Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

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    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
    Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

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    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

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Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.



  • In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (i.e., current alcohol users) (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among the 138.5 million people who were current alcohol users, 61. 6 million people (or 44.4%) were classified as binge drinkers and 17.7 million people (28.8% of current binge drinkers and 12.8% of current alcohol users) were classified as heavy drinkers (2020 NSDUH)
  • The percentage of people who were past month binge alcohol users was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (31.4%) compared with 22.9% of adults aged 26 or older and 4.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 139.7 million Americans age 12 or older were past month alcohol users, 65.8 million people were binge drinkers in the past month, and 16 million were heavy drinkers in the past month
  • About 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2019 drank alcohol in the past month, and 1.2 million of these adolescents binge drank in that period (2019 NSDUH)
  • Approximately 14.5 million people age 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder (2019 NSDUH)
  • Excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s risk of stroke, liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, cancer, and other serious health conditions
  • Excessive alcohol use can also lead to risk-taking behavior, including driving while impaired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver daily


  • STOP Underage Drinking interagency portal - Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Talk. They Hear You.
  • Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts
  • Talking with your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol

Relevant links:

  • National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
  • Department of Transportation Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance
  • Alcohol Policy Information Systems Database (APIS)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism



  • In 2020, 20.7% of people aged 12 or older (or 57. 3 million people) used nicotine products (i.e., used tobacco products or vaped nicotine) in the past month (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among past month users of nicotine products, nearly two thirds of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (63.1%) vaped nicotine but did not use tobacco products. In contrast, 88.9% of past month nicotine product users aged 26 or older used only tobacco products (2020 NSDUH)
  • Data from the 2019 NSDUH reports that 58.1 million people were current (i.e., past month) tobacco users. Specifically, 45.9 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 were past month cigarette smokers (2019 NSDUH)
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, often leading to lung cancer, respiratory disorders, heart disease, stroke, and other serious illnesses. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States
  • The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health reports that more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking cigarettes

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use data:

  • Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey.  Among both middle and high school students, current use of e-cigarettes declined from 2019 to 2020, reversing previous trends and returning current e-cigarette use to levels similar to those observed in 2018
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women, especially because they contain nicotine and other chemicals


  • Tips for Teens: Tobacco
  • Tips for Teens: E-cigarettes
  • Implementing Tobacco Cessation Programs in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Settings
  • Synar Amendment Program


  • Truth Initiative
  • FDA Center for Tobacco Products
  • CDC Office on Smoking and Health
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Tobacco, Nicotine, and E-Cigarettes
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: E-Cigarettes



  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 3.4% (or 9.5 million people) misused opioids in the past year. Among the 9.5 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 9.3 million people misused prescription pain relievers and 902,000 people used heroin (2020 NSDUH)
  • An estimated 745,000 people had used heroin in the past year, based on 2019 NSDUH data
  • In 2019, there were 10.1 million people age 12 or older who misused opioids in the past year. The vast majority of people misused prescription pain relievers (2019 NSDUH)
  • An estimated 1.6 million people aged 12 or older had an opioid use disorder based on 2019 NSDUH data
  • Opioid use, specifically injection drug use, is a risk factor for contracting HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. The CDC reports that people who inject drugs accounted for 9 percent of HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2016
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Understanding the Epidemic, an average of 128 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose


  • Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
  • TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings
  • Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy
  • Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants
  • The Facts about Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Addiction
  • Pregnancy Planning for Women Being Treated for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Tips for Teens: Opioids
  • Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants
  • Tribal Opioid Response Grants
  • Provider’s Clinical Support System - Medication Assisted Treatment Grant Program


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Opioids
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Heroin
  • HHS Prevent Opioid Abuse
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network
  • Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network



  • The percentage of people who used marijuana in the past year was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (34. 5%) compared with 16.3% of adults aged 26 or older and 10.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • 2019 NSDUH data indicates that 48.2 million Americans aged 12 or older, 17.5 percent of the population, used marijuana in the past year
  • Approximately 4.8 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year (2019 NSDUH)
  • Marijuana can impair judgment and distort perception in the short term and can lead to memory impairment in the long term
  • Marijuana can have significant health effects on youth and pregnant women.


