7 Easy Actions
for Great Results

7 Easy Actions for Great Results

Since the start of this blog, January 2013,
a lot is written about thinking positive
[as on many blogs alike...].

For years the self-help gurus have preached the same simple mantra: if you want to improve your life then you need to change how you think. Force yourself to have positive thoughts and you will become happier. Visualize your dream self and you will enjoy increased success. Think like a millionaire and you will magically grow rich. In principle, this idea sounds perfectly reasonable.

Common sense tells us that emotions come before behavior, and so decades of self-help books told us to focus on trying to change the way we think.

But what about the other way around? How do you feel if you create an angry expression on your face, drawing down your eyebrows and clenching your teeth? And how do you feel when you make a happy expression, drawing up the corners of your mouth? Exactly! You will feel significantly happier when you force your face into a smile, and much angrier when you’re clenching your teeth.

Research has shown that the same effect applies to almost all aspects of our everyday lives. By acting as if you are a certain type of person, you become that person. The ‘As If’-principle.

Our body language may not only affect how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has this great TEDTalk about ‘power posing’. How standing in a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel confident, affects the testosterone and cortisol levels in your brain, and might even have an impact on your chances for success.

So let us introduce a new type of mantra: if you want to improve your life then you need to change how you act! Here are seven positive actions that lead to positive results:

For happiness: smile!
[click to tweet]
This is the grandmother of them all. Smile and you will feel happier. To get the most out of this exercise, make the smile as wide as possible. Smile and extend your eyebrow muscles slightly upward, and hold the resulting expression for about 20 seconds. Smiling will make you feel happy… even when you’re not!

For willpower: tense up

Tensing your muscles boosts your willpower. Next time you feel the need to avoid that cigarette or cream cake, make a fist, contract your biceps, press your thumb and first finger together, or grip a pen in your hand.

For persistence: sit up straight and cross your arms

Ron Friedman from the University of Rochester led a study where volunteers were presented with tricky problems to see how long they persevered. Those who sat up straight and folded their arms kept struggling on for nearly twice as long as others. So when the going gets tough, cross your arms!

For confidence: power pose

As Amy Cuddy explains in her TEDTalk: to increase your self-esteem and confidence, adopt a power pose for two minutes. If you are sitting down, lean back, look up and interlock your hands behind your head. If you are standing up, then place your feet flat on the floor, push your shoulders back and your chest forward.

For persuasion: nod

If people nod while they listen to a discussion they are more likely to agree with the points being made. When you want to encourage someone to agree with you, subtly nod your head as you chat with them. Research shows that they will reciprocate the movement and find themselves strangely attracted to your way of thinking.

For ending procrastination: make a start

To overcome procrastination, act as if you are really interested in what it is that you have to do. Spend just a few minutes carrying out the first part of whatever it is you are avoiding, and suddenly you will feel a strong need to complete the task.

For weight loss: use your non-dominant hand

When you eat with your non-dominant hand you are acting as if you are carrying out an unusual behavior. Because of that you place more attention on your action. You’re no longer simply consuming food without thinking about it, and so eat less.


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How about you?
Do you recognize that your behavior shapes the way you feel?
In what ways does that help you?
Simply post your comments and wisdom in the comment box below!

Mirjam Stoffels

Founder of seven2success, author of ‘Daily Little Secrets to Success’ and guest blogger at Project Eve and 365 dagen succesvol. In my mission to make seven2success the biggest platform of knowledge and inspiration for women, I want to inspire you with our content! Check us out on Facebook and Twitter! I’d love to connect!  And do you want to inspire other women? Write for us!

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  1. Addition to no.1:
    When you wake up and you feel (again) a morningblues – put your jaws in the smile position. You don’t have to smile – just tell your jaws to go into the smile position.
    Try it and Feel what happens :-D

    Another thing I do with my children when they are mad/ angry/ sad and they keep holding on to that feeling… I turn them around and around and around (3 times). Something changes and they can’t help but smile, still angry, yet not so much anymore.

    • Mirjam Stoffels

      Great additions Josine, thank you!
      Just doing something a little crazy and out of the ordinary often helps to snap out of it. Going to try this with my children too!


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