Jun 28, 2024

What is Confidence? Ep 1

Episode description

The positive mindset and emotions that come with genuine confidence are so powerful that they can significantly alter our neurochemistry. Dozens of studies in medical journals show that confidence in one's recovery leads to accelerated and longer-lasting healing. In performance, confidence gives us a direct pathway to that sweet, sweet flow state. 

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix or simple solution for building confidence; it takes time and effort. It also takes time to explain, which is why we're starting a new series where we dig deep into the subject of confidence: what it means, how to access it, and how it can affect our performance in various situations. This first episode will introduce the topic and its significance.

What is confidence? Confidence can be thought of as a complex system influenced by various factors. Many psychologists separate confidence into two types: trait confidence and situational confidence.

Trait confidence, or more colloquially, self-confidence, is the belief in one's ability to perform a task well. It's about trusting one's ability to engage successfully with the world. It involves various internal and external factors such as skills, abilities, relationships, resilience and engagement. The journey to self-confidence can be long and complex. Commitment to learning and improving in a task you enjoy over time that can be shared with others or just for yourself is the most simplistic way of understanding how to acquire it. 

Situational confidence, on the other hand, is the belief in one's ability to succeed in a specific situation. A pianist can often feel very confident when playing along, but if you put that same person in a room full of people, it can begin to feel like the situation is getting in the way of trait confidence. A large portion of sports psychology aims to assist people in maintaining their trait confidence regardless of the situation because our brain likes to think that every new situation requires a new way of performing. Practicing or even visualizing performance in various situations is a very helpful way of ensuring both trait and situational confidence are on the same page.   

Our past trauma can also interfere with both types of confidence. Sometimes, the brain associates similar stimuli with past trauma, leading to a reliving of the experience. This can lead to a fight, flight or freeze response that gets in the way of our ability to perform. Most of us know that discussing your past with a professional can help you overcome this emotional response. Still, many of us will wait until another tragedy brings us to our wit's end before we seek help. The reality is that it's actually more effective to work on self-esteem when you're feeling goodish, not when you've hit rock bottom. Therapeutic work is easier during good times and prepares individuals for future struggles. So, take advantage of positive periods in your life to make those challenging internal changes less difficult and time-consuming.

Episode guest

Kayla Unrau

Registered Provisional Psychologist

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