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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Lukas Schwekendiek.

The 4 best tricks I learned while studying psychology in college and being around personal development in my free time are:

1. If you want others to open up to you or like you, make them the most important thing in the world. In psychology this is referred to as “Active Listening.” All you need to do is give your entire attention to them when they talk. There are various ways you can implement this:

  • Think that you have to give an hour-long presentation on what they talked about the next day.
  • Act like they have something to share that will give you a million dollars.
  • Listen like you would if you were talking to your hero or god.

Doing so will make sure you pay full attention to what they say. The difference is minute in your eyes, but the subconscious effect it has is massive! People will feel it and will love to talk to you, because you make them feel like they matter. Which is one of the most sought after feelings in the world.

Try going an entire day paying full attention to everyone and get their responses the next day. You will be surprised by the difference it made for them.

2. You see what you think about. Let’s use an example for this. A driver who believes the stereotype that women are bad drivers will see both bad drivers that are men and women, and good drivers that are men and women. But, even though he sees about an equal amount of each, he will consciously be aware of only the bad women drivers and the good men drivers.

This is a security mechanism in our brain to confirm that we are right and to boost our ego. The interesting part comes when you realize that this works for everything!

When we think about positive things, how great the world is and how amazing our life is, we see more proof of it in the real world. What might be considered normal will be considered great in this point of view. The same way when we think about how bad everything is and how life is going against us, we see normal events as being negative and small problems as being gigantic.

The best way to use this to our advantage is to think about how we want the world to look like. Because we find proof for everything we look for, it is up to us to decide how we want to see the world. If we do not do this, someone else will decide for us.

Using this effectively can lead to a happier life, filled with gratitude and amazement. But it does take practice and effort.

3. Motion creates emotion. It is a common research subject in psychology and has been studied in many different aspects. The most popular one is “How to feel more confident.” Studies in this area have shown that the more space you take up, the more confident you feel. When you sit, sit with your legs open and arms outstretched, when standing, stand up tall and wide.

What’s even more amazing than these findings is the fact that this works with every emotion. Whenever you want to be happy, excited, confident, sexy, loving, or whatever else, just think about what a person with those qualities would do. Imagine that person in the same situation: How would they act? What would they say? What would they think?

Ask yourself these questions and then simply copy that person in your head. Depending on how you move and behave, your brain will activate the areas in your brain corresponding to the emotion you portray and release the corresponding hormones to make you feel that way!

4. Reality Testing. A lot of our daily problems arise from us overthinking. We make the problems bigger or smaller than they actually are and need the help of these strategies to actually see the reality. Without this, we cannot solve the problem because we either get too scared to try, or think the problem isn’t that big and do not think it is worth solving.

In Reality Testing, psychotherapists encourage clients to look at their problems objectively and to back-track to the negative thoughts and analyze them. Some common ways we tend to do this are:

  • Over-generalization. Thinking that one negative event will lead to more and more negative events is something we cannot know. We generalize the meaning of what happens even though we have no idea. Instead think that this is one event, period. It is just one event and the next event is completely separate from it. Even though in your experience that may not have been the case, if you think this way you will go into more situations feeling empowered and will believe in your ability to still change the events.
  • Comparing to others. This is an extremely common occurrence. To be honest, we have no idea what the other person has gone through to get there. They may have worked 18 hours every day for the last year, crying and sweating, to get to where they are today. Do not assume that they got to where they are with the same effort you did. There is no point in comparing to others because, unless we actually lived through their life, we have no idea what it took for them to get there. Even if they tell us they will have a skewed perception and we will receive it through our point of view, which also skews the reality of it. Instead of comparing yourself to others around you, compare yourself to how you were a month or year ago. The only real reference point you have is a past self.
  • Blaming others. We wish to make life easy on ourselves. And what is easier than saying that we are not at fault for anything that happens? It is so easy to push the fault onto others, or onto life itself, because they cannot defend themselves. When we blame others for our misfortune, Therapists will intervene and start a paradigm-shift with the clients. They encourage clients to take responsibility for everything for a while. Obviously this can lead to the other extreme, but the point is to first get out of the habit of blaming others. When we take responsibility ourselves it is more likely that we will act to correct it.
  • Thinking in “All” or “Nothing.” To overcome this you should be very precise in what you say. This is also how a lot of fights start with couples. Phrases like “You always do this” or “You never do that” lead to a skewed perception of reality. Instead think about how often something occurred in the last week or month and count the exact number. This will remove the extremist thinking, getting you closer to the solution of the problem.

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