Want to make your life a tiny bit easier? Turn to Psychology and use the weird ways our brains work to your benefit.
Many of us understand how reverse psychology works by now. We pretend not to like a thing to make another person like it. But you can use other little tricks on yourself and others to make your life go a little more smoothly.
While scrolling through the R/askreddit community, I found a thread asking users to share the little psychology tricks they incorporated into everyday life that enhance their well-being.
You may want to use some of these tricks in your own life!
Whispering Works Wonders
One user said whispering to toddlers works wonders for stopping tantrums.
“If you whisper to a crying toddler, they’ll quiet down to hear what you’re saying,” the user shared, adding that making your words nearly imperceptible works best.
Another user added the trick worked well with young students, but their wife didn’t appreciate it.
A Calmer Approach
Some users shared a similar trick that works with adults—maintaining a calm demeanor when people get worked up to help them through it.
“When they get frustrated or anxious or all-worked-up you speak to them in a calm, level, and confident tone, and they will sort of self-correct themselves closer to the vibe you’re projecting,” shared one user, discussing how they help college students overcome anxiety.
“I actually loved working in escalations because I’d basically tune out all the yelling, then talk calmly to them after,” added another user. “Most of the time, they were just frustrated and needed to vent. I got a lot of apologies after they would finish.”
Call it What You Will
Sometimes you have to meet others where they live rather than getting them to adapt to you. If something’s name is the problem, call it something else to get what you need.
One parent finds this trick works particularly well with their young kids. “My son won’t eat dinner, but he will eat a snack. Dinner is now called snack time for everyone,” they shared.
Another responded that their mom used to trick them into eating chicken for dinner by calling it “chicken treats.”
You can’t put your foot in your mouth if you don’t open it, and you’d be surprised at how much others love to fill the silence. One user admitted their “trick” was to simply listen more.
“If you can sit comfortably in silence with another person, you’ll find out a lot about them as they try to fill that void, especially if they’re uncomfortable with it,” shared one user.
Another responded that they do the same and hear all the water cooler gossip as a result.
Many pointed out that listening more is a crucial tactic in sales and was touted as the key to success by business leaders such as Dale Carnegie.
Might as Well..
If you need to trick yourself into accomplishing something, consider adding “might as well” to your self-talk routine.
One user shared that these three words help them get things done when they normally don’t have the energy.
“So, for example, if I get up to put food in the microwave, I’m going to be standing in my kitchen for exactly 1.5 minutes. Might as well put dishes away while I wait,” they shared.
“As someone who struggles to get started on things, this is probably the only way I can get myself to take care of the dishes,” responded another.
A Trick for Developing Empathy
Sometimes it’s hard to put ourselves in others’ shoes, especially after they’ve behaved in a way we might consider evil.
One user had a tip for dealing with these situations which helped them develop empathy.
“Assume stupidity instead of malice,” they shared. “There are a lot more stupid people than evil ones, and we all do stupid things now and then. It helps empathizing with people who did something you don’t appreciate.”
Another took it a step forward, giving most people more benefit from the doubt. “I always try to assume people are distracted rather than stupid and stupid rather than malicious,” they said. ‘If you think about it in terms of your own behavior, it will ring true, and it’s much easier to not get angry over little slights.”
Some users apply the laws of psychics to psychology to get things done. Newton’s first law says that an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.
If you apply that to your life, you’ll find that if you can just manage to start doing something, inertia will set in, and you’ll keep doing the thing until it’s done.
“It’s a million times easier to keep doing something once you have started,” shared one user. “So if I don’t feel like working out, I tell myself I’ll just do a short work out. Or if the dishes need to be done, I’ll tell myself to do one. More often than not, once I start doing something my brain stops fighting so much against it.”
Career-minded folks take note: often, visibility is more important to your overall success than doing your job perfectly.
One user shared that they intentionally let things break a little at work to keep themselves and their work visible to the company.
“I will occasionally let something go wrong that I could have prevented because I knew it was coming, and have the fix ready immediately. You look like a hero for fixing things so quickly, and management loves you,” they admitted.
Of course, letting things break isn’t recommended for most industries. However, sometimes it’s better to take a tough assignment with visibility than an easy one in your lane or stretch your personal deadline a bit to help higher-ups meet theirs.
Choose tasks that showcase your talent to the company rather than things that keep your name hidden.
Tell The Inner Voice Who’s Boss
One user shared a fantastic tactic they developed for dealing with intrusive thought patterns: Name them and shame them.
The thread started when one user admitted to doing a Samuel L. Jackson voice to disrupt anxiety attacks, but another shared that giving voice to these thoughts is common in therapy.
“My therapist had me name the negative voice in my head,” they replied. “He’s a cranky toddler, and when he starts telling me I’m a failure, I send him to time out and imagine him sulking and scribbling on the wall.”
In a typical office job, you work the same hours each day. However, one trick can make the days seem shorter: taking a late lunch.
“I find that if I wait and take my lunch break closer to the end of my shift (around 2pm), it makes the days feel shorter/more bearable,” shared one user.
Another said the morning will be miserable anyway, but “your afternoon sure goes by a lot faster if you take a late lunch.”
Little Psychological Tips Can Improve Your Life
The tips Redditors shared showcase how leaning into how our brains work rather than fighting against it can vastly improve our quality of life. They can help us understand people better, control our inner demons, and find motivation when we feel empty.
Have you tried these or other psychological tricks to make your day smoother? How did it work?
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.