Self Help

5 Ways To Cultivate Mental Agility

Mental agility is all about taking in change and finding the best course of action to move forward despite undesirable circumstances. It also means successfully overcoming difficulties so you can achieve what you wat out of life.

How do you improve your mental agility and achieve a thriving state of well-being? By balancing the five different dimensions of our WellBeing Capital®:

Physical Wellbeing: This is ensuring that you have a safe place to live, enough to eat, adequate clothes and access to transportation. Other aspects of the physical capital includes having good physical and financial health.

Emotional Wellbeing: This is more or less who YOU are and what you feel. It includes your values, skills, knowledge, experience, education, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving abilities.

Mental Wellbeing: To be mentally well is to create authentic happiness in our lives and tune into our feelings.

Social Wellbeing: This refers to the connection and relationship that we have with others. When you feel a sense of belonging, you increase your mental health.

Cultural Wellbeing: This is all about the support you get from your community, your happiness in it, your workplace culture, and your country. It means that what you are doing at work is aligned to your reason for being.

Self-care to boost your WellBeing Capital®

To build your mental agility and overall well-being, you have to make sure all of the above dimensions are functioning to an extent. This is where self-care comes into play. We must make self-care a habit so that the next time we’re faced with stress in any aspect of our WellBeing, we have enough self-regard to step back and work on what’s missing.

I used to think of self care as something that I had to deserve. That I can only allow myself to rest and recuperate when I’m tired or burnt out. But when you’re already burnt out, a weekend or a day off isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Instead, make self-care a daily habit through the following ways:

  1. Keep your mind and body in check. Listen to what your body needs; if that’s extra time to breathe or a little stretch in the morning, do it. But don’t overdo it; always remember that rest is productive too.
  2. Limit your news intake. We don’t need that much information, all we need is to be informed well enough for our peace of mind.
  3. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Please do keep connected, and as much as possible CALL. Hearing someone else’s voice, especially someone we love, can give us instant calm and we need.
  4. Get some sun. Feeling locked up isn’t the best thing for our sanity, so only if you can and only if it’s safe, open the window and bring in that vitamin D.
  5. Meditate. Simple acts of breathing, grounding, and being aware of our surroundings can make us less anxious and bring us back to what we need to address. Prayer is one very practical way we can apply mindfulness to daily life.
  6. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for anything and everything good. Starting or ending your day with a grateful mindset will only set you up to see things in a better light.

Taking good care of all aspects of your life is paramount to achieving improved mental agility. If your physical, emotional, mental, social, and cultural dimensions support one another, it will increase the likelihood that you stay healthy and face uncertainties with more resilience.  The key here is to always have that unconditional self-regard: to understand that there should be no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ in taking care of ourselves. Now more than ever, we have to put utmost value on our well-being.

How’s your well-being today? Take our FREE WellBeing Quiz! It’s a simple True or False test that can be completed in just 2 minutes. Visit here to get started. 

Self Help

How To Cope With Never-ending Bad News

Bad news and negativity on social media is almost inescapable. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year and newer, faster-spreading variants emerge, stories about surges in infections and deaths, announcements about renewed lockdowns, and posts about vaccine anxiety are dominating our newsfeeds.

Add into this mix the stressors carried over from last year (i.e. financial stress, isolation, and fear) and it’s no wonder that people are experiencing more mental health challenges than ever.

“Self-care is self-preservation.”

Kevin Quibranza, life coach

What should we do when we feel as if we can’t take it anymore? This is where self-care comes in. And while it may initially feel ludicrous to think of taking a break when there are so many problems that need to be fixed, we are actually duty-bound to take care of ourselves. “Self-care is self-preservation,” says Kevin Quibranza, life coach and MindNation People and Operations Head. “Everything in our lives — our goals, financial security, relationships with others — are dependent on our level of health, and self-care acts ensure that we stay healthy enough to achieve positive outcomes in all of them.” If we fail to take care of ourselves and get sick — whether physically or mentally — then we risk financial uncertainties, damaged relationships, and even our lives.

