Podcast of the blog
What is it?
Self-efficacy is the belief that we have the ability to meet the challenges ahead of us and complete tasks successfully.
Our brains thrive on certainty and control, but we are living in times of utmost uncertainty, where control is largely unobtainable, it goes without saying then that, this will have a huge impact on our mental health. Panic, anxiety, mood disturbances, substance abuse, suicide rates have been on the rise and are likely to worsen due to the pandemic. At such times, feeling like we are capable of rising to the challenge, i.e. feelings of self-efficacy has been shown to have a protective value against mental health adversities, and to contribute to adaptive coping.
So if self-efficacy plays such an important role in mental health, how do we improve it? Here’s how:
1. Challenge accepted! – Challenge yourself in small ways; engage in mildly challenging but realistically achievable activities. Basically, find activities that give you a sense of accomplishment, and then give yourself small goals with regards to that activity, everyday: For example: if cooking, makes you feel accomplished, try a new recipe, if writing makes you feel a sense of accomplishment, then write a paragraph or a few sentences on an interesting topic, and so on. A quick Google search with search query as- mastery activities list will fetch more activities to try.
2. Collaborate: Do meaningful activities with someone who enjoys similar activities, this may lead to feelings of cooperation, which give rise to a sense of self-efficacy.
3. Just keep swimming: Don’t give up on things if they seem too difficult, instead troubleshoot, check if you’ve given yourself unrealistic goals, see if you’re doing activities that do not give you a sense of purpose, or which don’t seem meaningful to you, then make changes accordingly. If you have done all of the above and still don’t feel a sense of accomplishment, then try problem-solving, first define the problem clearly, then define what you want precisely, then brainstorm ideas about how to get what you want, then define some obstacles in the path, then brainstorm ideas to overcome the obstacles, enlist help from family or friends if necessary. Then carry out the solution, if it doesn’t work start over from step 2 of problem-solving.