Learned Helplessness: Do you often feel like not trying because you are sure of failing?


This unexplained feeling of repeated failures and lack of trying is labelled as learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual learns to feel helpless in a particular situation after experiencing repeated failures or inescapable traumatic events. This can lead to a lack of motivation and a belief that nothing can be done to change the situation, even if there are possible solutions. It is a type of adaptive response to chronic stress and can be observed in both animals and humans.

One example of learned helplessness is, a person who experienced multiple failed attempts to find a job, they may begin to believe that they are not capable of finding a job and eventually give up on trying. A person who has a history of failed relationships, may start feeling he/she is unlovable. In such cases people stop putting efforts in relationship or indulge is self-sabotaging behaviours.

Have you ever noticed yourself being stuck in one situation again and again or having a same thought repeatedly?

It's important to note that learned helplessness can be addressed with therapy and support, and people can learn to overcome it. In a therapy session for learned helplessness, a therapist may use a variety of techniques to help an individual recognize and overcome their feelings of helplessness.

One technique that may be used is cognitive restructuring, which involves helping the individual identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their feelings of helplessness. The therapist may also teach the individual problem-solving skills and techniques for setting and achieving goals. Another technique that may be used is exposure therapy, which involves gradually exposing the individual to the situations or triggers that cause their feelings of helplessness in a structured way. This can help the individual learn to cope with and eventually overcome their feelings of helplessness. The therapist may also teach relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness to help the individual reduce stress and anxiety.

Improving learned helplessness often involves teaching the individual new coping skills and strategies for addressing and overcoming their feelings of helplessness.

One strategy that can be used to improve learned helplessness is to teach the individual to set and achieve small, manageable goals. This can help them build confidence and a sense of control over their situation.

It's also important to address and treat any underlying mental health conditions, such as depression, that may be contributing to learned helplessness.

In addition, self-care and self-compassion can also play a role in learned helplessness improvement. Encouraging the individual to take care of themselves physically and emotionally, and to be kind to themselves, can help to counteract feelings of helplessness and improve overall well-being.

It's important to note that improvement in learned helplessness takes time and effort, and it's important for the individual to actively participate in the process and work with a therapist or counsellor to achieve their goals.