With this in mind, here are some things you can do to take care of your well-being when it all seems too much to bear:

Don’t forget the self-care basics. Prioritize sleep, eat mindfully, exercise, and stay in touch with loved ones. These promote not just mental health but also our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, enabling us to feel less stressed and more resilient in anxiety-ridden times like these.

Reduce social media use. While social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends as well as stay informed about the latest news, studies have shown that excessive use can fuel feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation. And if your newsfeed is becoming an obituary these days, it’s time to modify your habits so that you improve your mood. “You may not have control over the things you see on social media, but you are in control of the amount of time you expose yourself to it,” Kevin points out.

Some things you can do:

1. Use anti-distraction software. “I will only check social media for one hour each day” is easier said than done because social networks were deliberately designed to be as addictive as possible by some of the smartest people in the world. The solution — use tools that enforce discipline. Focus apps like Forest, Focus To-Do, and Pomodoro Timer can block the websites or apps that you want for an amount of time that you set, and can be a bit cumbersome to disable so you think twice about “cheating.”

2. Adjust who you are following. You don’t need to follow every news outlet or every famous journalist — limit it to just two or three so you are not bombarded with the same bad news in a short period of time. And if you have friends or relatives who regularly post fake news or propaganda that raises your hackles — that’s what the “Unfollow” function is for.

3. Institute a social media free day each week. Pick one day a week to go without your phone or social media, and it will go a long way to giving your mind the space it needs to slow down and rest.

Give yourself permission to express and feel your emotions. Apart from fear and anxiety, guilt and shame are two other emotions experienced by many during this pandemic. It is frequently felt by those who look at the infection and death tolls and wonder how they were spared, as well as by those who recovered after being infected. And while these feelings are normal, they can lead to longer-term mental health issues if left unresolved. If you are feeling survivor’s guilt, try to manage them by doing the following:

4. Practice being kind to yourself. Instead of asking “Why me?” try “Why not me?”

Meditate, breathe, journal. These mindfulness activities can provide a much-needed break from the barrage of bad news that tends to worsen your guilt.

Use compassionate self-talk. Accept that what you are feeling is part of being human.

Drop some responsibilities. Stress is caused by an imbalance in the different aspects of your life (i.e. work, relationships, “me” time) so analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. “If your body and your mind are both telling you that you need a break – listen to it. Stop what you are doing and indulge in activities that can boost your happiness or gratitude,” Kevin says.

5. Find ways to help others. Studies have shown that happiness and life satisfaction increases when we volunteer or help others,” shares Kevin. “It might seem hard to do while maintaining social distancing, but simple acts like talking to and empathizing with friends who are in need or helping your family with chores at home can really change your perspective.”

6. Talk to a mental health professional. You don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you feel pain or discomfort in your physical body, so neither should you delay talking to a psychologist or WellBeing Coach if you are feeling stressed, empty, alone, afraid, or overwhelmed. And even if you are not struggling, there’s no harm in checking-in with an expert. At the end of the day, we all benefit from knowing that someone will always be there to listen.

MindNation offers 24/7 online sessions with licensed psychologists and WellBeing Coaches. Book your session now through or email [email protected].

Self Help

8 (Other) Effective Ways Parents Can Practice Self-Care

If you’ve been taking breaks throughout your work-from-home-day, no longer need to remind your kids to be quiet when you are napping, and manage to squeeze in some exercise in-between doing household chores — congratulations! You have made self-care a part of your life and are on the right track to experiencing reduced stress, more energy, and increased resilience. 

How about trying a few other ways to destress, decompress, and reward yourself? We’ve compiled some suggestions for you: 

  1. Watch a different genre on TV. We all love our Hollywood movies and sitcoms, but how about trying out some new categories for a change? If your goal is to temporarily escape reality, Korean dramas, cooking shows, and home improvement shows will surely take you there. 

What we recommend: “Start-Up” if you are a K-drama newbie, “Nailed It,” if you want a comedic baking show (yes, there is such a thing!)  “Tiny House Nation” if you want tips on how to live simply.

  1. Engage in light reading. Reading is good for your brain but that doesn’t mean your bedside table has to be stacked with Pulitzer-Prize winning works or other serious tones. Romance novels, comic books, and other forms of light reading do not tax a brain that’s already tired from a full day and provide much-needed stress relief.  

