This Wednesday, we were delighted to have QTCinderella, a Twitch streamer known for streaming a variety of games, come on the HealthyGamer stream. Dr. K and QTCinderella discussed confidence, anxiety, and how success and failure affect both of those.
Uncertainty and Confidence
QTCinderella shared with Dr. K that she felt she was developing OCD-like behaviors. She gets trapped in anxious thought-loops, where she thinks that she needs to control details like how much creamer she puts into her morning coffee. She also mentioned that she is perfectionistic, and anxiety affects her strongly.
Dr. K explained that this is not OCD; it is a lack of confidence. To understand why under-confident people need to control their environment, we need to understand what a lack of confidence does to someone.
Confidence is a person’s ability to grapple with uncertainty and remain assured that they are competent enough to have a decent chance of coming out on top. A confident person can face situations involving a significant likelihood of failure and remain comfortable with any outcome. They have an understanding that their value as a person does not depend on the result of their actions.
On the other hand, a person who lacks confidence will be affected by uncertainty whenever they face it. They lack the belief that they can engage and survive uncertainty. So, the only way they can cope is if they find a way to exert some amount of control over the situation. In QTCinderella’s case, she tried to calm her anxiety by trying to control all the little variables she could, such as the amount of creamer in her coffee.
The Relationship between Confidence and Anxiety
QTCinderella expressed that some comments in her chat strongly affected her. One example she gave was that people in her chat sometimes said that she was balding, and as a result, she felt the need to put on a hat. The hat gave her a sense of control over the situation. Her mind told her that if she puts on a hat, those comments won’t show up anymore.
That is a manifestation of her anxiety. The fascinating thing is that trying to control the triggers of anxiety does not make it go away. Anxiety is like a beast that feeds on the need for control. It demands control when you experience an event that makes you feel anxious. It is like a beast that you need to feed so that it calms down. However, what happens to something when you keep feeding it over time? It grows.
Every time we engage in behaviors that calm our anxiety, that beast grows. At the same time, our self-confidence decreases because instead of facing our fears, we start to rely on calming it down. We start becoming less confident and start relying more on these coping mechanisms.
The solution to this is to starve the beast of anxiety until it withers away. However, that does not mean always putting yourself in anxiety-inducing situations without a way to cope. It means that when you find yourself in these situations, you have two choices: give in to the need to appease your anxiety, or resist the urge to do so. In those situations, choose one of those two choices, but do so with full awareness. At that moment, understand why you made the choice that you did, and occasionally, choose to starve the beast of anxiety a bit.
We discussed anxiety with Austin in another interview, click here to check it out!
Success Does Not Build Confidence
Dr. K asked QTCinderella if having a great stream increases her confidence. She said that they do not help, even though she thought that having a successful stream would increase her self-confidence.
High self-confidence does not come from success. In fact, if you experience too much success, you are likely to experience Imposter Syndrome. You won’t feel like you deserve your victories, and will attribute it to luck. That is because your internal sense of worth will not catch up quickly to the amount of the value the external world will place on you.
Confidence develops when you survive failure. You become a tiny bit more confident every time you fail, and you realize that you survived it, and that life will go on. Increasing your confidence requires a change in mindset and perception. It requires the understanding that failure is not the end. The best way to boost confidence is to open yourself up to situations where failure is a real outcome. Confidence comes from getting out of your comfort zone and taking on reasonably tough challenges and surviving failure.
Meditation: Ujjayi Pranayama
Dr. K and QTCinderella finished the interview with Ujjayi Pranayama, a breathing technique in which you take deep breaths and then slowly exhale while trying to make the sound of the breath louder with your throat. It is an intense form of breathing, and it works by redirecting your attention from your thoughts to your breath.
For example, Dr. K asked Blair to think about taking off her hat, which made her feel uncomfortable. He asked her to sit with that feeling and notice how it felt. Then, he asked her to do some Ujjayi breathing, which allowed her to bring her attention from her thought loop of anxiety to her breath. We can use this practice to become aware of our thoughts and emotions without being overwhelmed by them. It allows us to create some distance between our thoughts and ourselves, which prevents us from being overwhelmed.
Check out the full interview here!