Instant Confidence: The Power to Go for Anything You Want by Paul McKenna PH.D. (2016)
DEVELOPING THE CONFIDENCE HABIT
The 5-Minute Daily Confidence Workout
Conditioning Yourself for Success
A number of years ago, I turned on the TV to watch a program on the BBC called How to Be Happy. The idea behind the show was that Dr. Robert Holden (www.robertholden.org), often referred to as “the happiness psychologist,” would take three clinically depressed people and see if he could make them happier over a relatively short period of time.
“Everything is practice.”
Each of the participants in the show had undergone a university study to explore the amount of activity they were currently experiencing in the left prefrontal lobe of their brain, a reliable indicator of exactly how much happiness they were experiencing in their daily lives. Over the course of the next few months, the scientists would then be able to accurately measure if these people became tangibly happier.
When I saw the deadpan expressions on the people who had been chosen, I leaned forwards towards the screen and thought to myself, “I can’t wait to see him make these miserable people happy.” On the TV show Dr. Holden simply got them to do three things:
1. GET PHYSICAL EXERCISE
It has been conclusively proven that physical exercise is a powerful natural antidote to depression. It does this by using up the adrenaline and other chemicals released into our bloodstream by stress and by relieving the tension in our muscles. In addition, regular physical exercise releases the body’s natural opiates, giving you a warm, comfortable, relaxed feeling for hours afterwards. Over time, these positive feelings become the new default setting for how wonderful your body can feel.
2. LAUGH FOR 20 MINUTES EVERY DAY
Laughter, even if initially it is forced and artificial, has been proven to lift our spirits and improve our overall mood and well-being. As with physical exercise, it produces endorphins to make the body feel good. Even just smiling releases serotonin (a happy neurotransmitter) into the bloodstream and acts as a powerful anti-depressant.
3. FORCE THEMSELVES TO HAVE POSITIVE THOUGHTS
Each of the participants in the study placed colored stickers all around their home and work environment. Every time they saw one, they had to think of something that made them feel good. This strengthened the neural pathways in their brains associated with pleasure and reinforced the happy chemicals in their bodies.
Within the first month, each of these new behaviors had become automatic and habitual. At the end of the study, the participants returned to the university to once again have their brain activity measured. The results were so astounding that one of the scientists demanded to have the equipment checked.
All three participants had changed from being clinically measured as “depressive” to being measured as “extreme optimists”—they had moved from one end of the scale to the other!
They had literally rewired their neurology to become happier. When they spoke about their experiences towards the end of the show, it was obvious their personalities had changed for the better. They not only seemed happier, they looked younger.
Since that time, Robert and I have worked together on several occasions. Recently he said to me that using the mind-programming techniques I have shared with you so far in this book, the dramatic changes from his program could have happened even faster.
I have incorporated the same elements of simple daily action and positive reinforcement into this program. As you practice the techniques in this book and use the hypnotic trance, you too will change yourself so you are hardwired to respond to every situation with more confidence and motivation than ever before.
It’s amazing that taking just a few minutes each day can produce such a profound, lasting change in your life.
The 5-Minute Daily Confidence Workout
The golden rule throughout this book is “what you practice, you become.” And there are only four things you need to practice to become a naturally confident person.
1. Talk to yourself in a confident way
2. Make big, bold positive pictures in your mind
3. Use your body as if you were already confident
4. Take at least one risk every single day
The more you practice doing these four things, the more naturally confident you will become. Soon, you will find yourself automatically responding to new situations with states of confidence instead of fear, with self-belief instead of doubt.
I have developed this 5-minute Daily Confidence Workout to assist you in easily developing the confidence habit. Used in conjunction with the hypnotic trance, it will transform your entire life. All you need is a bit of a paper to write on, a mirror and 5 of the 1,440 minutes we are given to play with each and every day.
Minute One: Success Highlight Films
Take a minute to run through the Success Highlight Film exercise you first practiced in Chapter 5. You can use the exercise to think about any success you have experienced in the past or look forward to experiencing in the future. Remember to juice up your memories by using bright colors and big, bold, moving images!
Minute Two: The Mirror
1. Stand in front of a mirror and close your eyes.
2. Think about someone who loves you and imagine viewing yourself through their eyes.
3. When you are ready, open your eyes and look into the mirror. Allow yourself to really see yourself through the eyes of someone who totally loves you.
Minute Three: Compliment Yourself
Still looking in the mirror, use your confident internal voice to compliment yourself over and over again for a full minute. If you find this difficult, it is even more important for you. Remember, you are changing your energy so that you will attract more of what you want into your life.
Minute Four: Push the Confidence Switch
1. Remember a time when you felt really, really confident. Fully return to it now—see what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel how good you felt. (If you can’t remember a time, imagine how much better your life would be if you were totally confident—if you had all the power, strength, and self-belief you could ever need!)
2. As you keep going through this memory, make the colors brighter and richer, the sounds louder, and the feelings stronger.
3. As you feel these good feelings, squeeze your thumb and middle finger of either hand together.
4. Still holding your thumb and finger together, think about a situation coming up in the next 24 hours during which you want to feel more confident. Imagine things going perfectly, going exactly the way you want them to go. See what you’ll see, hear what you’ll hear, and feel how good it feels!
Minute Five: Confidence in Action
1. Take a minute to write down any inspired actions that came up for you as you went through this workout.
2. Choose at least one of them that feels like a little bit of a risk to take in the next 24 hours!
Each time you take yourself through the 5-minute Daily Confidence Workout, your self-belief and sense of inner comfort will increase. Unlike working out at a gym, there is no recovery time needed between workouts. The more you do each exercise, the faster your confidence will grow!
If you want a slightly different workout, play the Daily Confidence Workout video and follow the instructions in it.