The Naked Truth

Helplessness doesn't have to hinder you

Amid trying times, the burdens of life can be crippling. Family problems, the death of a loved one, relationship conflicts, and even job loss can often leave a person feeling helpless.

Helplessness, defined as having a sense that support or protection is lacking, can often place people in what they feel is a compromised, exposed state, leaving them unable to act or react. “It is normal for people to experience initial feelings of helplessness when they experience a trauma,” says Gloria Morrow, a licensed clinical psychologist and creator of the audio CD Maintaining Positive Emotions During Tough Times ($12.99). But those who are more prone to experiencing feelings of helplessness may be at a greater risk of developing more serious mental and emotional distress. The key is to develop and maintain positive emotions to prevent you from getting stuck in a rut—or worse.

“When faced with difficult situations, we allow our unmanaged emotions to cloud our critical thinking skills,” says DeLores Pressley, founder and principal of Canton, Ohio-based BornSuccessful Institute.

Although one cannot always alleviate emotions in times of distress, there are ways to combat feeling helpless during these times.

This article originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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