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Unlearning Helplessness

Have you tried so hard but it all seems not to work out?

Are you constantly in a bad or low mood?

Are you taken over by negative thoughts?

Do you feel like you are falling apart?

Do you feel like giving it all up?

Let’s take a moment to seriously ponder on these questions about ourselves or about people in our lives that are currently in one or more of this conditions and are looking to find a positive way out. We all definitely have different moments in life; sad ones, happy ones and of course, the memorable ones that are absolutely unforgettable which could be either good or bad as well.

As humans, we are constantly learning from every single experience that life brings our way. We learn from the achievements, from the failures, from the successes, from the promotions, from the disappointments, from the heart breaks, from the struggles, from the victories, from the tests/trials, from the opportunities taken or missed and generally from every encounter past, present or future. Each of these experiences imprints certain lessons in us.  

We can either learn to persevere and pull through in spite of the challenges or we can learn to become helpless and even unwilling to try anymore.

Learning helplessness occurs quite slowly and unknowingly until the individual is unable to achieve so much or overcome certain challenges encountered no matter how much they try. When people learn helplessness, they begin to feel hopeless and wallow in self-doubt, feelings of guilt, low mood, extreme sadness and the likes.  

Certainly, we may all feel a bit low at some point in our lives particularly in situations of bereavement, disappointments or some other related challenging situations. However, when an individual appears to persistently be immersed in low mood, sadness, negative thoughts, helplessness, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness and guilt such that it interferes with normal functioning, then there is a need to seek professional help.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to be aware of our emotional functioning as much as possible by being mindful and by carrying out a self-appraisal during and at the end of every day.

Depression creeps upon people when they are most unaware

Now, no matter how much helplessness you have learned over the years, it is time to unlearn them by being purposeful about how you interpret life’s lessons and how well you are able to take charge of your life.

Don’t give up on yourself, there is so much out there for you if only you give hope and yourself another chance and make the most of it and if you seem to fail again, give yourself yet another chance again and again!

For more information about mindfulness, kindly visit our website on www.mobilehealthconsult.org.

For more information about getting help for depression and to take advantage of our non-drug/non-invasive approach in the treatment of depressive disorders, kindly visit our website or send an email to mobilehealthsonsult2000@yahoo.co.uk to be scheduled for an appointment.

Remember to follow me on twitter @drmorayojimoh for more interesting updates on #UnlearningHelplessness.


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The 3 “Be”s to finding happiness within

internal dialogueGetting this promotion will make me the happiest person ever”

“I just need to seal this contract and all my dreams would have come true”

“Obtaining a PhD degree will give me satisfaction beyond measure”

“I love him so much, I can’t be happy without him”

These  statements whether as internal dialogue (conversations we have with ourselves) or while interacting with others, reveal what gives rise to happiness in our lives . It is common place to attach happiness, fulfillment and satisfaction to achievements, material possessions or significant others. Some people tie their happiness to the approval they get from friends and colleagues while others derive their worth and sense of self from the acceptance they receive from society. These statements become beliefs which are often held on to so rigidly such that falling short of them could lead to emotional problems. It is opined that when there is a large inconsistency between who we are (real) and who we would like to be (ideal), anxiety may result. When we make our happiness solely dependent on others, then our fate and destiny may as well  be  in their hands. In a sense, we have no control over what we feel and we allow other factors other than ourselves determine our happiness.

Should this be the case?  What then happens when the storms of life throw you off balance? Is happiness a function of your environment or YOU?

While it is very important to have goals, strive for achievements and accomplish great things in life, they should not be held on to as sources of happiness and fulfillment. Life is, most times unpredictable and to leave our emotions in its hands would be unwise.

How then can you find the silver lining in the cloud?  Very simple! Open your mind’s eye to the secrets below to experiencing moment by moment happiness:

Thankful hands1. Be thankful: Have a heart of gratitude! By being grateful for the little things in life, the air you breathe, the food you eat, the water you drink, and your health,  you will find happiness. These seemingly little things make life count and remain the basis of other achievements,after all it would be impossible to be at work or function effectively to achieve any goal when ill. Don’t forget that a thankful heart is a happy heart.

smile

2. Be Cheerful: Smile, Smile and Smile. Work out your happiness from inside out. Research shows that facial expressions can influence emotions felt. So even when  you are not in a good mood, Smile! Even when your boss demands more than is required from you, Smile! When your account is red, Smile! When you can’t seem to figure life out, Smile. Just Smile!

mindful

3. Be Mindful: By accepting your present status without judgment and by paying attention to the NOW, you can find happiness. You can be mindful each day of the week, by identifying 3 things that brightened your day and listing them out in a journal. You can also boost your mood by practicing mindfulness meditation. It is a beautiful and well rewarding practice that can boost positive emotions by guiding you into a calm state. You can find out more by registering for a FREE training on http://www.mobilehealthconsult.org. Here you will learn about mindful sitting, walking, eating and incorporating mindfulness into your daily activities.

Remember happiness is a DECISION that YOU are responsible for.

It is by Choice and not by Chance.