What we recommend: Dilbert and Calvin & Hobbes comic books for humor; anything by Julia Quinn for romance; the Trese comic series for action and a fresh take on Philippine mythology.

  1. Build something. When you work with your hands to create something from scratch, you trigger your brain’s reward centers and experience pleasure, which leads to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. 

What we recommend: Lego and other construction blocks if you are a beginner and need step-by step guidance; jigsaw puzzles if you’ve had more experience; plastic model kits (i.e. Tamiya, Bandai) if you are up for a challenge. 

  1. Dress up, just because. Holiday parties may be put on hold because of the pandemic, but there’s no law against jazzing up your looks in the comfort of your home. Nothing will make you feel better faster than the sight of you in the mirror looking well-groomed and stylish. 

What we recommend: Set aside one day of the week (i.e. Fancy Fridays) where you and your partner will both swap the loungewear for dressier choices, complete with styled hair and makeup for the ladies. 

  1. Pop some bubble wrap. Odds are you’ve amassed quite a bit from all the orders that have arrived from your online shopping. Instead of putting them straight into the recycling bin, spend a few minutes popping the row of bubbles. What makes it so pleasurable is the instant gratification you receive from pressing out all the air; studies have even shown that popping bubble wrap for 60 seconds relieves as much stress as a 33-minute massage!

What we recommend: Another way bubble wrap can bring relief — cut up big sheets into the shape of your shoes and use them as shoe inserts the next time you have to go out to purchase essential items. Instant foot massage! 

  1. Cook or bake something simple. Both activities can help improve mood by providing small tasks to focus on in a manner similar to meditation. Let’s also not discount the sense of accomplishment you get when you smell or taste the end result of your kitchen experiment. If you find the prepping or cleaning to be a chore, round up the partner and kids to help out — instant family bonding time!

What we recommend: If you’re a beginner in the kitchen, start with store bought cake mixes that only need a few additional ingredients to yield the finished product (less mess to clean up too!) If you want to try your hand at cooking, we love Laura Vitale’s Youtube videos ( because the recipes are beginner-friendly but no less yummy.

  1. Keep physically close to your partner. According to Hans Delos Reyes, a MindNation wellness coach, positive physical contact with a partner can increase your mood and decrease your stress levels. 

What we recommend: If privacy is hard to come by because the kids are home ALL day, you and your partner need to get creative and even go easy on some of the household rules. Put them to bed earlier than usual, or wake them up later in the mornings (because 1-on-1 time does not only have to happen at night). If you can only spare an hour in the middle of the day, let them play with their gadgets or watch tv longer, then find other spots at home where you can have privacy.   

  1. Take care of plants. There’s a reason more people are buying plants during the pandemic. “It’s not just a trend, it is also a good way to take care of yourself,” says Hans. When you expose yourself to nature, you help the body increase melatonin, which is responsible for regulating sleep and lowering stress labels. “In addition, watching your plants to grow provides you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction,” he adds.

What we recommend: Don’t have a green thumb? Try puttering with succulents first, which are inexpensive, don’t take up a lot of space, and are low-maintenance. 

Always remember that self-care isn’t just important, it’s crucial. Practicing self-care doesn’t make you weak; it helps you stay strong and recharges you so that you can care for your family and do your work better. 

Written by Jac of MindNation

Featured Mental Health 101 Self Help Suicide Prevention

9 Things To Do When You Are Feeling Hopeless

Someone who feels hopeless believes that nothing good can happen, that a happy ending is impossible. Whether it’s because you lost your job because of the pandemic and are having difficulty finding another one, or you ended a romantic relationship and feel that you will never find love again, you can say that you’re feeling hopeless.

It’s normal to feel dejected from time to time after encountering failure. But if your hopelessness starts to make you isolate yourself from friends and loved ones, interferes with your daily routine, discourages you from trying anything new, or, worse, makes you feel that you have nothing left to live for, you may be in danger of lapsing into depression or suicidal thoughts. Below are some ways you can rise up from the hopeless feeling:

1. Always remember that nothing lasts forever — including failure.

When it feels as if nothing can go right, respond to the situation with positive and constructive actions so you can break out of the negative thoughts and things can get better. Think “Will this even matter in one year?” If the answer is “no,” then you know that the situation is not as dire as you initially thought. Distract yourself from your hopelessness by actively engaging in other areas of your life. Let time pass and resist the temptation to overreact and aggravate the problem.

