Look, we’ve all been there. We’re trying to do something that will actively make our life better, but our brain keeps getting in the way.
We often find ourselves overthinking, plagued by doubt, or giving in to anxiety—but we can all do better, and these fifteen mental hacks can help. Check them out, and let us know about your successes!
Fifteen mental hacks to start using today:
1) Practice silence
You know how sometimes you ask someone a question and they only sort of answer the question, or sidestep it? Try maintaining eye contact while staying silent, then just wait. Most people will be uncomfortable enough with the silence that they’ll answer the rest of the question.
2) Chew gum to lessen anxiety
A natural reaction to stress, nervousness, or anxiety is to eat—but that doesn’t always help, and can have adverse effects on our waistlines. Chewing gum, however, can have the same effect (tricking your brain into relaxing) without the added calories.
3) Watch group dynamics
When you’re in a group, pay attention to what people do when they laugh. When people laugh, they tend to instinctively look at the person they are closest to, or wish they were closest to.
4) Drop the “I believe”
When you use phrases like “I believe” or “I think” it undersells the point you’re making. If you’re saying it, you clearly already believe or think it, so drop the extra clause. Doing so will help you appear more confident.
5) Stay cool, calm, and collected
The easiest way to gain power in a disagreement is to stay calm; loosing your cool is a way of giving your power up. Stay calm, and you’ll have a much better chance of coming to an agreement in the future.
6) Act the way you want to feel
Research has shown that not only do we tend to act the way we feel (our actions serving as an emotional outlet, such as stomping when angry), but this can work the other way around, too: If we want to feel happy, acting like we are can help us do so. In other words, fake it until you make it is very real. So if you want to be happy? Act happy. You may be surprised how quickly you notice your mood turning around in response.
7) Treat others as if they were friends
Think of tense situations like interviews. Most of us get nervous, uptight, and cold, forgetting that our interviewer is human, too. If we treat the people around us like they are old friends, and consequently stay respectful and relaxed, we may just be surprised by the results.
8) Confidence begets brilliance
If you are confident in something, people will buy it. Sometimes the best part of brilliance isn’t the idea at all, but rather the confidence with which it is sold; if you believe you are the best, so will others, naturally.
9) Showcase the actions you want to see in others
Think of how excited our dogs always are to see us when we get home. We end up being excited to see them, too, as a result—and this same principle applies to the people around us as well. If we’re happy and excited to see someone, they’re going to be far more likely to be happy and excited to see us in the future as a result.
10) Sit close to your attackers
Say, for instance, you know you screwed something up at work. If you expect to be reamed out at the next work meeting, sit close to the person you expect to ream you out. Close personal space makes it more personal, and makes it far less likely they’ll go out of bounds, because research has shown people are far more comfortable attacking when they can distance themselves from the people they are attacking. (Online comments are a perfect example of this!)
11) Show people what they look like.
Similarly, studies have shown people are nicer to others when they have to look at how they are behaving. For instance, installing a mirror behind a customer service rep can force clients to treat that rep with more respect—because they have to see their actions in that mirror. People don’t like seeing when they act like jerks, so small steps like that mirror can go a long way.
12) Bargain effectively by first asking for more
When you need a favor, ask for more than you first. This is the same principle that leads to people compulsively buying things—even things they don’t need—on sale; it cost more before, so of course they should buy it now. If you ask for a big favor you know will be denied, you’re more likely to get the small favor you ask afterward.
13) Turn stress into exhilaration
Obviously this works better for some than others (adrenaline junkies, I’m looking at you…), but if you can turn threatening and stressful situations into exhilarating challenges, your outlook changes completely. For some people, this is a tremendously productive tactic to take in tough situations.
14) Help others associate you with fun
For instance, when taking someone on a date, you might opt for something romantic or something fun. Keep in mind, though, that research has shown that endorphins experienced in a group help us associate those positive feelings with the people we were with when we experienced those feelings.