Tag Archives: the confidence code

We Can CHOOSE to be Self-Confident

“Being healthy is a way of life. It’s not just about what you feed your body, it’s about what you feed your mind and the social environment you keep. Make healthy food choices, exercise your body and brain, and choose your friends wisely”
-Dr. Steve Maraboli

Point to Ponder:
Would you consider yourself self-confident?

Action Item:
Practice at least one of the 5 confidence-boosting exercises:
1. Meditate
2. Be grateful
3. Think small
4. Sleep, exercise & share
5. Practice power positions

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

To say that we are products of our past is certainly valid. There’s no doubt that many of our conscious and unconscious thoughts, behaviors and actions are a result of our upbringing and current social environments. Humans are easily influenced, and as children we had little control over the people we spent time with and who shaped our thinking, both positively and negatively. Now, as adults, we have all of the control and are either choosing to put ourselves in nurturing and healthy environments, or not. Either way, according to The Confidence Code, our environment and the power of habitual thinking have proven to play key roles in our confidence.

According to The Confidence Code, research proves that we are genetically born with more or less confidence. But the good new is that our confidence is malleable, and even as adults it can be altered despite our genetic wiring, pasts and memories. The best news is that we do not have to be products of our pasts, and just because our parents didn’t build us up, we had negative experiences in P.E., got dumped by our prom date or were told we couldn’t achieve a dream….these events do not have to define us or limit our level of confidence.

For adults, confidence really is a choice and like anything, finding it does not happen overnight. If we want it, we must practice using it everyday, and fortunately, there are scientifically proven confidence-building exercises that can create new confidence pathways in our brain. They are:

  1. Meditation: A calm brain is the ultimate confidence tool. MRI results show that the fear center of the brain (the amygdala) actually shrinks when meditation is routinely practiced. Meditation increases your ability to control your emotions and to be clear and calm. (Remember, meditation looks different for everyone. It can be prayer, quiet time alone, a walk/run around the neighborhood or lake, etc.)
  2. Be Grateful: New research shows that gratitude is one of the keys to happiness and an optimistic mindset. Believe and be grateful for the kind words said about you. Simply saying “thank you” will transform your mood and make the compliment-giver feel good.
  3. Think Small: Rather than focus on daunting challenges/daily tasks, break them down into tiny goals. Accomplishing them will give you a confidence boost.
  4. Sleep, Exercise & Share: A lack of sleep and exercise produces an extremely anxious brain, and anxious brains are less confident. Being close and sharing with friends boosts our oxytocin levels, which also increases confidence!
  5. Practice Power Positions: Abs in, chin up! Sitting up strait will give you a short-term confidence boost.

After finishing reading The Confidence Code, I am convinced that our confidence is part of our overall health and wellness. Why? Because our daily habits like what we eat, our exercise, the people we surround ourselves with, and the positive or negative information we choose to listen to and/or read all affect our happiness and confidence, ultimately influencing how we treat others and live our life.

 

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The Food & Confidence Connection

Almond-Berry-and-Chicken-Spinach-Salad-with-a-delicious-and-easy-dressing 4

“You are what you eat so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.”
-Unknown

Points to Ponder:
Is your diet providing you the opportunity to maximize your confidence?
Is it providing you the opportunity to optimize your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being?

Action Items:
1.  Consume 20-30 gram or 1 oz of protein per meal from: fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, beans, grains, nuts and seeds (meats and eggs need to be free range and grass-fed, dairy needs to be organic, fish needs to be wild and not farm raised)

2.  If vegan, vegetarian, or serotonin levels/moods don’t increase with added protein, consume an effective and natural serotonin herbal remedy called Saint-John’s wort, which is equally as effective as Prozac in treating symptoms of depression.

Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Undoubtedly, when I began reading The Confidence Code, I never would’ve imagined all of the research that has been dedicated to determining the origin of confidence, how we get more of it and why some of us have more or less of it. And, I for sure would not have guessed that food (our diet) plays a real physiological role in our ability to have confidence. Honestly, The Confidence Code has not made the diet/confidence correlation (at least not that I’ve read yet). Rather, I have drawn this conclusion and here’s why:

In The Confidence Code, research has found that “having healthy levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the prefrontal cortex of the brain enables us to make more rational decisions, because serotonin helps us remain calm. Our prefrontal cortex is the command center of our brain–it’s the home of executive function, rational thought and decision making. When that part of the brain is awash in serotonin, it encourages confidence in our decision making because we feel much less stress.”

