TO BE A GREAT CHAMPION YOU MUST BELIEVE YOU ARE THE BEST. IF YOU'RE NOT, PRETEND YOU ARE.
Fake Smiles and Real Happiness
According to research, faking a smile can actually decrease negative feelings, increase positive feelings, and can make you feel happier. Just by pretending to be happy, and making the corresponding facial cues, our minds start to believe that we're happy. Just as thinking of a sour lemon can cause our mouths to water, forcing a smile can make our minds feel happier. So our bodies really can impact our minds, which has interesting implications for confidence.
Implications for Confidence
Take two minutes to yourself before your stressful situation and stand like a superhero (see left). Puff out your chest, stand tall, put your hands on your hips, and breath deeply. Pay attention to how you're feeling, and if you notice yourself start to lose the pose, correct it. Stand like this for a few minutes, thinking positive, confident thoughts. You can even tell yourself out loud, "I am confident, I am strong, I can do this," or something along those lines. Think confident thoughts (this is called "self-talk", which I'll talk more about this in a later post).
For a fun exercise, here's another trick you can try that I love doing. In a late-game (or run, or exercise) situation, when your body is starting to feel tired, try to convince yourself that you aren't. Slow your breathing. Stand up straight instead of hunching over. Smile like you're enjoying it. You'll notice that on top of feeling less tired, physically, it can also affect your opponent. When he's sucking air, struggling to breath, and he sees you confident and ready to go another round, you'll have the upper hand.