We’ve all been there. Something devastating happens to us …and we are helpless to change it or make it better in any way.
We can’t let it go. We continue to replay it over and over, hoping somehow to feel better. But the replay never helps us feel better. It only makes us feel more pain, more helplessness, more stress.
If we don’t stop the replay, that feeling of helplessness (leading to stress) can led to major physical and emotional damage.
“Chronic stress doesn’t just lead to impaired cognitive function. It can also lead to other significant problems, such as increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Other systems of the body stop working properly too, including the digestive, excretory and reproductive structures. Toxic stress can impair the body’s immune system and exacerbate any already existing illnesses.”
Fortunately we are not helpless when it comes to managing and even stopping the replay of helplessness. This February 06, 2021 article appearing in Very Well Mind is a must read if you are interested in managing helplessness.
7 Things to Do If You Feel Helpless:
- Identify the Source – If you feel like there is nothing you can do to change the situation, it can help to assess and evaluate the source of your feelings.
- Understand why you might resist change. When you are experiencing a difficult or negative emotion like helplessness, it can sometimes be helpful to look at some of the reasons why you might be resisting feeling empowered.
- Focus on what you can control. When you spend too much time thinking about the things you cannot change, you are more likely to magnify feelings of helplessness.
- Remember your thoughts may not be accurate. When you are dealing with a difficult emotion like helplessness, it is important to remember that your brain isn’t always telling you the truth.
- Challenge your helpless feelings – Once you start to recognize those helpless thoughts and feelings, it is time to start actively challenging and replacing them with more accurate, empowering ones.
- Remember your strengths – If you are feeling helpless, it can be beneficial to spend time recognizing your own unique talents, strengths, and abilities.
- Practice acceptance – While it might seem counterproductive, acknowledging the things that are outside of your control may actually improve your ability to accept them.
Lastly, let’s be clear. Continuing to feel trapped in helplessness is something you may need professional help with. The Very Well Mind article (referenced above) gives some good guidance on professional help too.
I hope you find some helpful ideas that you will use when life gets overwhelming. Let me know your thoughts.