is a condition of a human being or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected. You can read more about the experiment done on animals here.
According to Dr. Richard Pestak, learned helplessness plays an important role in stress.
There is nothing more stressful than dreading unpleasant experience that you have no control over. The result can be paralyzing sense of futility, helplessness, and stress related anxiety. The solution is to decide if you can reasonably expect to bring about a change in the situation. Certain things you will not be able to do anything about. But instead of giving in to a state of learned helplessness, change the one thing that you do retain some control over: your own attitude towards the stressful situation.
The opposite of helplessness is optimism, ‘an Explanatory style’ which is “a psychological attribute that indicates how people explain to themselves why they experience a particular event, either positive or negative”
Another danger which can contribute to Learned helplessness is being around the naysayers who add to the ‘gloom and doom”. Warren Buffet recently talked about it in the CNBC saying, “Fear is very contagious. You can get fearful very quickly, but you don’t get confident, you know, in five minutes. You can get fearful in five minutes, but you won’t get confident for some time.”
So in a time when a lot seems beyond your control,
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