Now, couple the serotonin piece with the findings from another compelling book, The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, which is based on 15 years of clinical results. She also sights that “if you have healthy and high levels of serotonin you are positive, confident, flexible, and easy-going. On the flip-side, if you have low or sinking levels of serotonin you’ll tend to become negative, obsessive, worried, irritable and sleepless. Furthermore, serotonin is emotionally vital in that it is our primary defense against depression and anxiety”. And so, if we are anxious or depressed, sustainable confidence is impossible.

Now, here’s the crazy but not surprising discovery found in the The Mood Cure. “Serotonin is made out of the foods we eat and is synthesized in your body from tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) found in foods like turkey, beef and cheese. And therefore, if we are not eating pro-serotonin foods like protein and healthy fats, and we are consuming too much anti-serotonin foods like caffeinated sodas, coffee, artificially sweetened foods and drinks (man-made/fake foods), chances are our serotonin levels are low, leaving us sluggish and not feeling confident. (Fast foods and skipped meals have depleted us from many of the vitamins and minerals that assist in the magic conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.)”

According to The Mood Cure, there are also three other neurotransmitters that affect our moods: catecholamines, GABA and endorphins. “If you are high in catecholamines, you are energized, upbeat, and alert. If you are low in catecholamines- you are sinking in lethargic funks. If you are high in GABA- you’re relaxed and stress free. If there’s a gap in your GABA- you’re wired, stressed and overwhelmed. If you are high in endorphins- you’re full of cozy feelings of comfort, pleasure and euphoria. If you are low in endorphins- you may be overly sensitive. And, to sum it all up, too much stress depletes the brain of the these “feel good” neurotransmitters. A good night’s sleep, adequate relaxation and appropriate down time are critical to restoring optimal levels of good-mood chemicals.”

I’ve always believed that ‘diet is king’ and plays a significant role in our health and happiness. After reading the scientific evidence in the The Confidence Code and The Mood Cure, I am now more convinced that the foods and drinks we consume are indeed directly related to our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual well-being and confidence.

 

 

Just Do It!

www.igniteyourlifenow.com

“Confidence is like a muscle: The more you use it the stronger it gets..” (Anonymous)

Point to Ponder:
Do you lack confidence?

Action Item:
Get outside your comfort zone this week by trying an exercise or class you wouldn’t usually try.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Well, I did it! Last Monday I flew to Santa Monica for my ‘de-blorfting’ trip— a personal getaway (all by myself and for myself) for the sole purpose of recharging my battery. And just as the wise and wonderful iGnite member Louise Pincoffs warned me I would, the day before I left I began questioning if I indeed needed the trip and if it was worth the hassle of organizing myself and the family for my departure. I won’t lie, there was tension in the household, which made it even more uncomfortable for me to leave. Then, of course, I had multiple conversations with ‘Lady Guilt.’ She tried, almost successfully, to convince me that I was being a bad and selfish wife and mother by doing something completely for me. But I had prepared for her pathetic attempts and for no other reason than to defeat her, I was going on this trip!

Upon arriving and for about the first eight to twelve hours, it was rough. I didn’t know what to do with myself. As much as I wanted to completely remove my ’wife,’ ‘mom’ and ‘business owner’ hats and instantly make the trip about me, it was impossible because I had not practiced it since pre-marriage! I’m a giver and a do-er, and as good as it sounds to completely relax, have a glass of wine and empty my brain, this was waaayyyyy out of my comfort zone and much more difficult than I anticipated. In fact, I even considered catching an early flight back. However, I continued to remind myself that good things always come from discomfort and I would be cheating myself and my husband Russell’s confidence in keeping the children if I didn’t stay the course.

Long story short, after a five-mile walk along the beach, a glass of wine, a few phone calls with two veteran wife and mom friends reminding me why it was so important to be on this trip, the guilt, discomfort and fear was completely gone, and I found my groove. In fact, by sunrise on day two I was ready to add another day!

As I had hoped, this trip did wonders for my body, my mind, my spirit and for mine and Russell’s relationship. Oddly, we had better conversations on the phone than we have had in years. They weren’t rushed or interrupted, they were brutally honest, and there were no arguments. Because our roles were reversed for the first time ever, it was an incredible opportunity for us to see things from each other’s perspective. We shared compassion and gained a greater appreciation for each other and the roles we typically play.

I also finished reading The Confidence Code (our suggested summer read) which continues to get more fascinating with each page. In it, the authors interview a range of confidence scientists and experts. I was completely unprepared for one piece of research: that between 25% and 50% of our confidence is in our DNA, meaning we are genetically predisposed to have less or more confidence (regardless of our environment, experiences, etc). Another finding proved that while we are genetically predisposed to have less or more confidence, much like being born with the certain skill sets and talents, the more we practice confidence, the more comfortable we get at using it. So, to translate this finding into muscular physiology, most of us are born with more slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are the endurance type muscle fibers, however by performing and practicing quick and explosive movements, we can actually recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers, which will inevitably increase our speed and quickness. And so, the notion to ‘JUST DO IT’ (which the authors and of course Nike suggest), by practicing doing the uncomfortable things that we really want and need to do but avoid because we fear failure or the unknown outcome, is absolutely necessary in building confidence.

