When you enter into a state of mindfulness, you make the choice to open your awareness to all aspects of your experience… positive, negative, and neutral. You look at yourself, others, and the world with an open-eyed sense of curiosity, nonjudgment, and acceptance. When you apply this same attitude of mindfulness to cultivating gratitude, you may find that you become aware of far more qualities of yourself, others, and the world for which to be grateful.
Limiting beliefs and negative thoughts can hold an individual back. Explain how mindfulness can help cope with limiting beliefs. When your brain tells you that you have no business speaking up in a meeting or that you are too out of shape to work out, remind yourself that your thoughts aren’t always accurate. And sometimes, the best way to deal with negative self-talk is by challenging those statements.
Try doing things that your brain tells you that you can’t. Tell yourself it’s just an experiment and see what happens.
You might learn that being a little anxious or making a few mistakes isn’t as bad as you thought. And each time you move forward you can gain more confidence in yourself.
Stoicism, an ancient practice developed to focus attention and awareness, has gained in popularity over the last several years. Considered the Western equivalent of Zen Buddhism and present, Stoic teachings can help to understand ourselves in the present moment.
Along with its growing popularity, has been a growing body of research on the effectiveness of mindfulness. A recent edition of Monitor on Psychology identifies a multitude of psychological benefits. Here are the different ways mindfulness through Stoicism can have an impact on your life and improve self-confidence.
Food does no good and is not assimilated into the body if it leaves the stomach as soon as it is eaten; nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent change of medicine; no wound will heal when one salve is tried after another; a plant which is often moved can never grow strong. There is nothing so efficacious that it can be helpful while it is being shifted about. And in reading of many books is distraction. Accordingly, since you cannot read all the books which you may possess, it is enough to possess only as many books as you can read. Seneca Moral Letter 2.3
People may lack confidence to try new things. Stoicism can help to make the individual more open minded and see the value in learning how to do new things in life A learning mindset isn’t about achieving; it’s about aspiring to keep getting better and better. When obstacles arise, instead of falling prey to our limiting beliefs that we “can” or “can’t” handle what life throws at us, we can be curious and open. We can use our experience as our teacher. You can’t pass or fail, because life is a continuous process of growth. In studies of mindfulness with groups in the military, those who participated in mindfulness training had improved memory, even during stressful periods before deployment, while those who did not, experienced decreased working memory during those times of stress.
People may lack confidence because they fear failure. Stoicism can show how to act in the present and not fear what may happen. This brings confidence by acting in the present moment.
All this a man ought to remember, and when he is summoned to meet some such difficulty, he ought to know that the time has come to show whether we are educated. For a young man leaving school and facing a difficulty is like one who has practised the analysis of syllogisms, and if someone propounds him one that is easy to solve, he says, “Nay, rather propound me one that is cunningly involved, so that I may get exercise from it.” Also the athletes are displeased with the youths of light weight: “He cannot lift me,” says one. “Yonder is a sturdy young man.” Oh no; but when the crisis calls, he has to weep and say, “I wanted to keep on learning.” Learning what? If you do not learn these things so as to be able to manifest them in action, what did you learn them for? I fancy that someone among these who are sitting here is in travail within his own soul and is saying. Discourses 1.29.33-34
Stoicism develops gratitude to appreciate what we have in life. This shows validation in self-confidence and making choices by reflecting values in live. When you sit down to consider what you’re actually grateful for, you take a moment to picture each one in your mind and ask yourself, why are you grateful for this? Can you feel the experience of that gratitude in your body?
If you have a few minutes right now before moving onto the next thing, try this out with even just one thing you’re grateful for. Bring a curious mind to it and see what you notice. You may just begin to uncover a little happiness right now.
Set a daily reminder for this week and report back what you’ve noticed. Your interaction inspires this in others, so imagine the ripple effects.
Through Stoicism we get a better idea of our own abilities and qualities. We understand what we are capable of. From this our judgements and decisions van, be made on our knowledge and skills with clarity. We all experience moments of self-doubt. Maybe we’re faced with a choice that leaves us confused about what we want; a conversation where we feel inauthentic and disconnected; or a mistake that makes us question who we are deep down. The antidote to this internal conflict is a strong sense of self, what researchers call “self-concept clarity.” When we know who we are, we experience greater self-esteem and independence. That helps us cultivate better relationships and a sense of purpose in life.
To the aids which have been mentioned let this one still be added: Make for thyself a definition or description of the thing which is presented to thee, so as to see distinctly what kind of a thing it is in its substance, in its nudity, in its complete entirety, and tell thyself its proper name, and the names of the things of which it has been compounded, and into which it will be resolved. For nothing is so productive of elevation of mind as to be able to examine methodically and truly every object which is presented to thee in life, and always to look at things so as to see at the same time what kind of universe this is, and what kind of use everything performs in it. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 3.11
But where does this inner confidence come from? In the past, that’s largely been a mystery to psychologists. But a recent study provides a clue: It may partly stem from the non-judgmental awareness that is mindfulness. The results showed that more mindful students reported higher well-being—and that a stronger sense of self partly accounted for that link.
Delving deeper into the practice you may find that some aspects of Stoicism can help. Students who were more non-judgmental about their thoughts and feelings tended to report a particularly clear sense of self; on the other hand, those who were better at observing the present actually had slightly lower self-concept clarity.