  • Know the Risks of Marijuana
  • Marijuana and Pregnancy
  • Tips for Teens: Marijuana

Relevant links:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Marijuana
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Centers on Marijuana
  • CDC Marijuana and Public Health

Emerging Trends in Substance Misuse:

  • Methamphetamine—In 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
  • Cocaine—In 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
  • Kratom—In 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.


  • Tips for Teens: Methamphetamine
  • Tips for Teens: Cocaine
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse

More SAMHSA publications on substance use prevention and treatment.

Last Updated: 04/27/2022

How I overcame learned helplessness, and what I learned along the way - Personal experience on vc.ru

How learned helplessness works, how it affects the quality of life, and how to deal with it views

Once upon a time I was in an unhealthy relationship. But I didn't understand it. In each new traumatic cycle, I just waited for everything to end, because I can’t influence the course of the situation in any way. Just waiting. Anxiety was a constant habitual background of life: you never know what will fly from where, you can’t influence it in any way. I didn't try to do anything about it, it was like the weather. The rest of the time everything was good and rosy, a real family idyll. nine0005

One fine day I “came out of my body” and began to observe myself as if from a distance. It's like watching a movie. Then, after some time, it happened again. Then it began to seem to me that the boundaries of my personality were being destroyed, as if it were something tangible. And then I got scared.

It began to dawn on me that something was wrong. And it probably shouldn't be. I started looking for information. I found that what I felt is called dissociation, and is a defense mechanism of the psyche in response to something traumatic. And if this happens unexpectedly and uncontrollably, you need to run to a psychiatrist. nine0005

The body also began to fail: dizziness, tachycardia, weakness. And I went to surrender to the doctors. They drove to each other, in a circle, and as a result, first they put VVD (as it turned out later, this is just a convenient diagnosis, so as not to look for the cause), and then depression, they prescribed pills.

I persuaded my partner to start visiting a psychologist together. The psychologist turned out to be “broken”, so the therapy did not work out. No, this does not mean that they are all like that, just bad luck. In such cases, it was necessary to continue to look for a specialist, go to trial sessions. But there was no strength to either look for or re-persuade a partner who reinforced his prejudiced attitude towards psychologists. nine0005

Anyway, that therapist voiced a couple of practical thoughts, and highlighted some interesting details that were useful to me for reflection and self-help. For which he is grateful. I learned then that there is not only physical violence, but also emotional, and as soon as people do not mock each other. At that time, it was a fundamental discovery for me.

I continued to study the issue, looking for stories similar to mine, in the meantime, antidepressants also removed the feeling of depression from me, added some strength. The information flows led me to Tanya Tank's book “Fear, I'm with you”, and somehow everything cleared up and fell into place. The puzzle is assembled. It remains to understand what to do next. It was very scary, and it was not clear what and how to do to get out of this situation. nine0005

Looking back, I don't understand how one can be so afraid of a person. Anyone. But it is now. Then I was afraid. And even more afraid of new conflicts.

As a result, what saved me was the fact that in my life I am still an active and positive person, and I like to solve problems as tasks. I just forgot about it at that moment, as if I had separated from that part of my personality.

At that moment, a learned helplessness of immense size formed inside me, and pressed, pressed. Devalued all my efforts, sucked out any emerging energy at a frantic pace. I just wanted to lie down. Also, you have to go to work. I had 2 then.

I was able to identify this helplessness in myself, and I began to study the phenomenon in order to understand how it works and what to do about it. Learning new things related to the problematic situation helped me overcome my anxiety and regain a sense of control over this situation.

Below I will describe what I learned then and how I structured it in my head. And how it helped me to return to a normal life.

Definition and description of the phenomenon of learned helplessness


Learned helplessness is a state when a person is stuck in a traumatic situation, the way out of which seems obvious to an outside observer, but does nothing to change the situation or get out of it.

One of the significant all-pervasive things that interfere with a normal life.

Learned helplessness is a state in which it seems that:

  • Efforts do not make sense.
  • Still nothing will change. nine0044
  • "You can't just pull yourself together."
  • "I am hopeless."

