity takes hold and these people may be compelled to dwell in their dark space instead of seeking help.

In another example, smokers may attempt to quit "cold turkey" several times instead of utilizing smoking cessation programs such as Free and Clear Quit for Life or speaking with a physician to receive a medication to help with such a difficult lifestyle change.

When their attempts fail, many smokers resolve that they've "tried everything" and they may not seek an alternative because they feel like nothing they do helps. They feel like failures and they're left with feelings of worthlessness and helplessness as a result of not being able to overcome the power of addiction.

But folks, trust me when I say, there is hope for you!


You don't have to stay in this pit of despair as a result trying to STOP or START something repeatedly without succeeding.

Your recovery is NOT IMPOSSIBLE!

There is hope.

There is help.

There is healing.

There is no shame in beginning again.

You must lean into the journey and do the hard work of retraining your brain to believe that 

what seems impossible is really possible with intentional steps towards unlearning learned helplessness. It is not just a cliché when people talk about the human brain being powerful. Your brain has the ability to become rewired when you stop the negative thinking in its tracks and replace it with optimistic, positive thinking. This "rewiring" is afforded to us by the brain's neuroplasticity which allows it to reorganize itself from physical or emotional injuries... how EXCITING!

But HOW can I rewire my brain?

Actually, rewiring your brain is not as difficult as it sounds. It happens gradually when you change the way you think about yourself and the way you speak to yourself which can be done through reframing your thoughts and choosing more carefully, the words that come out of your mouth about yourself.

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