'The self-help industry suggests visualising how you want to look, act and be perceived as the best way to achieve a better you - but a large body of research now shows that such exercises are at best ineffective and, at worst, harmful,' says Richard Wiseman. 'So here are a few practical tips that can turn your life around in seconds.'
Money can buy you happiness. 'Spend your hard-earned cash on experiences, not material goods, because when it comes to happiness they represent the best value for money,' says Wiseman. 'Go to a gig. Go on holiday. Go bungee jumping. Do anything that provides the opportunity to do things with others, and then tell even more people about it afterwards.' This will create a happy memory that will last forever, rather than a new gadget you'll tire of.
Every man loses his wallet at some time. But do you know the best way to get it back? 'I dropped 240 wallets around Edinburgh,' says Wiseman. 'All had cards, but some also had a photograph of either an old couple, a baby, a happy family or a puppy. After one week 35 per cent of those with a baby snap were returned. Studies have shown that a baby's face elicits the same reaction in the brain as receiving a reward. So stick a snap of a cute, happy baby in your wallet for the best odds of getting it back.'
Be more successful
'Nearly one-quarter of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators,' says Wiseman. 'But there are four simple steps to meeting your aims: having an overall goal, creating a step-by-step plan, listing the benefits of achieving the goal, and going public. The first three are obvious, but setting a "go public" date will keep you motivated and help you better understand your goal by articulating it to others.'
Be more attractive
The briefest of touches on a woman's upper arm will improve your luck. 'This increases the likelihood of women finding you attractive,' says Wiseman. 'In one study 20 per cent of women approached on the street gave out their number when touched on the arm, compared with just ten per cent of those who weren't. But beware: touching is a strong social signal and a few inches can make all the difference between her inviting you for coffee or calling the police.'
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