Research in the field of neuroscience is revealing how the chemistry and design of the brain make decisions for us, and how the brain’s reaction to decision-making is based on confidence.
This really got me thinking…
I always dread that part of yoga class when the instructor invites the class to try Crow Pose, known in Sanskrit as Bakasana. It is almost always one of the last poses of the class. I watch as many of the incredibly flexible and experienced yogis in class get into the pose seamlessly on their first try. They often take it two steps further into a full-on headstand, making even THAT look easy. I try and psych myself up to do it EVERY class. Then, there is that final second when both feet have to come up and your head is so close to the floor that a crash seems inevitable. I immediately start to think that my arms aren’t strong enough, I remember the wrist that I broke in four places in the third grade — all of the thoughts start to flood in during that final second and BOOM… I give up before trying. Any of this sounding familiar?
When I thought about this new research hypothesis, I see a huge opportunity for a confidence boost by way of shifting my thought process. I started to think about things that I’m really good at — areas where I am totally confident. With that, I came up with 4 Tips to Build Confidence that I want to share. I hope these have you tackling new challenges in no time!
Just the idea of doing something challenging and different can bring about more than a few butterflies. Close your eyes and think about things you do well or have excelled at in the past. Remember what that feels like? Scientists at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine and the Genomics Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) found that relaxation techniques can actually alter the expression of genes related to stress. Channel feelings of relaxation and imagine doing the new thing you are considering just as well. This enables the brain to take on the task at hand to the best of our abilities.
2) Stop the All-or-Nothing Thinking.
To my fellow Type A personalities… just because we can’t do everything perfect the first time is no reason to let it ruin your day! Trust me, getting over this is very tough to master, but consider this… people who are confident do not let one obstacle stand in the way of their goals & stop them from enjoying their lives. Enough said!
3) Embrace Your Inner Optimist
I’ve talked about the fact that having a positive or negative outlook on life is an inherited trait in an earlier post, The Science of Happiness. For those of you (like me!) who have to work a little harder to see the bright side, just thinking about the rewards from inner confidence should give you that extra push. No risk, no reward!
4) Just Do It.
Stop overthinking and take action! For me, I think back to solving math problems (nerdy, yes — but I was good at it!) I NEVER reworked a problem because I was confident in my technique, confident in the fact that I knew my formulas. Trust yourself. If you get up to give a speech on a subject matter you know, the entire room full of people is not going to laugh at you. Don’t spend the hours before you talk working yourself into a anxious state thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong. Get up, be confident, and do it!
My goal is to get into Crow Pose by the end of this year! If I have to call the instructor over to help me the first time, that’s what I’m going to do. In what areas do you lack confidence? Based on these tips, can you set a goal to achieve before the end of the year? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!