Composed of more than a hundred billion neurons, our brain is one of the most complex parts of our body. It controls our body, actions, speech, and all other functions. But surprisingly, with a few tricks, we can control our brain or more specifically our thoughts and actions. The trick is to know some psychological techniques and use them wisely. Here are 10 such useful tricks which can help you in long run.
1. Students who write notes longhand remember more and have a deeper understanding of the material than those who take notes with a laptop.
It is a popular belief that taking notes with laptops in the classroom can enhance the academic performance of students. this is because the speed with which one can type is significantly greater than the speed with which one can write. So, while taking notes on a laptop, one can type more information than writing.
But a new research by Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer suggests that this is not the case. According to the research, students who take notes by hand use different types of cognitive processing than students who take notes with a laptop. This affects their learning. Writing is a slower process than typing. So, students cannot write down every word in a lecture. Instead, they listen, digest, and summarize before writing it down. This helps them in capturing the essence of the information and hence engages the brain a lot more than typing. As a result, students who write notes down retain the information for a longer time than students who type it in a laptop.(source)
2. Greater expectations can lead to better performance and better results, while lower expectations can decrease the performance level.
The phenomenon that higher expectations can increase performance is commonly known as the “Pygmalion effect” or “Rosenthal effect.” It was first demonstrated by Professor Robert Rosenthal. He conducted an experiment in a California elementary school and found that when teachers were made aware of the students who have a high chance of success, their expectations increase. Hence, they paid close attention to those students and also sometimes treated them differently. Basically, the teachers subconsciously behaved differently towards those students which encourages their success. This has a positive effect on the student, and their performance becomes better.
3. Thinking in a foreign language can help us to make better decisions.
According to a study done by the researchers at the University of Chicago, thinking in a foreign language can affect our decision-making. It makes us make more rational decisions. According to the study’s co-author, Sayuri Hayakawa, the change in the quality of decisions is because of the emotions associated with our native language. When we think in our native language, we cannot remove the emotions associated with it and hence can’t think as logically.
When we process our thoughts in a foreign language, the lack of emotional connection helps us to think clearly. In such cases, our thought process isn’t motivated by any emotions, we become less biased and hence can think more rationally and logically.(1,2)
4. Including blue-colored food in your diet aids in weight loss as blue is an appetite suppressant.
While other colors can be seen abundantly in the world of foods, we rarely see any blue-colored fruits or vegetables. Aside from blueberries and blue-purple potatoes, this color does not exist in significant quantities as a natural food color. So, we do not have any appetite response linked with the color blue. Hence, if you are going for a weight loss plan, try introducing food dyed with blue dye. Or else you can install a blue light in refrigerator to ward off your snack cravings.(1,2,3)
5. Talking to yourself improves concentration and mental recall.
When we catch anyone talking to themselves, we tend to think of them as crazy. But actually, talking to yourself is both normal and healthy. To prove this, an experiment was conducted at Bangor University. Under the experiment, the participants were asked to read written instructions either silently or out loud. The result of this experiment was those who read the instructions out loud had better concentration and performance.(source)
6. Accepting negative emotions helps in regaining and maintaining peace of mind.
According to social norms, we often force ourselves to hide our negative feelings such as anger and resentment. But psychological studies have shown that instead of suppressing them, we must try to accept them. Accepting the negative emotions can help us to maintain our peace of mind and will lead to better mental health. Studies have shown that it helps us to become emotionally resilient.
Also, acknowledging the dark emotions lowers anxiety and depression. A study conducted by three researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that over time acceptance leads to positive psychological health and increases the feeling of satisfaction in one’s life. The research also proves that when people habitually began accepting negative emotions, they feel elevated levels of well-being.(source)
7. Daily exercise in self-control, such as improving posture, altering verbal behavior, and using one’s non-dominant hand for simple tasks, gradually produces improvements in self-control.
The opposite of self-control is impulse. In our daily life, there comes a number of moments when we carry out an action impulsively. Sometimes the steps taken impulsively results in undesirable consequences.
By practicing self-control daily in even the smallest way possible, we can let go of our impulsive behavior and increase self-control. The first step would be to recognize those moments when we struggle with our self-control. As soon as we recognize it, we need to control the urge to give in to the impulse. In the beginning, it will take a lot of effort. But soon, enough of the small changes will become a habit, and instead of practicing self-control, we will start performing them naturally.(source)
8. Strict parents can turn their kids into more effective liars because children who are afraid to tell the truth learn more deceptive behaviors to avoid getting in trouble.
Children have a mind of their own and often do not agree with the views of their elders or parents. In such cases, parents usually take strict measures to make the children obey them. Studies have shown that authoritarian tendencies of parents can turn children into liars. They will tend to lie so as to avoid the punishment. According to Victoria Talwar, a renowned expert on children’s social-cognitive development at McGill University, when children are subjected to inevitable punishment, they began learning how to deceive their parents.
But when a kid lies, it is not necessarily a bad sign. That’s because lying is also a sign that the kid is developing important psychological skills. It shows that the kid can think nonlinearly and also has a good working memory which is needed to keep both their lies and facts straight. In fact, the earlier a child learns to lie, the smarter the child is and is more likely to grow up to be an intelligent individual.(source)
9. The best way to get someone to like you isn’t to do them a favor, but to convince them to do you a favor.
Asking for a favor does not always makes us feel good as we become worried that the person helping us out will find it rather annoying. But according to a psychological phenomenon called the “Ben Franklin Effect,” the reality is just the opposite and the person from whom you have asked the favor would end up liking you more.
This phenomenon had been proved in a study by psychologist Yu Niiya of Hosei University in Tokyo. According to Yu Niiya, the Ben Franklin effect occurs because the person being asked for help believes that you want to become friendly with that person, and that’s why you have asked for help. In turn, the person reciprocates the liking and ends up liking you instead of becoming annoyed.(1,2)
10. Pressure to feel upbeat can make you feel downbeat while embracing your darker moods can actually make you feel better in the long run.
Research at UC Berkeley reveals that if we feel bad about feeling bad, that can make use feel worse. According to Iris Mauss, an associate professor of psychology: “We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health.”
A study was conducted at UC Berkeley in order to test the link between emotional acceptance and psychological health. More than 1,300 adults took part in the study and it was found that when a person resists acknowledging their negative emotion, it can make the individual feel psychologically stressed. But when a person accepts the negative emotions, they tend to give less attention towards them and do not feel worried or stressed about it. Basically, people who accept their negative emotions without judging or trying to change them can cope with stress in more successfully.(source)