3 Brain Workouts to Build Confidence
I always have the answers to many things but don’t have to confidence to implement it. I feel many people nowadays lack the confidence to dare to do things that matter. If we look at it, life’s a roller coaster with ups and downs, there are times when we are on a high and feel unstoppable. Then there are those times when life just drags us down. During this low time, we tend to hit rock bottom self-doubt kicks in and most of us start to sabotage our confidence.
When I was a kid, I had all the confidence in this world, I could easily talk to strangers, at every party I would go on stage and dance, speak in front of the whole class, play sports, participate in roleplays and often dress up and socialize. As I grew up something significant happened in my life and every inch of my confidence came crumbling down. I Started gaining weight, getting bullied at school, got diagnosed with dyslexia and performed poorly at school. I reached a point where I no longer had the confidence to talk to people. Characters in series used to be my best friends. Afterward, with the help of the most important person in my life, I imbibed all the magic to re-building back my confidence and become the person I am today. I’m here to pass on that experience, tell you why building confidence matters and how to start.
What is confidence and why should we build it?
Confidence is the belief in one's own ability to meet life's obstacles and succeed, as well as the desire to act on that belief. Being confident involves a realistic assessment of one's talents and a sense of security in that judgment. People who project confidence earn credibility, make a good first impression, deal with pressure, and overcome personal and professional obstacles. It's also a desirable quality because confidence helps others trust you easily. However, sometimes how much we try, low self-confidence can be triggered by a variety of events. Growing up in a judgmental and unsupportive environment, being separated from friends or family for the first time, evaluating yourself too harshly or being terrified of failure and other such instances. People with poor self-esteem frequently screw up. Experiencing poor self-confidence or social anxiety is primarily based on your views, rather than your real ability. Perceptions are how you think about yourself. They can be accurate or inaccurate.
Ever wondered where confidence emerges in your body?
Modern data from Harvard University, the University of Oregon, the University of Texas, and other institutions has revealed that strong and successful leaders have similar mindsets and hormone levels. More particular, powerful leaders have higher testosterone levels and lower cortisol levels. Higher testosterone levels in both men and women contribute to increased self-confidence. Lower cortisol levels, on the other hand, leads to less anxiety and a better ability to deal with stress. These balanced hormones are generated automatically, for few people due to their DNA, and they are more assertive, confident, and relaxed. Simultaneously, you will be less reactive to stress and more capable of handling high-pressure circumstances. To put it another way, having the right hormone levels can help you feel more confident and less anxious.
When the right balance of hormones is not there naturally, you will simply have to work it out: the brain has the capacity to produce these chemicals through actions that are done consistently.
These are a few workouts or routines that helped me gain confidence:
Surrounding myself with positive people
Many people come and go in our lives but there are few of them who you spend a few hours with, and you feel charged, their positivity spreads to you. You feel happier, you feel you can get through anything, and you tend to want to adopt their resilient behavior. Good times are simpler to enjoy when you have these positive individuals in your life, even if you simply want to unwind for five minutes, because guess what? These individuals strive to maintain a positive atmosphere. They make you feel good about yourself, and you become motivated to be as positive or confident as they are. Confidence is contagious, it’s a common occurrence: you're in the middle of a conversation with someone when you notice you're both leaning forward and resting one elbow on the table. Or you discover you're picking up on the other person's foreign accent or your tone of voice changes all of a sudden. The same way when you surround yourself with confident and positive people you slowly start to adapt those behaviors (due to a type of neurons in our brain called mirror neurons).
Getting rid of self-doubt (reframing my thoughts)
For that, acknowledge or stop yourself every time you say “I am not good enough”, “I am not pretty enough”, “I can never do that”, “I should’ve known better”, “Why are these negative things only happening to me?”.
One of the greatest passion in my life was learning how to off-road. Dubai is known for its desert safaris; I went a lot as a passenger through out my childhood but recently I got a chance to learn how to off-road. At the beginning, I was horror struck to drive on the ever-shifting sand dunes and I would just drive on flat sand. I did not want to take any risk because I was scared the car would flip. I kept questioning my abilities to make it up the highest dunes. Society has already formatted our minds that “men are better at things like this”, “Women don’t know anything about cars”, “You’re not capable of doing such stunts" I kept doubting myself every single time I was on the sand with the four wheels. A lot of people in the group made fun of me and criticized me for even trying. But the passion in me cried out loud and I went for a month adamant to learn such a skill. Nothing new happened, until one day I realized that unless I trust myself and have the confidence that I can do it, I am going to do it, I am completely capable of doing it, I’m not going to let my self-doubt take over such a great opportunity. So, the next day I kept repeating these lines to myself over and over again, and started to believe in myself and to my shock that was one of my best off-roading days. That experience was so empowering and made me realize that I am capable of everything I want to do but I have to gain the confidence in myself.
Sometimes in life, you have to remind yourself that you made the right choice in a particular situation and that you learnt something new by yourself, you completed a challenging task and not being able to do something once or twice does not make you incapable, Humans have low days, and they make mistakes.
Reframe your self-doubt by saying “People may not always recognize my efforts, but I do. I'm aware that I'm making a difference, and that what I'm doing is meaningful".
Unless you take that risk or make that mistake you’re never going to learn, you’re never going to know what happens if you spoke about a new idea to your boss or you just went and spoke to that random person on the metro, it could be the love of your life?. Making more mistakes helps you learn. The more information you have the more confident you become to handle situations, make challenging decisions or taking a risk on something because now you are more aware of the outcome. You slowly start to build the self-confidence because now you know what’s going to happen, you are more aware of yourself, your surroundings, the people in your life. Because what if that risk you took turned out to be the best decision you ever made or got an amazing business opportunity.
Confidence is crucial in all settings, more so at work because it enhances your performance and allows you to be at your full potential. It improves your communication and decision-making, makes you comfortable enough to show up as your real, honest self, having faith in your own beliefs, and not fearing judgement from others. You will see that once you start to trust yourself, confidence follows. Most importantly always keep in your mind that once you believe you are confident your body will automatically believe it and respond accordingly. Try it to believe it and understand how much your thoughts can control you body.
Rose Thompson - Behavioral Science Associate @ Bessern
Check out this video on How to rebuild confidence when it is not that obvious?