(Very similar to beliefs in depression. People with WB are predisposed to depression, but they are not the same thing.)

The American scientist Martin Seligman did the most to study the phenomenon of WB and popularize it. He conducted a series of "unethical" experiments to identify and study such behavior.

One of the most popular - with dogs divided into 3 groups:

  • The first group of dogs were electrocuted and they could avoid it by pressing a button.
  • The second group was connected to the first, that is, the dog of the second group stopped being shocked only when the dog from the first group pressed the button. Thus, they themselves could not affect the supply of current.
  • The control group, which was not tortured.

At the final stage of the experiment, all dogs were placed in a common cage with a current connected to the floor, from which it was possible to get out by jumping over a low partition. The dogs of the first and third groups found and jumped over it without any difficulty, while the dogs of the second group rushed around the cage, whined, lay down on the floor, withstanding more and more powerful blows. nine0005

Thus, the dogs of the second group, having found themselves in a different situation, still showed helplessness, refused to fight and look for a way out.

This and other similar experiments have shown the mechanism of the formation of learned helplessness in dogs. They got used to the fact that their activity does not affect the cessation of suffering, and gave up.

The same thing happens with people: being in a prolonged traumatic situation, or an activity that seems meaningless, can drive into a state of VB. nine0005

For example:

I have been doing SEO for about 10 years in various roles, and I can definitely say that this is a job for the strong in spirit. The feeling of helplessness, impotence, identification with Don Quixote fighting windmills visited me quite often.

Yes, at the same time I was interested in all this reverse engineering, experiments, an abundance of various interesting tasks. But, periodically, after another failed update, there was a feeling of helplessness and futility of efforts, to which I eventually gave up and stopped doing SEO as an optimizer. Yes, and since then I have tried to avoid managing this direction. nine0005


  • In humans, as in the dogs of Seligman's experiments, there is a mechanism for the emergence of helplessness.
  • This helplessness is transferred to other situations that are not related to the original one. In other words, “the phenomenon has the property of generalization”, like a cancerous tumor, capturing everything it can reach.
  • An important element influencing the occurrence and development of VP is the long-term strong stress of the “victim” who is under the influence of any kind of violence. Both a specific abuser and the person himself, through self-flagellation, can put a person in the position of a victim (he set an inadequately high bar for himself, fails himself, punishes himself, abuser himself). nine0044

Yes, there are things that we cannot really influence, but mastering a new activity, for example, does not apply to them.

It is important to learn to separate one from the other, and to focus your energy on what you can influence and let go of what you cannot.

For example, one bad interview shouldn't stop you from continuing your job search. Here, the number of attempts and feedback from the interlocutors are just important. It is impossible to influence the interlocutors, but it is possible to collect feedback from them and make adjustments to your future behavior. nine0005

Dealing with each problematic situation in this way, one can learn to think constructively and positively.

By the way, those dogs from Seligman's experiment were finally cured like this:

“…They began to drag these unfortunate, resisting animals back and forth through the partition of the chamber until they began to move on their own initiative and found that their actions had a result. When they reached that stage, the healing was 100% reliable and sustainable.”

Signs and manifestations of WB

WB has specific manifestations. For example, in a speech:

  • “I can’t” (do something, ask for something, change behavior).
  • “I don’t want” (“I tried it - it didn’t work out - I don’t want it anymore”).
  • “Always” (in the key “it’s normal that I’m a loser”: I mess up, I get into trouble).
  • "Never" (the same as always, in fact).
  • nine0043 “Everyone in our family is like that” (I can’t influence what is laid down, given).
  • “Everything is useless” (like a cherry on the cake and a summary of all of the above)

And in behavior:

  • Pseudo-activity (senseless fussy activity that does not lead to results and is inadequate to the current situation).
  • Shift to a pseudo-goal (actualization of another activity that gives a feeling of achieving a result, for example: instead of resolving the conflict - the need to eat sweets, instead of writing a term paper - a burning desire to do cleaning, preferably general, etc. ). nine0044
  • Enumeration of stereotyped actions in an attempt to find one that is adequate to the situation, with constant intense monitoring of the results.
  • Refusal of activities (surrender, apathy, loss of interest).
  • Stupor (state of lethargy, lack of understanding of what is happening).
  • Destructive behavior directed at oneself and/or others (alcohol, conflicts, self-harm).
  • nine0051

    These forms of behavior are activated automatically, without a step-by-step analysis of the situation and the development of a conscious strategy of behavior. They can replace each other as resources are depleted.