2. Recall how you overcame similar struggles in the past.

When going through a challenging time, think about or list down all the occasions in your life when you overcame hurdles and rose above difficulties. Doing this will help you find renewed faith in yourself and in your ability to cope.

3. Look at the bigger picture.

Your problems are merely a small part of everything else that’s going on in your lives, so you should not let the worries, fear, and anxiety overtake your mind. And, even if every area of your life — i.e. Health, relationship, work, money — seems to be filled with problems, the fact that you are alive means there is still hope for things to turn around.

4. Practice gratitude.

Don’t get caught up with the things that are not working out in your lives and forget the good.

5. Try something new.

Many times you feel hopeless because you think you have already “tried everything” to no avail. But have you really tried everything? Maybe you only tried 10 other ways of doing something; there are lots more out there that you have yet to consider. Another option is to try a new way of thinking about the situation; let go of the mindset and behavior that has not worked for you, and do the things you don’t want to do but could be good for you.

6. Live in the present.

Hope and hopelessness are both about the future; when you practice mindfulness, then neither have any hold on you. Learn to be present in your own way, through meditation, exercise, or taking a walk in nature.

7. Ask for help.

Hopelessness is often just a reminder that you can’t do it all by yourself. Many situations that feel or truly are hopeless suddenly become doable when other people get involved. Ask your loved ones for help or a different perspective; or join an online support group.

8. Remember that success takes time (and many steps).

You won’t get six-pack abs after only two sessions at the gym; you will need to exercise for far longer than that, work with a trainer, and change your diet. The same goes for doing other difficult tasks; you will need to do things for some time before you see significant results. Don’t expect too much too soon because that will only set you up to feel dejected and disappointed.

9. Seek therapy.

This is especially important when your hopelessness is affecting your ability to work, appreciating things you’ve always appreciated, or spending time with loved ones. These are indications that your hopelessness is a sign of depression.

Remember that hopelessness is only a feeling, not your reality. It isn’t a sign that you need to give up; rather, it simply means that you need to assess your current way of doing things so you can figure out what you need to improve on and what you need to stop doing. Once you become aware of the alternatives (and there are always better options out there), you can rise from hopelessness and work on achieving your goals with renewed optimism.

We can all help prevent suicide. If you or a loved one is in distress, MindNation psychologists are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now thru

Featured Self Help

Note To Self: I Am Enough

Psychologists describe self-esteem as a person’s overall sense of worth or value. It is a measure of how much you appreciate and like yourself, including how you look and what you believe about yourself (“I am loved” vs. “I am worthless”).

Your self-esteem can affect whether you:

  • Like and value yourself as a person
  • Are able to make decisions and assert yourself
  • Recognize your strengths and positive traits about yourself
  • Feel and able to try new and difficult things
  • Show kindness towards yourself
  • Move on from past mistakes without blaming yourself unfairly
  • Take the time you need for yourself
  • Believe that you matter and are good enough
  • Believe that you deserve happiness
Self-esteem and Mental Health

Having low self-esteem isn’t a mental health problem in itself, but the two are closely linked. If many things affect your self-esteem for a prolonged period of time (such as being bullied or abused, losing your job, relationship problems, poor body image, etc.) then it might lead to mental health problems like depression or anxiety.

If you are starting to look down on yourself because of circumstances around you, here are some ways you can overcome that feeling and improve your self-esteem:

1. Practice self-compassion

Whenever you feel like you are not able to meet the expectations you have for yourself, please don’t beat yourself up. Learn to be gentle with yourself by learning self-forgiveness, and recognize that you are only human.

Read more about our blog post on practicing self-compassion here

2. Take care of your physical health.

Poor sleep and eating habits, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, and using recreational drugs — all of these can you make you look and feel bad.

