What Is Confidence And Can We Train Our Brains To Be More Confident?
Confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilitiesMerriam Webster
When you think of confident people, who do you think of? Perhaps the likes of Elon Musk, Michael Jordan or Beyonce? These people possess a magnetic quality which draws us to them. Their ability to make risky decisions and trust them, to believe in themselves and have a general air of expertise and capability. All things which come together to spell out success.
Yet, this is a quality many people yearn for.
So the question is, can you train your brain to be more confident, and if so, what’s the secret?
The above is a technique used by neuroscientists to monitor, scan and detect the “occurrence of specific complex patterns of activity corresponding to high confidence states.” In particular, an international team of neuroscientists, Kawato et al., used this technique on participants as they performed simple tasks. Whenever a high level of confidence was detected, the participant received a monetary reward. By doing this, scientists were able to boost the confidence of the participants, without them realising. This shows us that tricking your brain into being confident is definitely a thing. Phew!
Like all of our personality traits, confidence exists in the brain. Low self-esteem can lead to feelings of worthlessness and, according to research conducted by Morris Rosenberg and Timothy Owens in Extending Self-Esteem Theory and Research, it can also be associated with hypersensitivity.
Unfortunately, receiving money each time you feel confident in yourself is unlikely. So, we have come up with some science-backed ways you can trick your brain into being more confident.
1. Wear Black
Is your wardrobe a colourful rainbow or are you more of a monochrome person?
Based on a 2015 study by an online retailer, how you dress can impact how you feel about yourself, and how others view you. Out of a 1,000 people surveyed, 56% favoured black as a colour of confidence.
But black isn’t just the colour of confidence, 46% of participants also voted black as a colour of intelligence. All the more reason to ditch the colour and embrace the dark side.
2. Self-Awareness And Positive Affirmations
According to research published in the Oxford Academic on Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, self-affirmations have several benefits, this is because:
Self-affirmations are acts that affirm one’s self-worth, often by having individuals reflect on core values, which may give individuals a broader view of the self. In turn, this can allow individuals to move beyond specific threats to self-integrity or self-competence.Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Practising self-affirmation can trigger the neurocognitive process, including the “core brain systems involved in self-related processing and reward” and increase positive feelings toward yourself.
3. Heavy Bass Music
We all have that one song that makes us feel like we’re on top of the world. But science has proven it’s more than just a feeling.
A study published by Northern University suggests heavy bass music such as heavy rock, rap and dubstep can help people feel powerful. In particular this type of music can evoke “a sense of power and produce power-related cognition and behavior.”
This process occurs subconsciously and demonstrates how music with a loud, heavy bass can make you feel more determined and motivated.
4. Picture Perfect
Did you know that taking selfies can help to raise your self-confidence? As strange as this may seem, the University of California, conducted a study into the effects of picture taking on self-confidence.
A group of students took three pictures a day. One of themselves smiling, one of something that makes them happy, and one of something they believe would make someone else happy.
The results of this study demonstrate that this practice can increase self-esteem. However, the picture they took of themselves generated the most increase in self-confidence overall.
Self-confidence doesn’t come easy, and we’re not saying that our list of science-backed tips will give you Elon Musk level confidence from day one. This is just a start, it’s all about finding what works best for you.
So fling on some black clothing, play some heavy metal music and take a few hundred selfies. You’ll feel better for it!
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