    These behaviors are also seen in burnout, and they often go hand in hand with WB. Helplessness drains energy, leads to emotional and physical exhaustion, and therefore the symptoms are similar. But I’d better talk about burnout another time, the topic is also extensive.

    How to fight and how to win? nine0005

    • Determine the source of the “current” and isolate it. Get rid of the impact of the stressor / abuser in any way possible. Or at least reduce its impact to a minimum.
    • Systematically and consistently work out attitudes regarding the attribution of one's success and failures.
    • My decisions are my responsibility. My successes are my successes. My failures are my lessons.
    • Questions to yourself in case of failure: “Could I have influenced the result? What can you do to make it better next time?” nine0044
    • Failure is a useful lesson, "let's do it again", not "I'm a sad shit, I'll be a sad shit."
    • If the result is not what was expected, perhaps not enough attempts were made (be sure to watch Ilya Krasinsky's interview with Vanya Zamesin - Ilya talks a lot about it there). An iterative approach with no limit on the number of attempts - rules!
    • It is important to learn to see the influence of external factors when trying to achieve a goal. We can't influence everything. We work with what we have. nine0044

    For example: Vasya decided that he wanted to be a product manager in a Large Company tm, he studied for a long time, practiced, got to the interview, but he was not accepted. The reason was not given. Decided that he was a dull incompetent shit. In fact, they took another candidate, who was well sold to the director of the direction.

    Could Vasya have influenced this? - No.

    What did Vasya do after the dream turned into a pumpkin?

    I went to other companies to interview further, and each time I found out what was wrong when they refused. Along the way, he found out that his skills were well suited for the role of technical director, and got a job in this specialty, and this career path in practice turned out to be to his liking. TM recalls the situation with the Big Company with an ironic smirk and gratitude. nine0005

    A direct consequence of the previous point, but it is important to highlight it separately to attract additional attention.

    All that successful experience that will accumulate as a result of a sufficient number of repetitions and lessons must be isolated and put into a box “for a rainy day”, signed “I am a GOOD WOMAN”. And refer to this box every day. And it is especially important to get it out every time the blues or some other rubbish tries to drag it into the abyss of apathy. Fails the brain itself will record and amplify, it has such a feature. That's why this box is so important. nine0005

    There are special practices, such as “gratitude practice”, which also help shift the focus to the good things in life, here and now, because they are always there.

    An optimist in the brain must be supported and fed. The pessimist will feed himself. Such an evolutionary feature of the psyche. I will definitely write more about this. But after.

    Learning to feel one's boundaries and learning to defend them flexibly is a very important skill for maintaining mental health, forming and defending one's life position. It is important and useful in all spheres of life: both in personal and at work. nine0005

    Feelings of inferiority are often formed in childhood under the influence of significant adults. It is necessary to work out the fact that “inferior” people do not exist.

    The topic of self-esteem is also quite extensive and deserves a separate analysis. I will definitely return to this topic.

    It is important to understand here that people with traumatized self-esteem are more prone to learned helplessness as well. Therefore, it is important to treat, strengthen, respect, nurture and cherish this very self-esteem. But adequate. Remember that other people also have boundaries and self-esteem. nine0005

    It is best to work through such things with a psychotherapist. Self-diagnosis does not always work here, it fails. Need a side view. Attentive, helpful and unbiased.

    These 5 points, upon closer examination, can be combined with the word “optimism”. And it is optimism that Seligman opposes to the phenomenon of learned helplessness, as the most effective medicine. But not “tortured optimism”, but true, constructive, which will form itself if you practice what is listed above. Seligman's methods and approaches formed the basis of "positive psychology", which he founded as an academic field and laid the foundation for this direction. nine0005

    I recommend reading the book by M. Seligman “How to learn optimism”. And his other books. It is important to read about his model of happiness PERMA.

