In this Observer article ‘Self help: forget positive thinking, try positive action’ last year Richard Wiseman gave 10 very practical self help tips about how to take positive action.
Now there are a lot of self help tips about positive thinking. They get you saying encouraging words to yourself in order to make those words come true. Many of the techniques that go by the name of positive thinking may be quite ineffective or down right harmful Wiseman explains.
As an alternative to positive thinking Richard Wiseman describes a simpler more behaviouristic approach of deliberately changing your behaviour.
1. To be happy… smile!
2. To have more will power… tense your muscles.
3. To eat less… become more self-conscious by using your non-dominant hand
4. To overcome procrastination… make a start!
5. To be more persistent… sit up and cross your arms!
6. To increase your self-esteem and confidence… adopt a power pose.
7. To be a more effective negotiator… use soft chairs.
8. To deal with your guilt… wash your hands.
9. To be more persusive… nod more often.
10. To improve your love life… open up and talk more to your partner.
Making deliberate choices to act in these ways externally can effect your internal emotions and your subsequent effectiveness.
Wiseman’s self help books such as The Luck Factor, 59 Seconds have been described by the science writer Simon Singh as “a self-help guide based on proper research”. His more recent book Rip It Up goes even deeper into the science of self help.