A quick, yet very useful strategy, to help you change your mind.

We instinctively nod when we agree with something and shake our heads when we disagree. Similarly, we smile when we are happy and frown when we aren’t.

Psychologist, JD Laird in 2007 was fascinated by the frowning and smiling point and no doubt pondered a question a little like this: If we smile when we’re happy could we feel happy merely by smiling? He asked one group to frown as they added up a series of numbers and another group to smile when they added up the same series of numbers. He then asked both groups to rate how hard they found the exercise.

The outcomes were amazing. The group that frowned found the exercise much harder than the group that smiled. In other words, the act of frowning had directly influenced their state of mind. The smiling group found the activity easier and less demanding simply because they smiled as they did it!

Other experiments where participants were forced to nod (they had to follow objects moving in a vertical direction up and down a screen and comment upon how much the objects appealed to them) or shake their heads (they had to follow the same objects that were this time moving horizontally back and forth across a screen and once more comment upon how much the objects appealed to them) produced corroborative results: namely, those that nodded had greater appeal with the objects that they had seen than those that shook their heads. (J Förster, 2004: How Body Feedback Influences Consumer’s Evaluation of Products.) Interestingly, neither group really knew why they felt like they did!

This is what psychologists call proprioceptive response: the same process works in reverse. You agree with something so you nod. Therefore, nod if you want to agree. You smile when you’re happy so smile if you want to feel happy.

Not, perhaps, a quick smile though but something that brings you pleasure such as looking at a loved photo, hearing or reading a joke, watching a favourite TV programme or whatever you like to initiate the desired response.

Try it and see what happens!…

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