You don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to appreciate a good Jedi mind trick. We all should have at least one in our back pocket to influence things in our favor.

Well, we should have something close to it. Sales and marketing people use psychological tactics all the time to get us to buy things. An example would be pricing things with a “.99” behind the decimal instead of a round dollar amount. Another is placing impulse buys at the checkout counter. Get it?

You can work the same type of cleverness and charm in everyday life on yourself and others to get things done. The pointers below are meant to show you how. These examples below can be used in everyday life to tilt things in your favor, keep you healthy, or save time, money, and effort.

  1. Workout Tunes

    Listening to music while exercising boosts your workout productivity by enhancing your mood and distracting you from being tired or sore. It can increase your performance by as much as 15%.

  2. Nap Time

    Take a short power nap during the day to keep your heart healthy. It can help lower your blood pressure.

  3. Hot Date

    If you’re out on a first date and hoping for a second or third, plan an activity that boosts adrenaline like a theme park, dancing, or scary movie. Attraction increases when people feel emotions like fear or excitement, and can give a person the feeling he/she is enjoying your company rather than the activity.

  4. Choice Trickery

    Give a rebellious child the illusion of control by wording your request as a choice. Instead of saying, “Get your sweater”, say “Do you want to wear or your red sweater or yellow sweater today?”

  5. Quell a Confrontation

    To avoid a showdown in a meeting, sit right next to the person you think has it out for you. People are less angry or confrontational when you’re close to their personal space.

  6. Banana Happiness

    Eat bananas to feel happy. The tryptophan and carbs in the fruit help the brain to boost your mood!

  7. Trip an Opponent

    Play a mind game and throw someone off mentally by complimenting his/her unusual dominant streak. Ask them about their secret or technique so they get inside their own head, tripping themselves up.

  8. Sail through Crowds

    Avoid awkward shuffling when walking through tight crowds by looking straight through the gap between people or above one of their shoulders. They’ll usually part like the Red Sea.

  9. Become Likable and Gain Trust

    Smiling at someone when you first meet them and noticing their eye color will warm them up to you, and invoke a sense of trust.

  10. Lose Weight

    To lose weight, eat slowly, even if it’s a small portion. Eating fast leads to fast weight gain, regardless of what and how much you’re eating. Slower chewing and munching helps to lower the amount of calories you take in and increases your ability to stay fuller.

  11. Go Silent

    When you’re negotiating or want to get the truth out of someone during a conversation, suddenly go silent but keep eye contact. That person will feel pressured into revealing more just to break the silence.

  12. Read Body Cues

    One way to gauge someone’s energy towards you is to read their body language. If their arms or legs are crossed, that indicates defensiveness. A more open stance shows receptivity and openness to what you have to say.

  13. Ease Your Load

    Hand something off to someone while talking to them and they’re more likely to take it. Ask them questions about themselves, day, etc., and unload those books or moving box!

  14. Chew Gum to Beat Nerves

    Chew gum for 5-10 minutes before a test or public speaking event. It helps to release tension and shuts down the fear/flight response.

  15. The Yawn Test

    To find out if someone is staring at you or checking you out, yawn. The contagious reaction will hit them and let you know who’s been watching you!

  16. Get a Yes

    Ask a favor of someone who is tired. It may seem slightly diabolical, but that person is more likely to say yes if they’re too worn out to bargain or argue.

  17. Cure an Earworm

    Ever had a song stuck in your head for hours or days? Sing the whole thing through to the end, or just think of the last word; that should squash your earworm.

Small challenges and annoyances that we face can be thwarted with mental hacks and tiny behavioral changes. You can learn to keep yourself happy and make a difference in the way people treat you without being dramatic or mean. Remember to take it easy on yourself!

Which of these life hacks are you already doing? Is there another trick you would add to the list? Which tip resonates with you the most?


The Guardian
Psychology Today