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Our thoughts, feelings and emotions originate as chemicals. When our chemistry is off, there are significant shifts in our brain – our emotional state, how we process information, our communication style, how perceive ourselves and others – but especially in our sense of confidence.
Who are some of the most consistently confident people out there? PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES. They’re confident and successful in their performance because they’re very intentional about optimizing their chemistry through movement, food, visualization, goal setting, and beliefs.
WE HAVE TO OPTIMIZE OUR CHEMISTRY BEFORE WE CAN OPTIMIZE OUR CONFIDENCE, INTELLECT, AND POTENTIAL
I want to introduce you to the 5 CHEMICALS OF CONFIDENCE, how they work, and simple things you can do to increase or decrease them to be more confident, productive, and successful in work and life. It’s an opportunity for you to become your own Confidence Chemist!
Today’s Chemical of Confidence is SEROTONIN and I like to call it “The Confidence Molecule”.
You know when you’re feeling ON YOUR GAME? You’re in the zone and totally unflappable? You are focused, centered, happy, and confident? That’s serotonin at work.
Serotonin really changes your chemistry for the better. In fact, some of the most prescribed drugs for treating anxiety and depression like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil work by modulating levels of serotonin in the brain.
When serotonin is higher you:
- Feel confident
- Are more socially engaged
- Have a balanced mood
- Are less worried
- Sleep better
It makes you feel more self-assured and comfortable with putting yourself out there. You’re better at dealing with change and are less affected by stress and anxiety. You’ve got better energy and feel more grounded.
YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR CHEMISTRY AND BOOST YOUR SEROTONIN BY:
1. EXERCISE. Exercise increases the amount of serotonin your brain produces and releases. Multiple research studies have shown that exercise is as equally effective at boosting serotonin and mood as prescription medications are. And in some cases, exercise is even more effective! Don’t feel like you have to workout for an hour – even 5 minutes has been shown to change your mood.
2. DIET. Serotonin is not only produced in the brain, it’s also created in your gut and digestive tract. Confidence takes guts – but healthy guts specifically! Don’t stress yourself out on having the perfect diet or making huge changes.
Simply eat more of these:
- unprocessed foods
- whole grains
- fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir (a fermented milk)
- probiotics containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can also be helpful
And less of these:
- processed foods
- fast food
3. REFLECTION. You have the power to conjure serotonin with your thoughts. Taking a minute or two to reflect on a past achievement, victory or happy moment produces serotonin and makes you feel upbeat and confident. Create a daily gratitude list of 3 things you’re grateful for. Before facing a difficult situation, reflect on a past experience that you successfully overcame…or survived.
UP NEXT TIME: GABA, which is a great antidote for anxiety and has a lot of the same effects of Valium or Xanax.
In the past 10 months I’ve been “homeless”, made my wife quit her job, moved cross country, started over, cut back, lost my father, and am dealing with some family health crises. There have been several times when I’ve felt “over it”: overwhelmed, overstressed, and over my head. But I’ve also been feeling “on it”: on purpose, on fire and on cloud nine. Life is full of ups and downs…moments of incredible joy and pain and fear and bliss. Which is why resiliency is so important.
Here’s the skinny….
I’m (hopefully) coming out of four of the most stressful weeks I’ve had in a long time. As I’m sure you know, the universe has an unlimited array of creative ways to give us a swift uppercut under the chin while we were bent over gasping for breath from the punch in the gut it gave us 30 seconds earlier.
Between being on a speaking tour in Asia and my father passing away, two additional family crises, relaunching my website, and creating a new speaker reel…the stress, jet lag, lack of sleep, less than stellar food choices, caffeine and alcohol transformed me into a burbling stew of stress hormones.
Needless to say, it’s been challenging to be in a positive, confident state of mind. My inner terrorist has been having a field day telling me all the ways I suck, that my business will never be as successful as I want it to be, the phone is never going to ring again and that maybe I should just give up. Or at least go lay in bed and watch Netflix or go to the bakery and eat my face off.
We all have these moments. Or weeks… Or months…
Our bodies are pumping out cortisol and adrenaline – stress hormones – that put us into a state of anxiety and negativity. We might feel stuck or depressed. They rob us of our confidence. They literally hijack the advanced, intellectual portion of our brains where positivity and optimism live.
It’s not enough to try and think our way out of situations like this – stress hormones cut off access to the cognitive portion of our brains where stress management or self-help practices reside.
What we need is a chemical reset. We need a shot of the Four Chemicals of Confidence and Resilience: serotonin, GABA, dopamine and endorphins.
I’m going to share 3 quick and easy strategies that produce these hormones so you can go from feeling overwhelmed and overstressed to on fire and on your game:
- TAKE A H.I.I.T. Exercise puts the body and brain back into an ideal chemical state. High intensity interval training – short bursts of intense physical activity followed by short periods of recovery – burns off the stress hormones and produces the 4 Chemicals of Confidence and Resilience. And the best part is that it doesn’t take a lot of time: just 30-60 seconds of doing something like sprinting up a flight of stairs, doing push-ups or squat jumps changes your chemistry for the better.
- GET GROUNDED. Getting grounded in – and connected to – your beliefs puts the body and brain back into an ideal state. Taking time to reflect on what you value and believe bathes you in serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. You feel focused, confident, and happy. It also creates clarity, direction and accountability. An easy way to start is to identify your top 5 beliefs. What do you KNOW to be your personal truth and values?
- MAKE IT A GAME. There’s a genre of research called neuroscience-based gamification that studies gaming, the brain chemicals it produces, and how to make people addicted to things like video games or gambling. But this technology can also be used for good! When you challenge yourself regularly with small (or bodacious!) goals that reinforce a sense of purpose, it produces the Four Chemicals of Confidence as well as a positive feedback loop…or sense of addiction.
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