Have you heard of the book 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot? Written by psychologist Richard Wiseman, it offers a variety tips & tricks to improve your life based on fascinating scientific research. Here are 9 of my favorite tips from the book, along with snippets from 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot about why they may work. Some of these may surprise you!
1. To help promote the chances of a successful date, try choosing an activity that gets the heart racing. "The theory is that your date will attribute a racing heart to you rather than to the activity, and so convince themselves that you have that special something." Long-term couples may benefit from going on heart racing dates as well. According to several surveys, "long-term couples who are happy in their relationships are more likely to take part in leisure activities that involve both partners and are relatively unpredictable, exciting, and active rather than passive."
2. Listen to classical music to lower high blood pressure related to stress.
"Sky Chafin at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues at other universities examined which music best reduces blood pressure after a stressful event. Their work involved making people anxious by having them count down aloud from 2,397 in sets of 13, i.e. 2397, 2384, et cetera. To make matters worse, every thirty seconds the experimenter harassed the participants with negative feedback ("Come on, get a move on') and urged them to speed up. Afterward, some of the participants were left alone to recover in silence, while others were played either classical music, jazz, or pop music. Blood pressure readings revealed that listening to pop or jazz music had the same restorative effect as total silence. In contrast those who had listened to Pachelbel and Vivaldi relaxed much more quickly, and so their blood pressure dropped back to the normal level in far less time."3. When naming your child avoid negative initials. "As noted in Quirkology, research by Nicholas Christenfeld and his coworkers at the University of California suggests that a person's initials may become an issue of life or death. After analyzing a huge computerized database containing millions of Californian death certificates, they discovered that men with positive initials (such as A.C.E., H.U.G., and J.O.Y) lived about four and a half years longer than average, whereas those with negative initials (such as P.I.G., B.U.M., and D.I.E) died about three years early. Women with positive initials lived an extra three years, although there was no detrimental effect for those with negative initials."
4. Praise children's effort over their ability. "It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to make children feel good by praising their abilities and talents. However, research shows that such compliments can have a detrimental effect and that it is far better to focus on the children's effort, concentration, and organizational skills."
5. Learn about your five fundamental personality dimensions. Many psychologists now believe that the apparent complexity of human personality is an illusion and that, in reality, people vary on just five fundamental dimensions. These dimensions are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Understanding and recognizing these dimensions in your self and others can allow you gain important insights. There are a variety of questionnaires that psychologists have created to measure people's responses on each of the dimensions. Below are links to a few of them
6. To gain insight into someone's personality try asking about their pets. Wiseman conducted a large-scale online study examining the personality of owners and their pets. The results of the study showed that "Fish owners turned out to be the happiest, dog owners the most fun to be with, cat owners the most dependable and emotionally sensitive, and reptile owners the most independent." In addition Wiseman states,"The findings also revealed significant similarities between the personalities of owners and those of their pet. Interestingly, this similarity increased over time, suggesting that pets may slowly come to adopt their owner's personality or vice versa. For years, owners have insisted that their pets have a unique personality-not only does my research suggest they may be right, but it also reveals that people's pets are a reflection of themselves."
7. If you find yourself driving behind a car with lots of bumper stickers, give them an extra inch or two! I found this advice a bit ironic, because usually I tend to drive closer to cars with bumper stickers so I can read them! However, according to Wiseman this might not be a great idea.
8. Gain quick insight into whether you to tend to be more right-brained or left-brained. Here's a quick test you can try if you are right handed. "Interlock the fingers of your hands and place one thumb on top of the other. People who place their right thumb on top of their left thumb tend to be left-brain dominant, and are thus more verbal and analytical. Those who place their left thumb on top of their right thumb tend to be right-brain dominant, and excel in visual, creative, and intuitive tasks."William Szelemko and colleagues speculated that many people who personalize their car by adding bumper stickers or window stickers may be sending out powerful signals of territoriality, and they were curious to discover if having to share public roads with others could increase the changes of these drivers' experiencing road rage. To investigate, hundreds of participants were asked to report how many bumper and window stickers they had and also to rate their level of aggressive driving. The results revealed that drivers with more stickers admitted to driving more aggressively, including a greater frequency of tailgaiting and ramming."
9. Deal with potential liars by asking for an email. According to Wiseman, "people are about 20 percent less likely to lie in an e-mail than in a telephone call, because their words are on record and so are more likely to come back and haunt them."
I hope you enjoyed this article, and learned something new! Did any of these tips surprise you? I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments section below! Please consider subscribing to my blog via email and follow me on Twitter at @KMonterey. Also, if you are interested in learning more great tips from "59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot", I've included the Amazon link below. Among other things, find out why retail therapy doesn't improve your mood and what does, why even thinking about going to the gym can help you stay in in shape, and why putting a pencil between your teeth can boost your mood!
59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman
Other popular books by Richard Wiseman:
The As If Principle: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life
Paranormality: Why we see what isn't there
The Luck Factor: Why Some People Are Luckier Than Others and How You Can Become One of Them