3. Spend time outdoors.

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help with mental problems like anxiety and depression; if combined with physical activities like hiking or walking, it can make you feel good about what your body can do and turn the focus away from what your body should look like. Furthermore, because most outdoor activities involve groups of people, you also improve social interactions and gain a support group that you can turn to whenever you need a self-esteem boost.

However, with the extended lockdowns, going out may not be the best option right now. Hence, you can bring the outdoors to the indoors by cultivating a green space in your home.

4. Appreciate the good.

Always celebrate your successes and wins, no matter how small they are. Accept compliments graciously instead of acting self-deprecating. If anyone says something malicious or unkind, don’t focus on it even if it’s difficult to do most of the time.

5. Learn to say “NO.”

Set your limits and be firm. Frequently doing things that you don’t want to do to please other people can drain your energy and even crush your spirit.

6. Find a hobby that you enjoy.

Whether it’s baking or mountain biking, do it often to the point that you become quite good at it. When you learn something new or find ways to improve yourself, you will feel better.

7. Try volunteering.

Spend time helping out your favorite cause. Doing good for others and the community gives you a natural sense of accomplishment and boosts your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.

8. Talk to someone.

If you are going through a tough time, turn to friends and family for comfort, support, or advice. If you need the assistance of a mental health professional, there are a lot of mental health organizations online that you can consult.


Do you need someone to speak to? MindNation psychologists are WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7. Book a session now thru

Written by Jac of Mindnation

Featured Self Help

Note To Self: Knowing Myself

More often than not, we go through our lives on autopilot, with little awareness that we are brushing our teeth, putting on your shoes, or sometimes even eating. While there is nothing really wrong with being unmindful of these little actions, the danger arises when we do not pay attention to our more significant behaviors, like how we talk to others, how we deal with problems, or what we do when we are sad or mad. When these mindless actions and behaviors occur too often, they can become habits, and if the habits are bad, they can affect our mental well-being, the way we relate to others, and how we go about our daily lives. . 

Cultivating self-awareness means becoming conscious of these behaviors and habits so that we have more control over our emotional responses, especially the ones that might not be so healthy. 

Self-awareness and mental health

When you develop self-awareness, you can begin to see where your thoughts and emotions guide you and take steps to change the unfavorable ones. When you are aware of your emotions you begin to increase your emotional intelligence (EQ), which is an important factor in achieving overall success. 

Specific benefits of practicing self-awareness include:

  • It can make us more proactive in improving our behavior, leading to positive self-development 
  • It allows us to see things from the perspective of others, practice self-control, work creatively and productively, and experience pride in ourselves and our work as well as general self-esteem 
  • It leads to better decision-making 
  • It can make us better at our jobs, better communicators in the workplace, and enhance our self-confidence and overall well-being
How to become more self-aware

Here are some things you can do to achieve greater self-awareness:

1. Look at yourself objectively.

Trying to see yourself as you really are can be a very difficult process, but once you do, you can learn how to accept yourself and find ways to improve.

  • Write down what you think of yourself – Ask questions like what are you good at, and what do you need to improve? Be objective, do not compare yourself with others. What are the accomplishments or things about yourself that you are proud of? 
  • Go back to your childhood – What made you happy back then? Is it still the same now? If there are changes, what are the reasons? 
  • Talk to close friends and family members – Ask them how they feel about you. 

When you are finished with the above-mentioned exercises, you already have gained a better understanding of yourself.

2. Practice mindfulness through meditation.

Meditation helps you manage your thoughts and feelings calmly, without judgement. 

3. Perform daily self-reflection. 

Set aside at least 15 minutes of each day to go through the day’s events, paying closer attention to what you felt and thought during those certain moments, both good and bad. Doing this will help you become more in tune with your thoughts and put yourself on a path to greater self-awareness.

4. Listen.

Try to be a better listener for friends, family, and colleagues. This means being fully present and paying attention to their words, emotions, and even body language, without making judgments or drifting off. When you lend an ear to others, you’ll also become a better listener to your own inner voice.

5. Use fun tools for self-discovery.

Taking tests like the Myers-Briggs Type (MBTI) Indicator and the Predictive Index can help you understand what traits and characteristics you have so that you can understand yourself better.