Be! and Be Happy!happiness-balloons


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Improve Your Thinking

Mental-health-007-300x180Our greatest friend and also our most devious enemy could easily be our own thoughts. It is the most sheltered part of our being and is who we really are. Both good and bad experiences shape our thought processes which in turn shape our perception of other people and the world around us. A majority of good experiences usually initiates more positive thoughts but bad experiences or stress could really adversely affect one’s thoughts and damage one’s view of life. More importantly, we find that our actions are usually extensions of our thoughts. Negative thoughts usually elicits negative actions. Therefore it is important that we monitor and pay attention to our thoughts.

Thought patterns

These are created when we have the same type of thoughts again and again, creating a habit of thinking in that particular
way. The battle we have withing ourselves have to do with these thought patterns because they determine how happy, confident and active we are each day. How ready we are to take on lifes challenges and hope for the future. This is when our thought patterns are in tune with our desires. As we know, sometimes our thoughts conflict with our desires. For example, someone who has a pessimistic view to life believes he or she is more likely to fail at a certain task at hand. However they are aware of how much joy they’d feel if they completed the task, but even this joy is usually not enough to eradicate their negative thoughts of failure. At the end of the day, if they let their negative thought pattern prevail, they end up quitting the task.No-Negativity-Stop-Negative-Thoughts-Coral-Springs-Counseling-Center

We all have the inner negative thoughts we have to battle when we set out minds to do something. Those thoughts that remind you of when you tried something similar in the past and you failed or reminds you of how you never get anything right or complete any tasks. These Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS), as neuropsychologist author Daniel Amen calls them, invade our minds usually when we are concerned about the outcome of an event to make us anxious by exaggerating the negative outcomes that could possibly happen and undermining our ability to deal with them. Negative thinking makes us focus on the negative things in life and magnify them while we filter out the brighter side. These negative thought patterns are especially difficult to get rid of because they are formed over time.But do not give up hope, they can be “killed” if we pay attention to our thoughts and realize that because we think something bad will happen does not make it true.

Thinking healthily

First realize that your mind is supposed to be your safe haven and your thoughts your best friend. It should be filled with positivity, encouragement and hope. We cannot control alot of external factors in our everyday lives, but we have, or should have, full control of our own thoughts.The quickest way to begin thinking healthily is to remove ‘absolutes’ from our thinking. Words such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ can be very harmful by causing you to give up and despair. “I always make the same mistake” “I can never do this” “I will be forever alone” Such thoughts encourage self pity, anxiety andpositive-people depression. Instead, though we realize our shortcomings, we should also acknowledge that we can indeed improve on them and be better. “I can never do this” should then become “This is very difficult, but since i have to do it i’m going to keep trying”. “I always make the same mistake” becomes “I make this same mistake a lot and i don’t like that, i’m going to try my best not to do so again”. This way you remind yourself that you can control the outcome and that you’re not powerless against the circumstances.

You also have to pay attention to your thoughts. Ask yourself what you think about the most each day and why. Trace the genesis of your most common thoughts and begin to break negative thought chains. This is a daily practice as thought patterns were also formed over time and are hard-wired in our minds. Each day as soon as we are conscious of a negative thought pattern we must redirect our thoughts in order not to further solidify such patterns. You’ll figure that there would be more room for innovative thoughts and ideas and a wider perspective in situations. Maintaining control over your thought patterns and having positive thoughts as much as you can is the basis of thinking healthily. 

Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Be satisfied with things you genuinely cannot change. Pay attention to your thoughts and stay positive.


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The ‘Perfection’ illusion

perfectionIn life, we find that those people who are seeking for the “perfect” job, the “perfect” child, the “perfect” lover and so on are unhappy. This is because they are chasing shadows in the dark;”perfect” is an illusion. No job is perfect and neither your lover nor your child is or will be. It may be difficult to come to terms with, for some, but for most this is expected. One way of testing this is by asking yourself if something or someone can be improved. We find out that 99% of the time the answer is “yes, we can improve this – he or she can be even better”. This is not a pessimistic approach to life, but a realistic one. So most times we find that we have to compromise with life, amend our wants and embrace the reality. But not everyone is willing to do so and they often end up falling into depression or having anxiety disorders.

This happens because their NEED for perfection in whatever aspect of their life would not let them be happy. By way of illustration,  insisting whoever you meet must tick ALL your boxes before you move forward with them. Or you keep focusing on the one small mistake you made during a presentation which in reality was still brilliant regardless. To base your happiness on someone or something being perfect, even yourself, is just like tossing all your life savings into the ocean and hoping it will all float back. Nothing will ever be perfect so therefore your happiness would be ‘out of your control’. One of the easiest ways to fall into depression is believing you’re not in control of your own happiness.

????????????????????????????????Such a person would need to learn satisfaction. Being satisfied with your job or with someone helps you appreciate and enjoy the job or the person more. You’re not anxious that they’re not good enough or that they will never be perfect. You are aware of their imperfections and you’re satisfied with them that way. Focus only on the things you can change. Learn to live with the thing you can’t.

Note that being satisfied does not mean you should not aim for the best. In everything, do your best, then be satisfied. 

SATISFACTION, not PERFECTION, is the key to HAPPINESS.