Lucky for us, summer is within an arm’s reach. I don’t know why, but the summer season has always felt like we can color outside of the lines and tip toe beyond our margins more than we would typically allow ourselves during any other season. With this liberty comes the opportunity to practice stretching our confidence zones. You can actually start in a safe place, like iGnite, and then take a class you have feared you can’t do or practice an exercise or pose you didn’t think you were strong enough to perform. Then you take that confidence/momentum and apply it when trying something else you’ve been hesitant or reluctant to try, do, or talk about.

When you practice enough, your confidence builds like a fast growing snow ball rolling down a mountain. Soon enough it becomes a massive avalanche and you become unstoppable! The bottom line is, you have to say ‘yes’ to yourself and JUST DO IT! Without a doubt, you can count on iGnite to be your never-ending source of encouragement and cheerleaders. We all have one shot at this life and we want to knock it out of the park with you. So let’s JUST DO IT!

 

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Practice Confidence Everyday

“Confidence comes not from always being right, but not fearing to be wrong.”
(Anonymous)

Point to Ponder:
Do you often…
Over-think things? People-please? Hold on to defeats? Strive for perfection?
Undersell yourself? Play it safe? Doubt yourself?

Action Item:
This week, avoid people pleasing, over-thinking, perfectionism and self-doubt.
Practice letting go of your mistakes, speaking up, and taking risks.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Having grown up in a very small town, I had the fortunate experience of playing every sport available to me. I’d like to think I was pretty good, but because I was 1 out of 140 students in my entire high school (9th through 12th grades), the competition was limited.

I loved sports — especially basketball. And while I was very confident in my ability, there were times when I would get into a shooting slump and my dad (a basketball coach) would tell me, “You are shooting to keep from missing rather than shooting to score,” or “You are playing to keep from losing instead of playing to win!”  He was right, I was playing timid and without confidence.  As soon as I would get my head straight, I’d get out of my slump, play aggressive, be a team leader and have fun.

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to compete in team sports because I really do think athletics taught me some of my most valuable life skills — confidence and teamwork being two of them. However, I’d be lying if I said that I am confident all of the time.  In fact, I get a nervous stomach when I speak in public, teach an iGnite class, or hold an iGnite team meeting because…I fear saying the wrong thing, I fear not being liked and I fear not being perfect! Okay, there. I said it… and now I want to go throw up.

I recently began reading the book The Confidence Code, which I am suggesting for our summer read. I am only on page 22 and it already looks like a marked-up text book, filled with notes, underlines and highlights. It’s written by two female journalists and specifically covers women’s confidence, self-assurance — why we lack them more than men, and why that lacking keep us from speaking up, fully believing in ourselves and striving for everything we desire.

Because I am only on page 22, I have no idea what the solution is; however, what I can share with you are a few mind-blowing findings I’ve stumbled across thus far:

  1. Regardless of power, prestige, or position, every woman is guilty of: over-thinking, people pleasing, and an inability to let go of defeats
  2. Perfectionism: We assume somehow that we don’t have the level of expertise or knowledge needed and therefore we over-prepare, hesitate or simply don’t try. And women are only confident when we feel perfect.
  3. We Undersell Ourselves: We often keep our thoughts (which we decide can’t be that impressive) to ourselves.
  4. ‘Safe’ Syndrome: Rather than take a risk to experience victory, we stay in the safe zone to avoid defeat.
  5. Self Doubt and Setbacks: Men do experience self-doubt, but they shrug it off, have the ability to get restarted more quickly and don’t let setbacks linger as long. Women tend to dwell and examine those doubts in excruciating detail, which is paralyzing.

I can with confidence, say that I experience ALL of these myself to some extent!

Let’s face it, we women are emotional and complicated creatures as a result of many things — estrogen, how we were raised, life experiences, society, etc. I am certainly not suggesting that we should take the place of men, because I do think we are designed to play necessary key roles, but we must be aware of when our self-doubting, self-limiting and self-defeating tendencies arise so we can call them out and press on!

Confidence — what a loaded word. It’s complicated, but it’s ours to have and keep if we want it. By practicing confidence everyday, we will crack “the confidence code” and unlock our potential and ability to experience the many prizes that await us in life.  What do we have to lose?!

 

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