6. Ask help from those close to you.

The thing with bad habits is sometimes you are not aware that you are doing it. So if there is a habit or behavior that you want to change, tell your frequent companions to call you out if you are doing it. For example, if you would like to stop cursing whenever you are feeling frustrated, ask your friend to discreetly let you know when it is happening, so you can stop.

Remember, increasing self-awareness does take time. It can take years and may require input from many people around you. Always try to respond to reflections and feedback with an open mind, so that you can find ways to utilize your strengths, feelings, emotions, and improve on your bad habits and weaknesses. 

Written by Jac of Mindnation

Featured Self Help

Note To Self: Committing To Self-Care

There is more to self-care than just sleeping in during the weekends or coloring your hair in an attractive shade. Real self-care is the consistent practice of caring for not only your physical needs, but also your emotional, and psychological well-being; when you take care of all these aspects, you are physically healthy, more confident, more productive at work, and can better manage life’s stressors more effectively.

Unfortunately, today’s society values productivity over taking rest; any attempt to slow down, seek assistance, or do anything for one’s self is regarded as a luxury or, worse, as being selfish. But the busier you are, the more self-care should be a priority; otherwise you will end up feeling overwhelmed, tired, and stressed.

The Self-Care Plan

A Self-Care Plan is a written guide, created by yourself which is filled with your favorite self-care activities and important reminders. It aims to help you balance your mental, physical, and emotional needs and bring you back “home” whenever you are feeling lost and overwhelmed.

Other benefits of a Self-Care Plan include:

  • It’s a preventive measure. Make the self-care plan when you are NOT stressed, anxious, or angry, so that you are calm enough to be able to properly reflect on what you may need or have access to when you are going through a tough time. When the said time comes, at least you already have an idea of how you can cope or feel better.
  • From a mindfulness point of view, having a self-care plan helps you respond instead of react to the situation at hand. When you have a plan in place, you’ll feel that events are controlled and less chaotic.
  • Having a plan helps you establish routine, so you don’t wind up feeling isolated,unsupported, or unloved.

How to Create a Self-Care Plan

Step 1: List

List the different parts of your life that you need to show care. For example — Work, Physical Fitness, Emotional Life, Spiritual Life, etc.

Step 2: Categorize

For each of these categories, write down the activities, strategies, or coping mechanisms that you feel will help you manage stress better or contribute to your overall well-being.

For example:
For self-care in the workplace
  • Engage in regular supervision or consulting with a more experienced colleague.
  • Set up or join a peer-support group.
  • Set up stricter boundaries between yourself and clients/customers.
  • Attend professional development programs.
For self-care for the body
  • Sleep and wake up by a certain time
  • Eat more of a certain food group, less of another
  • Take a one-hour lunch break, which includes time for a walk after eating
  • Exercise regularly
For emotional or psychological self-care
  • Keep a journal
  • Engage in a hobby
  • Turn off your email or work phone by a certain time at night and/or weekends
  • Talk to your friends/family/mental health professional when you are going through a hard time
For spiritual self-care
  • Meditate
  • Go for walks, hikes, trips to the beach, or anything that puts you closer to nature
For relationship self-care
  • Aim to arrive at work and leave at a certain time every day
  • Prioritize close relationships in your life i.e. with partners, family, and children
  • Attend the special events of your family and friend
Step 3: Share Your Self-Care Plan

When you share this plan with your closest friends and loved ones, they can help you in giving reminders (i.e. “Did you remember to meditate today?”) as well as hold you accountable (i.e. “You’re extra irritable yesterday because you stayed up all night watching Netflix instead of going to bed early.”)

Step 4: Remind

Keep your plan in a place where you can see it every day. Doing so will help you commit to the strategies you listed.

Step 5: Practice the activities regularly.

Just like an athlete doesn’t become fit by merely ‘thinking’ about fitness, you also can’t expect to perform effectively without putting into practice all your plans for your well-being.

Step 6: Assess your plans regularly.

Remember that your Self-Care Plan is not written in stone; you are free to make changes or adjustments depending on your life circumstances. Learn to find what works for you.

