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Will Power & Distraction: Not the Best Solutions

Will Power & Distraction: Not the Best Solutions
February 7, 2020

Can You Use Will Power to Get Rid of Depression or Addiction?

Will power, or what others would refer to as self-control, is the ability to control and subdue our impulses, emotions, and behaviors. It is one of the critical skills that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. When it comes to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, or behavioral compulsions like drinking and gambling, many people believed it was a character weakness of will power. Not even 10 years ago, we routinely heard many clients struggling with great amounts of guilt and shame for even showing up in our offices for help. They assumed they should be able to exert some power of will and simply stop being depressed or stop drinking compulsively. This notion has been rather old fashioned and outdated for some time, yet the number of people who still think this way is shocking. Baby boomers and the generation before them grew up in an era where you “pulled yourself up by your bootstraps” and “let things roll off your back”. Those generations propelled our society forward in many ways with the idea that dedication and hard work could accomplish anything.

Fortunately, research and education of the public at large has helped most people realize that depression, anxiety, and addiction to name just a few are legitimate medical conditions often stemming from genetics and biochemical imbalances. Most people realize you cannot will your genes and physiology into changing for the better. This change in thinking and evolution in our society’s understanding of these problems has helped millions reach out and get the help they need.

Is Distraction a Good Coping Mechanism?

If we have replaced the antiquated notion of willing ourselves into being happy, many have replaced it will an unfortunate alternative; distraction. Most people today can acknowledge that mental health and addictive issues are not their fault, nor caused by some sort of weakness of character, however, many of them are not taking the action needed to help themselves. We are seeing a fair number of people who have started to rely on distraction as their coping method. Many clients come in reporting that when they feel down or anxious, they will try to distract themselves from those depressed or anxious thoughts. Distraction may work in the moment, but it is not a long-term solution. That said, there plenty of people trying to live their lives in a state of perpetual distraction in an attempt to avoid dealing with what is really going on in their lives. For most people depression and anxiety start out mild, but fester over time while people are distracting and ignoring what is going on with themselves. It’s not until things have morphed into a moderate or severe case, will they finally come in for help.

Mental health and substance abuse issues are far easier to treat when they first manifest and are in a mild state. Don’t suffer needlessly distracting and hoping things will magically resolve themselves. Do yourself a favor and address issues when they come up. You don’t hesitate to take care of yourself physically. When you get a splinter, you work to get it out right away. You don’t wait until it gets infected or needs to be amputated. Mental health should be no different. Don’t wait until you are having panic attacks or suicidal thoughts. Be on the cutting edge, and just do something to resolve it. It’s that simple.

If you are interested in talking with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists to start addressing concerns, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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Innovative Psychological Consultants

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