Stand­ing Up For Be­liefs Can Make You Feel Con­fi­dent

Fiji Sun - - Spectrum - Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

How­ever, stand­ing up for your be­liefs, ex­press­ing your opin­ions and demon­strat­ing your core val­ues can be a pos­i­tive psy­cho­log­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence and make you feel con­fi­dent about your­self, a study re­veals.

Go­ing with the flow might ap­pear eas­ier when con­fronted with unan­i­mous dis­agree­ments. How­ever, stand­ing up for your be­liefs, ex­press­ing your opin­ions and demon­strat­ing your core val­ues can be a pos­i­tive psy­cho­log­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence and make you feel con­fi­dent about your­self, a study re­veals. The find­ings showed that when try­ing to reach a goal, eval­u­at­ing high re­sources and low de­mands leads to a mostly pos­i­tive, in­vig­o­rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence called a chal­lenge, which cor­re­sponds with feel­ing con­fi­dent. Low re­sources and high de­mands lead to a much less con­fi­dent state called a threat, which may pro­duce feel­ings of anx­i­ety. There can be a clear di­ver­gence be­tween what peo­ple do and say and how they feel, the study said. “Peo­ple can show con­form­ity, but go­ing along with the group doesn’t mean they are go­ing along hap­pily,” said Mark Seery, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Buf­falo, in New York, US.

“The ex­ter­nal be­haviour isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a good in­di­ca­tion of their in­ter­nal ex­pe­ri­ence,” Seery added.

To pro­vide in­sights into what it’s like be­ing alone against the group, the team tapped into the ex­pe­ri­ence of par­tic­i­pants us­ing psy­chophys­i­o­log­i­cal mea­sures, and by as­sess­ing their car­dio­vas­cu­lar re­sponses. The team, thus, got a sense of how peo­ple are eval­u­at­ing per­sonal re­sources ver­sus the de­mands of the sit­u­a­tion while in the act of po­ten­tially con­form­ing. The re­searchers as­signed par­tic­i­pants into one of four ex­per­i­men­tal con­di­tions, each with a goal to ei­ther fit in with a group’s po­lit­i­cal opin­ion or as­sert their in­di­vid­u­al­ity, and with a group that ei­ther agreed or dis­agreed with par­tic­i­pants’ opin­ion on the is­sue. The re­sults showed that when par­tic­i­pants’ goal was to fit in with a group of peo­ple who dis­agreed with them, their car­dio­vas­cu­lar re­sponses were con­sis­tent with a psy­cho­log­i­cal threat state. In con­trast, when the goal was to be an in­di­vid­ual among a group of peo­ple who dis­agreed with them, their car­dio­vas­cu­lar re­sponses were con­sis­tent with chal­lenge. “You may have to work to reach a goal, but when you ex­pe­ri­ence a chal­lenge, it is more like feel­ing in­vig­o­rated than over­whelmed. It is con­sis­tent with see­ing some­thing to gain rather than fo­cus­ing on what can be lost,” Seery noted.

The study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Psy­chophys­i­ol­ogy, has in­ter­est­ing im­pli­ca­tions, es­pe­cially in an elec­tion year, when some­one can be sur­rounded by fam­ily mem­bers, co­work­ers or even neigh­bour­hood lawn signs that run con­trary to one’s per­sonal opin­ions. “It could eas­ily be over­whelm­ing to face a group on the other side of an is­sue or can­di­date, but the study sug­gests that re­mind­ing your­self of want­ing to be an in­di­vid­ual can make it a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence, chal­leng­ing in­stead of threat­en­ing, in­vig­o­rat­ing in­stead of over­whelm­ing,” Seery con­cluded.

Photo: In­dian Ex­press

Re­mind­ing your­self of want­ing to be an in­di­vid­ual can make any ex­pe­ri­ence in­vig­o­rat­ing in­stead of over­whelm­ing.

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