Why the bouts of helplessness break men and almost do not touch women

“Diet starts Monday”, “I will never improve”, “I tried to quit, but it is impossible” — millions of people use these phrases almost every day. But who would have thought that this expression markers, which hides a dangerous psychological syndrome. He does not allow us to live happily and plunges into the swamp of depression. It is especially difficult for men syndrome of learned helplessness lurking at every step.

AdMe.ru decided to find out why some people easily change their lives, while others can’t muster the strength to fix everything.

It all started with dogs, who have endured the shocks

In the 60-ies of XX century psychologist Martin Seligman participated in the experiments according to the scheme Pavlov experimented on dogs. The scientist decided to instruct the dog conditional reflex to an unpleasant sound, and as a negative reinforcement beat animals current (say, not much).

Psychologists have locked dogs in cages and put the power back every time I heard the signal. After some time the cells opened and he put a terrible sound, but dogs, contrary to expectations, not to their heels: they were lying on the floor and waited for discharge.

Later Seligman involved 2 groups of dogs: one was in a desperate situation with the current, and the second could have saved himself and his hapless comrades, by pressing the button. After a few cycles of the cell again opened, but ran only those dogs that could press the button. Animals that previously could not influence the situation, to run away not even trying, they have learned helplessness.

So thanks to the unfortunate dog was born the theory of learned helplessness: the individual who has long endured the discomfort and may not affect the outcome of the situation, gets depressed and becomes passive. In other words, if life is constantly weighed the man’s palm, he after some time resigned and ceases to try to change the situation.

In a situation of prolonged stress some people behave like dogs from experience

Psychologists say that a person suffering from a state of learned helplessness can be calculated for keywords. The phrase “can Not”, “do Not want”, “we all in the family full/ losers/ hot-tempered”, the words “always”, “never” in human speech show lack of faith in their own strength and the fear of failure. People are constantly faced with this phenomenon, which does not normally live:

  • Addicted to nicotine cannot quit, although he made several attempts.

  • Victims of domestic violence looking for an excuse not to get away from the tyrant.

  • Overweight people can’t lose weight and I find this a compelling argument: childbirth — in women, sedentary work — men, heredity and age in both groups.

  • Students stop trying to understand geometry, “because it is difficult”.

All these situations are not hopeless, and millions of people quit Smoking, leave the spouses of alcoholics go on a diet and prove theorems. While others give up and go with the flow. Why?

Some scientists of habit blame the parents. Indeed, children from an early age learn helplessness. In families with domineering parents or hyperopia often grow passive pessimistic people.

Teachers and professors in school add fuel to the fire: the overly complex tasks and high requirements to the disciples discourage the children’s desire to learn and instill a state of helplessness.

Same Seligman who shocked dogs, believes that to blame ourselves, or rather our explanatory style (how we interpret life events). If you are looking for the cause of failure in itself, then you are not a client of the psychologist. If your problems constantly blame the government/ the boss/ husband/ the other option — welcome to the embrace of learned helplessness.

Men have innate characteristics, because of which they are a heavier experience stress

After the dogs psychologists switched to mice: shut them in a cell and began to beat the current to cause a sense of learned helplessness. It turned out that female rodents to the last fight for their freedom and not give in to discouragement. The audience is the same: fewer women falling into the abyss of depression due to the fact that the whole world is against them.

  • Women often go to doctors (including psychologists), do not hesitate to cry or to ask for advice. Besides ladies, it is easier to recognize that something did not happen.

  • The pain threshold of women is higher. But in stressful situations the psyche of women is not deformed, in contrast to the male.

  • Favorite female pastime of shopping — an excellent prevention of feelings of helplessness. Women unconsciously use it to get rid of feelings of anxiety.

  • Men are experiencing a more acute crisis of middle age and loss of visual appeal. In addition, the representatives of the stronger sex more often watch the news and feel a part of the global events that do not change.

Even the most hardened “sapropelic” can change the attitude to life

In the life of any person there are periods when the troubles are coming one after another: the car breaks down, the kids are out of school bring the two, screaming and upstairs neighbor floods the apartment with boiling water. To man fallen from all this depression, psychologists have come up with a lot of different ways, and we have chosen the most effective:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy with a psychologist who will help to get rid of the harmful pessimistic attitudes.

  • Learned helplessness “afraid” of physical activity. However, scientists are still not exactly sure how we are influenced by running, pedaling and push-UPS. But people who wait out of trouble, lying on the couch, you risk never to recover.

  • Some tasks like prolonged repair or large project at work do seem impossibly: I want to drop everything and run off into the sunset. However, it is possible to apply the technique of search activity: focus not on the result, which is still unknown when it will be and intermediate tasks. To break one big deal on a dozen little ones.

  • Acquire new knowledge: learn languages, understand the device hadron Collider or learn to drive a car. Each new skill your mind will be assessed as a win. Gradually, the brain will develop new neural connections and you take the life under control.

  • The same Martin Seligman, whom we mentioned in the beginning of the article, developed the scientific theory of rational optimism. He believes that optimists are not born and can easily learn to think positively.

  • Do not watch the news or, if you can’t do without them, choose the media with the suspended position of the narrative. The news, which to shout about what our world is doomed, and everywhere injustice, provoke a feeling of helplessness.

Have you come across someday with the people who are suffering, but do not want to change your life for the better?


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