Hope and Self Efficacy – Gina

Man lifting hands to sunsetBelieving you can create change in your life is the foundation for successfully making the change. Self efficacy is the sense that you can make change and thus hope and self-efficacy are intimately connected.

Often people with bipolar or depression are overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness. They feel stuck and unable to manage their moods.

And yet a great deal of research shows that the act of embracing hope and believing you have the power to create change in your life predicts better mental and physical health outcomes.

Albert Bandura is the psychologist who developed the mental health field’s understanding of self-efficacy. He noted that believing in your capability to follow through on a plan of action predicts both what you do, how you act, and what the outcome is.

Confidence provides the motivation to act effectively. If you believe that your self care behavior – going to the gym, getting sunlight, creating a regular sleep routine – will change your mood, and you believe that you can do these things, you are more likely to succeed.

BP Hope and Harmony describes this as the “confidence game” and the “power of self-trust.”

“Belief that things can change for the better is called hope, and it’s crucial to living well with bipolar disorder. So is belief that you can influence things in your life for the better. In psychological circles, that’s called self-efficacy. You and I might call it self-confidence or self-trust. Researchers have studied the role of self-efficacy in managing mood disorders and medical conditions like diabetes. The bottom line: Good things come from strengthening your sense that you can do what you need to do to.”

How can you work to develop an increased sense of self-trust, self-efficacy, confidence and hope? See the tips below…

Start Small

Having the experience of completing a task helps you build confidence to try a bigger task. Start out small with an easy task . We like the idea of coming up with something that takes only a few minutes a day. If you want to go to the gym and do great workouts, how can you move towards that goal? You might start by adding a short physical activity every day that doesn’t require you to drive fifteen minutes, change clothes, spend an hour working out, change clothes again and drive back… How about adding several flights of stairs to your daily routine… walk rather than taking the elevator.

Log Past Successes

Learn from past experiences of success. What did it take to succeed? What barriers did you overcome, and how did you overcome them?  This increases self-efficacy and creates momentum for future success. Try journaling about past successes or keeping a log on your phone or computer to review on a regular basis. We do a remarkable job reviewing our mistakes but often dismiss our successes.

Find A Role Model

Witnessing someone else accomplish a task can reinforce the belief that that action can lead to success. This may be why people find value in support groups, and also why some support groups are ineffective. A support group of people who talk about how to achieve success in a meaningful way can be life changing… A support group of people who complain about failures can be discouraging.

Surround Yourself with Encouragement and Social Support

Having others around you who provide you with encouragement and verbal reassurance of your ability to perform a task helps reinforce self-efficacy. Constructive feedback can assist you in overcoming self-doubt and maintaining confidence.

And remember, as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning”.


For More Information

Self-Esteem: A Key Aspect of Mental Health

Selective Attention


  1. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.
  2. Hope & Harmony Headlines: Managing Your Moods—The Power of Self-Trust
    March 16, 2017 • Volume 10, Issue 11.