    If everything is read and tried, but self-help does not work and the condition does not improve, run crawl to the doctor. To the local psychiatrist, he will further direct where necessary, and in case of an acute condition, he will immediately provide the necessary assistance. They don't bite, I've tested it myself.

    It is not necessary for first aid to look for an expert with a worldwide reputation for a million dollars. But if you want, you can also for money. Most importantly, don't wait any longer. You can't stand breaking? It's the same here, it's just invisible. nine0005

    If you are afraid of local doctors, but don't know how to find a suitable paid one, you can use specialist selection services. A review of such services was done by T-Zh, there is a good selection, and there are comments on the topic.

    The main thing is not to wait until your mental ass falls off and an ambulance arrives.

    Mental health is as important as physical health.

    If you are afraid that you will be registered for this, do not be afraid. They won't put it.

    nine0002 My exit

    How did I eventually overcome my learned helplessness and get out of the cage with the electric floor?

    • Moved to a separate apartment and reduced contacts to a minimum. It was completely impossible to stop contact because of a common child. I tried to conduct inevitable contacts in a neutral tone. I imagined that I was talking with a fellow traveler on the train, for example. It was very difficult, emotional triggers worked for a long time, but gradually the efforts bore fruit, and now the attitude is neutral. nine0044
    • Normalized nutrition and introduced regular sports into the habit. This not only added strength in general, but also went into the treasury of victories. Every workout or bike ride is a small victory. Gave me confidence.
    • Systematically and consistently worked out settings regarding the attribution of her success and failures. I analyzed each situation into factors that I can and cannot influence. Came up with solutions, as for problems. The hardest part was the concept that mistakes are normal. Only those who do nothing do not make mistakes. And you can't always be right about everything. nine0044
    • Accumulated experience in actively overcoming difficulties and stimulated her own search behavior. Every time I wanted to curl up and cry after another failed attempt at something, the trauma said, “Yeah, you’re shit, deal with it.” And I told her: “Leave me alone, this is not so, here is my box with evidence: ...”.

    I began to communicate more with different people, go to conferences, look around and listen.

    Learned to say “No”. Jim Camp's book "First Say No" was very helpful. Although she, it would seem, is about something else. nine0005

    In matters relating to self-esteem, an outsider's perspective helps a lot. And various practices that have already been mentioned above: about separating one's opinion from someone else's, gratitude, boundaries, and about “No”.

    It took two years to get through it all, work through the situation and return to normal. But I look back with gratitude and do not blame anyone and do not demonize (but do not justify). I served as a catalyst for this behavior, and I myself chose the position of the victim, having received everything that came with it in the kit. nine0005

    Thanks to the experience gained in those years, I learned:

    • to define and defend my boundaries,
    • listen and hear one's own emotions and inner state,
    • bring any conflict in a constructive direction,
    • instantly detect if a person is prone to violence and build a defense,
    • difficult negotiations,
    • to see in any difficult situation not problems, but opportunities,
    • be proud of one's achievements and not reproach oneself for failures,
    • build deep meaningful relationships with people without fear or trying to please.

    Improved my sense of humor, got a level up and started into space


    Mental health should be given attention no less than physical. If there is a feeling that something is not in order, it is better to overdo it and drive it to the diagnostics than to break down. nine0005

    A constructive approach and focus on positive experiences help to multiply those experiences.

    Cultivating an inner optimist will help you stay happy and become immune to a state of learned helplessness.

    And remember: even if you get eaten, you have at least two options.)

    Human helplessness: learned helplessness

    Most people limit themselves. And often they are not even aware of it.

