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5 Unexpected Dangers of Self-Doubt

5 Unexpected Dangers of Self-Doubt

As one of the greatest obstacles that hinders humans from fulfilling their dreams, self-doubt is what almost all of us struggle with at some point in our lives. Dozens of experts have written widely on how to overcome this scourge, and philosophers have thousands of quotes on self-doubt attributed to their names. This shows the extent to which self-doubt has become a pervasive issue for humans.

If you’re battling with that persistent voice that keeps telling you how things could go wrong, how you may not have worked it out right, then you’re dealing with self-doubt. Self-doubt can be dangerous to your overall wellness; it is not only physiologically harmful but also harmful in terms of living productively and with emotional and spiritual wellness.

The following are some of the dangers of self-doubt you should know about. I believe if you discover how self-doubt contributes to most of the productivity-related issues we face at work and in life, finding the voice to say NO to it won’t be as hard.

Self Doubt Weakens Your Self Will

Self will is still one of the strongest gift we inherited from God.

Being able to determine that we want or do not want something and being able to go ahead with our decision is not an ability all creatures enjoy. Where self-doubt becomes really dangerous to your self will is when it makes you seek encouragement or an excuse for why you can’t still move forward or for why you’re not able to accomplish a goal.

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The problem with seeking encouragement is it makes you lose your self-esteem. Most of the bravest and most successful people today needed no one to encourage them, in fact most had no one to do so. Giving excuses on the other hand makes you embrace failure, which ultimately crushes your self will.

If you’re looking for a reason to kill that self-doubt, think of how it could damage your self will.

Self-Doubt Breeds Procrastination

Could self-doubt really be the reason the majority of people procrastinate?

Procrastination may seem harmless at first, but when self-doubt begins to creep in and you’re consistently considering starting that first paragraph later, then you’ll begin a long cycle of procrastination that will prevent you from getting anything done.

Hesitation is one of the grandchildren of self-doubt. When people are hesitant about doing something, they procrastinate until they miss out on that opportunity and find an excuse to justify themselves.

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Opens you up to regrets and self pity

When you fail at something, it’s natural to feel emotional about it. The emotional feelings often associated with failure include fear, disappointment, regret, pain and anger. However, many have mastered how to turn these emotions into their strengths and it helps them to move forward.

Self pity and regret will do the opposite.

By giving room for self-doubt, you’ll only allow the two least helpful emotions that follow failure to take control. Regret will make you wish you hadn’t started. Self pity will prevent you from moving ahead.

To prevent self-doubt from keeping your stagnant, fight it and prevent it from breeding other low emotions such as regret and self-pity.

Self-Doubt Kills Personal Growth

Self-doubt prevents us from experiencing personal growth.

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We often experience our greatest moment of personal growth and fulfillment when we give ourselves the freedom to pursue that which we desire without the fear of failure or worries over what other people might think about us.

When you begin to doubt your ability to achieve your dreams and fulfill your desires, you’re consciously preventing yourself from experiencing growth.

Hinders Creativity

Creativity is one of the greatest natural resource tools we humans can always tap into. It’s what helps us to create the most precious things we admire and work hard to achieve our dreams. It’s what helps us to design a way out of unfavorable situations.

But self-doubt will effectively shut down our ability to think creatively.

Self-doubt makes you question the rationality behind your ideas and prevents you from being bold enough to show your most creative ideas. At its worst, it makes you totally unable to see a way forward in tricky situations.

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Conclusion

Doubt is a part of being human. This is a normal experience that we’ll face as we navigate through the several stages of our lives, but it should not be given the power to determine our success. By recognizing the dangers of self-doubt, you can fight its ill-effects more easily.

Are you battling with self-doubt? Will knowing about the dangers of self-doubt make it easier for you to overcome these challenges? If you have any personal experiences with self-doubt, or ideas about dealing with self-doubt, we’d love you to share in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Majo Gordillo via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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