Have you ever heard of the concept of learned helplessness? There was a terrible experiment by US psychologist, Martin Seligman in 1967, where a dog is repeatedly exposed to an aversive stimulus which it cannot escape. Eventually, the animal stops trying avoid the stimulus and behaves as if it is helpless to the change the stimulus. When the opportunity to escape becomes available, learned helplessness means the animal does not take any action. (Seligman, M.E.P.; Maier, S.F. (1967). “Failure to escape traumatic shock”. Journal of Experimental Psychology 74: 1–9)
What. The. Fuck.
I need to go hug my cat now.
When people feel that they have no control over a situation, they may also begin to behave in a helpless manner. This inaction can lead people to overlook opportunities for relief or change. Oftentimes, people tend to look for external forces to blame for failures. The feeling of helplessness or out of control in any situation in uncomfortable and can cause secondary feelings of stress, depression and anxiety.
DOYOUYOGA.com’s writer, Shaymaa Hafez, says that when we encounter events that are or seem to be out of control, we may response simply by giving up. People who developed learned helplessness stop trying to do something difficult or complicated because it feels beyond personal control.
…”beyond personal control.”
This is something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. When things start to get beyond my control level, I don’t feel comfortable. I would rather just walk away. I’m not sure if this particular trait stems from a sense learned helplessness that I developed at a young age that I’m still trying to shake.
When I don’t feel in control of a situation, I feel a sense of helplessness.
I’m working on a new perspective. And I’m releasing some of that control with my exhale, but also regaining control of my life with my inhale.