    Egregious cases of refusing to act and accepting unfavorable conditions for oneself can be seen daily in the news. For example, when a wife does not leave a drinking husband, completely subordinating herself to his will. Such behavior in psychology is called learned helplessness, and the cause, as always, can be found in childhood. nine0005

    The feeling of helplessness in a person is laid down in childhood. Often parents and teachers limit the activity of the child, kill the initiative and impose generally accepted patterns of thinking. In some families, screaming, physical force and emotional abuse is not complete. In such a situation, the majority of modern children grow up, and therefore it is not surprising that complexes and fears from childhood accompany little people into adulthood.

    Feeling helpless for life

    Well-known psychotherapist and researcher of behavioral factors Martin Seligman conducted a series of experiments, during which it was found out that if a living being has the opportunity to change something for the better, then this chance will not always be used.

    For example, fleas, which by nature are jumping creatures, were placed in a jar with a lid. Naturally, no one managed to escape from the container with the lid closed, but soon the lid was opened. However, not a single flea could jump to the height of the jar and free itself. In other words, the living being was already programmed to fail after a short period of unsuccessful attempts. nine0005

    It is also not uncommon for a person to give up after a few setbacks. And only a few continue to explore the world in search of favorable opportunities.

    The syndrome of learned helplessness is the absence or low level of search activity, in other words, the voluntary restriction of one's actions that can change something.

    Psychotherapists have also found that there is a category of people who, in any circumstances, have increased search activity: they do not give up, even if failures follow one after another. We all remember stories about successful inventors and entrepreneurs, as well as movie stars who were rejected hundreds of times, but they did not give up. And this is not so much a trait of leaders as people with a healthy attitude to life. nine0005

    The feeling of a person's helplessness can arise when he has already tried, tried, but could not achieve what he wanted.

    At such moments, scenarios of behavior are formed, which are then used by a person in the future. As a result, a person can fall into a vicious circle and take for granted that she cannot change anything either in this world or in her life.

    Learned helplessness or why do we give up so quickly?

    In psychology, there is such a thing as "introject" - a piece of information that was learned on the fly as a generally recognized fact. That is, all the standards of society and typical behavioral patterns are taken on faith. These are beliefs that are in the air, the conclusions of other people that you personally have not been verified in any way. nine0005

    For example, people are convinced that “the husband must” or “the wife must”, “children must”. Or that a woman over 30 should first give birth to children, and only then think about a career. Or that a mortgage is profitable (or not profitable).

    More examples could be given. But in addition to attitudes and patterns of thinking, there are also so-called life scenarios. These are beliefs that extend throughout a person's life. In practice, everything works well: he graduated from school, university, got a job. This is an example of a typical life scenario that is accepted in society. nine0005

    If a person tries to go around, bypass the path trodden by someone, does not fit in, fails, then at the subconscious level he blames himself for not following the path that everyone else is following. There is more fear. And where there is fear, there is a need for comfort. As a result, any person will choose a comfort zone for the purpose of self-preservation.

    Is it possible to change something and stop being afraid?

    A person's personality is tailored to one of two choices: risk or comfort. nine0005

    • If you are afraid, then there is a desire to find yourself in a comfort zone. Then the danger may pass, but you still with a high degree of probability will stop trying to get out of the "shelter".
    • But there is another model of behavior - instead of fear of being interested. If a person has an interest, then he goes not into the comfort zone, but into the risk zone. This risk may be quite insignificant, but it will definitely begin to expand your boundaries and remove the frames, which, by the way, are only in your head. nine0044

    Passivity, refusal to be active, unwillingness to change anything for the better, even when it is quite real, remain in the past if a person decides to experience interest, and not succumb to fear.

    Any conditioned reflexes, adaptation of one's own behavior and an attempt to adapt only lead to the fact that you kill the ability of active research activity in yourself.

    Learned helplessness: two ways to put limits on yourself

    Psychologists distinguish two aspects of limited thinking. nine0005

    1. Emotional attitudes . Like when you're scared. Fear can even paralyze your ability to think, not what to act.
    2. Cognitive attitudes . These are your beliefs, which were most likely also laid down in childhood. For example, people who grew up in poverty and did not see any successful examples of self-realization often have atrophied the ability to believe in a miracle. There were no positive examples, happy stories in their life attitudes, the picture of the world, and therefore such people are convinced that happiness and success are in principle not available to them.
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