How to practice mindfulness and how self-efficacy affects you

Mindfulness and self-efficacy are big parts of your mental wellbeing and the strength of your mental health.

These two things go hand in hand.

Mindfulness is all about purposefully paying attention to the experiences you are having and how you feel about them. Essentially, it’s about noticing how you react to things.

Practicing mindfulness allows you to pay attention to and know your mind and body. This helps you to figure out when you need to adjust or take a break because being mindful helps you notice the things that negatively affect your mental wellness. You can take this information and do what you can to lessen that negative affect on you.

Self-efficacy affects your behaviours, how you think and feel, and how you motivate yourself. Your perceived self-efficacy is how strongly you believe in your abilities. This affects how you react to situations and how you address them.

Both of these things are a part of how you think and how you think about things has a huge impact on how you feel.

Being able to notice those things and address them is a big part of improving your mental health.

It might seem obvious but often it is harder to do than one might think. But studies support how being mindful improves self-esteem and self-efficacy while reducing anxiety.

Four major sources of self-efficacy that are noted in one study by Bandura et al. are:

  1. Mastery Experiences

    • These are the most effective ways to develop strong self-efficacy

    • Experiencing success allows us to perceive ourselves as accomplished and reinforce a sense of confidence

  2. Social modeling

    • This involves looking to people you view as similar to yourself

    • When looking at these people succeeding, it raises your own beliefs that you are capable of doing similar things - and succeeding too

  3. Social persuasion

    • This involves being persuaded by the people around you that you do have what it takes to succeed

      - Being verbally told helps you become more confident that you can be successful in something 

      - The right verbal boost can help you develop skills which also helps you build a stronger sense of self-efficacy but this can also work in the opposite way and have a negative effect

  4. Physiological responses

    • The intensity to which you feel an emotional reaction influences your perception of your ability to accomplish something

    • For example, if you have a highly negative emotional reaction it will be much harder to view yourself as having the capabilities to be successful. But if you have a highly positive emotional reaction, you would likely be more confident in your abilities in the future

When you have a strong sense of self-efficacy you are more easily able to recover from failures and be more confident in your ability to succeed.

But if your self-efficacy is weak, you might dwell on your shortcomings which often can lead to negative outcomes in your situation.

This doesn’t mean that people with high self-efficacy always succeed - but it does mean that they are able to endure setbacks and move forward confidently.

Together, mindfulness and self-efficacy can help you better understand how your mind works and how you can make adjustments to change any negative emotions that could be affecting you.

Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.
— Buddha

Sources used where you can learn more about mindfulness and self-efficacy:

Ingrid Dundas, Torbjørn Thorsheim, Aslak Hjeltnes, Per Einar Binder. J College Stud Psychother. 2016 Apr 2; 30(2): 114–131.  Published online 2016 Apr 13. doi: 10.1080/87568225.2016.1140988 Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Academic Evaluation Anxiety: A Naturalistic Longitudinal Study

Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press. (Reprinted in H. Friedman [Ed.], Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998).(https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Bandura/Bandura1994EHB.pdf)