10 Psychological Life Hacks That Can Improve Your Life
Getting through life without any scrapes is impossible. We all come up against obstacles and testing situations, and we don’t always come out on top. Sometimes, we win and sometimes we lose. That’s just the way life is.
But although you have to take the rough with the smooth, there are certain psychological tricks you can perform that give you a bit of an edge during potentially trickier moments.
Sometimes, these tricks iron out the rough stuff altogether, making your life clearer, more efficient, and generally better.
Dealing with life on an everyday basis is not always easy, and you need your wits about you sometimes to even make it through a day scot-free. If you feel as though you could do with a bit of a helping hand right now, here are 10 psychological hacks that can improve your life.
If You Don’t Get The Answer You Want, Look Into Someone’s Eyes
It gets a bit annoying to have to keep asking someone to repeat something because you didn’t understand it the first time around.
“Can you repeat that, please?”
Especially if you feel as though you should understand what they’ve just said to you, you might necessarily feel like asking them to re-phrase it.
Instead, look them directly in the eyes. This is a cue of-sorts that puts them under pressure to elaborate on what they just said. Don’t say anything, just let them know non-verbally that you want a better explanation.
Be As Comfortable As Possible In Any Situation
When we’re uncomfortable in a social situation, we get nervous and find it very hard to be ourselves. Why is this? It is because our brain is wired to guard us against exposure, and to do so it decides that it can either fight or take flight.
And all too often it takes flight.
To stop this from happening, it’s important that you try to feel as comfortable as possible in any social situation.
How? Simply by tricking your brain into thinking that it knows total strangers. Acting as though they’re your friends will make it easier for you to relax around them.
Stay Calm When The Other Person Is Getting Tense
We’ve all been in stressful situations where the other person is losing their cool. They start to shout, remonstrate with their hands, and bang on the table.
Stormy situations like this are not nice to a part of, but they are made even more volatile if we compliment their outburst of anger with a similar one of our own.
Rather than react angrily, it’s much better to remain calm and composed. Eventually, the other person will come to their senses and mirror your calming behaviour and body language. They may even apologise and ask for forgiveness.
If You Need Something, Explain Why You Need Something
Research has shown that people are more likely to help someone else if they’re given a reason as to why they should help.
For example, if you asked a bunch of people standing patiently in a queue if you can jump to the front, they’re unlikely to let you in unless you explain to them why you need to step in.
Sit Next To An Aggressor
Asking you to sit next to an aggressor probably sounds a bit scary.
“Are you crazy? What if they bite my head off?”
But this psychological hack is actually a lot less crazy than it first appears.
If you’re going to a meeting of any sort where you know there’ll an aggressive person who is likely to blow up in one of their usual outbursts, don’t sit as far away as possible from them – sit right next to them.
Why? Because aggressors like having a wide berth; it gives them plenty of space in which to make their attack.
Sitting next to them limits their movement, and keeps them feeling hemmed in. You might prevent an outburst.
Ask “How?” And Not “Why”
Let’s say your friend tells you they’re feeling terribly depressed at the moment. If you ask them why they’re feeling so low, they’ll probably give you a long-winded explanation that doesn’t help either of you to improve their situation.
But by asking how they can improve their situation, you are saving a lot of time and taking the right steps forward to helping them make positive changes.
Make A Note Of Everyone’s Name
Social butterflies are very good at remembering everyones name in a room, because they know how useful this will be.
There are indeed some people that enter any situation – be it a nightclub or a networking event – who make a point of asking everyone for their name, before memorising it.
Why? First of all, it’s a great way of introducing yourself to someone and letting them know who you are and what you do.
Secondly, it makes everyone feel at ease with you.
Thirdly, it opens up the possibilities of conversations later in the night. They already know who you are, so there doesn’t need to be any awkwardness.
Give Someone Validation
If you need to win someone round, or generally just want to make them feel important, give them plenty of validation. You can do this by actively listening to them, asking them questions based on what they have said, and repeating things they have said.
Mindfulness means living in the present moment. It means dispensing with any thoughts of the past or future and focusing on the here and now.
This is super useful, because far too many of us who constantly live in the past or the future are too far removed from the present to a) take advantage of it and b) appreciate it.
Don’t think about what could go wrong in the future. Concern yourself only with what is happening right now. Look around you and appreciate everything that is going on. Absorb it all. Appreciate it. Take note of how you feel.
Do Someone A Favour
If there is someone in your life who you dislike but really need to get along with if you’re to enjoy success (for example, a work colleague), you should do them a favour.
Why? Because research has shown that when we do someone a favour, we put ourselves into the shoes. Seeing things from their perspective creates empathy and an emotional bond.