Take Control

Want to make a dog mad?  Shock the dog.  Want to make a dog depressed?  Shock the dog and don't let it get away.

Dogs take control.
Treating animals in this way may seem cruel, but experiments of this sort have provided researchers with a significant amount of information about what leads to depression.  Specifically, animals that are given a mild shock, but have no way to escape, develop many of the physical symptoms of depression.  In addition, when these animals are moved into a condition where they can escape the shock (they can jump over a barrier and get away), many animals don't even attempt to escape.  This is the learned helplessness model of depression: the animals have learned to be helpless - that nothing they do matters - and that is just demoralizing.  

However, don't worry - these animals are easily rehabilitated.  Researchers simply demonstrate to the dog that they can escape the shock, and the dog realizes that it actually has control over it's situation.  After that, the dog is all good.

What's the point?  Well, when life beats down on you for awhile, it's natural to learn a bit of helplessness - despite our best efforts, things didn't go perfectly.  However, for the dogs described above, after they were trained to be helpless, and were moved to a situation where they could escape, they just assumed that they had no control of the situation.  In life, we very rarely have NO control over what happens to us.  So, today we're going to take control and, hopefully, our feelings of empowerment will improve too.

Take Control

Task: Exert control over some aspect your life.

Info: Pick something small for this challenge.  The idea is to prove to yourself that you have control over many aspects of your life.  Leave work 5 minutes early.  Do something different for your afternoon break.  Change your daily routine in some way.  Take control over something in your life and demonstrate that you can influence the world in a new way.  When you feel more in control, life seems a little more hopeful.  

Goal: Successfully take control of one aspect of your life.

This is an open-ended task because what makes you feel in control is a very personal thing.  Decide on something that makes you feel empowered and do it!

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