A Self-Care Plan can help you enhance your health and well-being, manage your stress, and maintain good relationships with others. Learn to identify activities and practices that support your well-being and help you cultivate self-love.

Written by Jac of Mindnation

Featured Self Help

Note To Self: Believing in Myself is Key

When you come across a challenging situation, how do you react?

Do you feel confident that you can eventually figure out a way to accomplish it?

Or do you feel intimidated and want to throw in the towel without even trying?

Your answer lies in how much self-efficacy you possess.

Self-efficacy is defined as a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. It may be a general kind (i.e. Your overall faith in yourself) or be more specific (i.e. Academic, parenting, or sports).

Self-efficacy is related to but NOT the same as the following concepts:

Self-efficacy and self-esteem.

Self-esteem is defined as a general or overall feeling of one’s worth or value. It is focused more on “being” (i.e. the feeling that you are perfectly acceptable as you are), while self-efficacy is more focused on “doing” (i.e. the feeling that you are up for a challenge).

Having high self-worth can definitely improve your sense of self-efficacy, while high self-efficacy can contribute to your overall value or worth.

Self-efficacy and self-regulation.

Self-regulation involves controlling your behavior, emotions, and thoughts on the pursuit of long-term goals. In short, it is a strategy for achieving your goals, while self-efficacy is the belief that you can accomplish those goals.

Self-efficacy and motivation

The former is based on your belief in your capacity to achieve something, while the latter is your desire to achieve it. Those with high self-efficacy often have high motivation and vice versa, though it is not always the case.

Self-efficacy and resilience.

Resilience is our capability to recover quickly from difficulties. People with a high level of efficacy are more likely to try again after encountering failure, thereby increasing their resilience.

Self-efficacy and confidence

In his book “Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control” Canadian-American psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts on self-efficacy Albert Bandura defines “confidence” as “a non-descript term that refers to strength of belief but does not necessarily specify what the certainty is about.” On the other hand, self-efficacy is more specific — it is the certainty that one can deal with any situation handed to them. Someone who is highly confident in his abilities will be more likely to succeed, thereby providing him with experiences to develop his self-efficacy. This high self-efficacy, in turn, gives him more confidence in himself.

Self-efficacy and mental health

According to Dr. Bandura, “a person’s self-efficacy influences what coping behavior he will utilize when he encounters stress and challenges, along with determining how much effort will be expended to reach one’s goals and for how long those goals will be pursued.” He adds that people with a strong sense of self-efficacy remain optimistic and confident in their abilities even when things become difficult. They treat problems as challenges rather than threats, and if they fail, they redouble their efforts and look for new ways to succeed. They also tend to be more interested in the tasks they pursue.

On the other hand, Dr. Bandura says that those who are low in self-efficacy tend to avoid difficult tasks and set goals, and have low levels of commitment to the ones they do make. When setbacks happen, they tend to give up quickly. Stressful situations become hard to deal with and they are more likely to experience feelings of failure and despondency.

How to develop self-efficacy

You can improve your sense of self-efficacy by learning how to minimize stress and elevate your mood when faced with challenging tasks. Below are some ways:

Observe others.

According to Dr. Bandura, vicarious experiences obtained through peer modelling is an important way to establish and strengthen self-efficacy. Keep company with people who have high self-efficacy so that when you see them putting in effort and succeeding, you increase your belief in your own ability to succeed as well.

Seek positive affirmations.

Hearing constructive criticism or positive feedback from others can boost your confidence in your abilities and help improve your sense of self-efficacy. In this regard, avoid asking feedback from people who you know are more likely to have a negative or critical view of your performance.

Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions.

Do you find yourself getting stressed out or nervous before a challenging event?

Do negative thoughts enter your mind when you struggle to accomplish something?

If yes, you might feel less sure of your ability to cope with the task at hand. Look for ways to ease your stress levels so that you feel more confident; also, replace negative thoughts with positive self-talk to promote self-belief

Because life is full of stressful moments and challenges, having a high level of self-efficacy can help you deal with these difficulties more effectively. Your belief in your abilities can influence your motivations, the amount of effort you will put into accomplishing your goals, and your personal sense of well-being.

Written by Jacq of Mindnation