3 science-based habits to boost confidence

As we face the toughest times many of us ever have in our lives, we must take a pulse check to see how we’re feeling. I’ve observed an alarming lack of confidence, and conversely, a massive upsurge in fear in all of the business conversations I’ve had. It’s not surprising, given the public health crisis we’re facing with COVID-19. But we should never, ever give in to this state of worry.

We can do a lot better. We can boost our self-confidence.

Confidence is attained when we’re prepared and self-aware enough to appreciate who we are, faults and all. Confidence is desired in all kinds of relationships, and it’s the ingredient that colours our view of ourselves, as well as how we society perceives us. Confidence is worth cultivating if we are to live in each moment of the day.

The centre-piece of most value-based structures is confidence. A significant component of self-trust is the value you place on yourself. Trust is about the faith you have in your abilities, the person you are, and how you view your most important relationship — the one with yourself. When you’re afraid to believe even in yourself, you run into problems.

Confidence is our representation of the way we want to be seen and how we want to see ourselves. Courage enables us to pursue the relationships and goals we desire. We need to dig in and find it inside of ourselves during this challenging time to be better. Science can help us get there.

That said, I wanted to share three science-based habits that I truly believe will give you the confidence to persevere and beat fear.

1. Accept Yourself, See the Positives and Keep Learning

Start with these three principles which will help you redefine your perception of yourself:

  • Be happy with what you’re working on and doing. How you look is just a small factor when it comes to building your confidence. Instead, turn to your achievements and the goals you’re working towards to give you faith in yourself.
  • Focus on the positive feedback you get and don’t harp on the negative.
  • It’s not about how anyone else sees you — it’s about how you see yourself.

Realize that successes and failures will come and go throughout your life. It’s what you take from both experiences that truly makes a difference.

To support that point with a little scientific fortification, we can turn to the research of a Stanford University professor. In his study, he found the following:

‘After people succeed at something, it is especially important to have them focus on what things went wrong. They learn more than if they just focus on success (so, don’t just gloat and congratulate yourself about what you did right; focus on what could go even better next time).

When failure happens, the most important thing is to have an after event review to provoke sufficiently deep thinking — whether you talk about successes or failures is less important.’

To boost confidence, you need to stay positive. Profit by finding the lessons in each of your experiences. Never look back in anger. Look forward.

2. You Have Control and Willpower

In his book, The Psychology of Hope, You Can Get Here from There, C.R. Snyder defines ‘hope’ as follows:

“The sum of the mental willpower and the waypower that you have for your goals.”

He describes willpower as,

“a reservoir of determination and commitment that we can call on to help move us in the direction of [our] goal.”

He goes on to define ‘waypower’ as,

“a mental capacity we can call on to find one or more effective ways to reach our goals.”

A reservoir of determination. A mental capacity we can call on! Think about how empowering this is. Read closer and understand that we are the ones who have control over hope. We get to negotiate the terms and take ownership of whether we live with confidence, or whether we doubt and fear of what lies ahead.

3. Focus Time Each Day On Building Your Mindset

Jerome Groopman, the author of The Anatomy of Hope, details the science behind hope and offers examples of seniors, soldiers and even those suffering from chronic illness. Dr Suzanne Phillips summarizes:

“Citing research findings from placebo studies in varying medical areas, Groopman illuminates the way in which belief and expectation, cardinal components of hope, can block pain by releasing the brain’s endorphin and enkephalins — the body’s own version of morphine.”

Think about that — we can literally block pain by having hope. Hope leads to confidence and eliminates negativity and fear. Talk about mind over matter!

Your mindset begins with faith, hope and love — I truly believe that. These cardinal virtues combine to form a powerful self-care routine that creates a mindset of confidence every day.

I hope these habits continue to help you build the mindset you need for happiness, fulfilment and success. Acceptance, willpower, hope and determination give you confidence. And you can create this confidence for yourself every day.

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