Interesting new studies show that repeatedly affirming positive statements might not have the beneficial effect, which is commonly believed to be the case.
The findings of the research are to be published in the Psychological Science magazine and they will reject the ideas of certain advocates of self belief such as American celebrity chat show host Oprah Winfrey and Emile Coue, a late 19th century French psychologist.
Participants in the study were selected based on scores achieved on the well known Rosenberg Scale which shows self esteem levels; questions on the test include rating oneself in certain ways.
The people with the lowest and highest score were chosen to take part by John Lee and other members of this team. This covered the areas that researchers were looking for, namely those with the highest level of self esteem and at the other end of the scale, individuals expressing low self esteem.
After a series of controlled experiments, involving the writing down of thoughts or reinforcing positive personal statements the findings were quite surprising.
Basically subjects with a recognized low level of self esteem actually felt even more negative than they did before. There was a slight increase for those who already felt pretty good about themselves anyway, but not that significant.
So it would seem that encouraging self belief in people is not the answer we are popularly led to think. Perhaps the answer lies in the interaction with others rather than concentrating our own good thoughts.