What does it mean to believe? While there is a lot of discussion on belief and different books tackle it differently, like The Secret and Mindset look at belief from two distinct standpoints. It’s no secret that whatever belief truly is, it has a major impact on an individual.
Since belief plays such a major role in an individual’s life, psychologists have used it in various ways to test for different processes – from willpower to academic achievement (as we will see) and continue to do so because while we don’t know exactly how to get it, we know enough to know that we need it to do well. In this particular study, psychologists looked at how people behaved or reacted when they thought they could change. While change is no easy task, it is an important task and the fist step to changing is understanding if an individual believes he or she can change.
This study was done with high schoolers at a time of extreme stress – the transition from middle school to high school.
What they did
They conducted three studies. In the first study students completed two surveys. At the beginning of the school year, students took a survey regarding their implicit beliefs in personality change, their stress, and physical health. Towards the end of the year, the students took another survey regarding their stress and health.
The second study was a longitudinal study that looked at the impact of holding an implicit belief that people can’t change. The procedure was similar to Study 1.
In Study 3, the scientists provided an intervention to the students to change or alter their beliefs about the nature of belief.
What they found
They found that students who believed in the idea that people could change, that they could change, fared better in terms of grades, social stresses and physical health than those students who didn’t share this belief.
What this means for us
The implication of this study is mind-boggling! It basically means that to do well, to feel good, to feel happy, one must have a belief system they can turn to. Believing in oneself is an abstract concept but believing that one can change or is capable of change does wonders for teenagers’ mental and physical health.
If you know anyone who needs another reason to believe or feels belief isn’t important or someone who could be helped by this information, please share the article with them. Also, do subscribe here to get weekly updates on all the latest research. No spam, only science. Seriously.