We’ve all heard that positive thinking can boost your odds of becoming successful. While positive thinking helps, research shows that simple actions can have a greater impact on behavior and the results.
Most people think that it takes a lot of work and effort to get meaningful results. But sometimes simple actions are the key.
Scientific research has shown that these 10 exercises have a positive effect:
- Do things in a new way. If you’re trying to quit smoking, try smoking with the opposite hand. It makes the behavior seem unusual, and you’ll be less likely to smoke. We often smoke automatically, so doing it differently will force you to think about it.
- Nod in agreement. If someone nods while communicating, they’re more likely to agree with what’s being said. If you want someone to agree with you, subtly nod your head while chatting with them. They will unconsciously start to do the same. This results in a greater likelihood of agreeing with you.
- Act happy. The simple act of smiling makes you feel happier. Studies have suggested smiling big, using your whole face (including your forehead), and making it last about 20 seconds. This will ensure your smile makes an impact.
- Act sternly. Those that sit up straight and cross their arms have been shown to persevere twice as much as those that sat in other ways. Try this technique if you want to be persistent.
- Wash up. A recent study found that washing your hands, taking a bath, or showering can reduce feelings of guilt. Even cleaning the hands with an antiseptic after committing an immoral act significantly reduced guilty feelings.
- Soft chairs for soft people. If you have to negotiate with others, arrange for them to sit in a soft chair. Studies have shown that firm chairs result in tougher negotiating. A soft chair makes people more flexible.
- Just begin! Spending a few minutes on the activity you’re avoiding can often stop procrastination. Getting started really is the hardest part.
- Be emotionally intimate. Couples that are close are more likely to talk about the intimate aspects of life. The opposite is also true. When two people have an intimate conversation, they feel more attracted to each other. If you’re on a date, steer the conversation toward more meaningful topics.
- Flex your muscles. One study discovered that tensing your muscles increases your willpower. If you’re struggling to quit smoking or to stick to a diet, the solution is easier than you think. Make a fist and flex your biceps. If you’re around others, flex your leg muscles.
- Act confident. You’ve seen the cliché “power” pose of CEOs, with them leaning back with outstretched legs and looking up with their hands behind the head. If you’re standing, put both feet flat on the floor, chest out and shoulders back. Play the part. If you act confident on the outside, you’ll feel more confident on the inside.
These ideas all come from university research, so there’s some science behind them. Try them and see what impact they have on your life.
While positive thinking is great, sometimes positive actions can be even more powerful.