Mind games: How to better control your life
Learn how to control your love life, career and health using a few simple tricks of the mind.
Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist and author of the book
Success Through Manipulation, uses what he calls “thought manipulation” techniques when helping people quit smoking or eliminate phobias. That could be helpful, but we decided to grill him on how to better control our
love lives instead. Cue up some sinister music and read on.
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HOW TO BETTER CONTROL YOUR LOVE LIFE
1. The pleasure principle
“Generally, men aren’t touched very often by other people—especially women,” says Christopher. “In a restaurant, when a waitress touches a man on the shoulder at the same time she asks if he would like another beer, the sensation of touch creates an intimacy for the guy. He’s more likely to buy something.” Socially isolated men or those who grew up surrounded by brothers rather than sisters are the most susceptible to this type of “programming,” he adds. Lesson learned: Seek out nerdy types wearing hand-me-down clothes.
2. Word association
Get your man to do what you want by using motivational tools. “After you do x, why don’t we do something you love, like y?” Dangling a reward works—as long as it’s something he would really like, be it a shoulder massage or the last gooey brownie you "baked" (a.k.a bought). This is prudent advice—think how you’d feel about a task if your boss said “Once you’ve filed these 400 different types of company tax receipts, perhaps you can take a private car over to the Louis Vuitton boutique and road-test a few of the
new season’s handbags.”*
3. Watch your language
“Your subconscious responds directly to the images it receives,” says Christopher. “Rather than focusing on the thing you don’t want—like telling yourself ‘Stop smoking!’ (which still creates a mental image of smoking)— focus on wanting to breathe fresh air or run a 10K.”
4. Picture this
Building positive imagery is a simple way to tap into a person’s subconscious without them knowing it. Trying to move your relationship along? Instead of talking about proposals, leave wedding invitations from friends on the coffee table.** This opens up the conversation, but it’s not directly related to you. If you’re at a wedding with your partner, make positive suggestions about marriage by saying something like “Imagine what it will be like for them 20 years from now…wow.” Christopher recommends gently touching your guy’s elbow anytime you see him enjoying himself at the nuptials. He’ll perceive the positive touch (and hopefully enjoy it as much as the one from the waitress) and make a link. “Many guys feel nervous about commitment,” says Christopher. “That’s often because they are focused on the seemingly negative aspects of marriage. You can override that in the future when those feelings come up for him by simply touching his elbow. Those positive emotions will come right back.”
5. Thought process
Gain more by thinking less. Stress sends cortisol streaming through your body, which causes you to gain weight by directly altering cell activity. In other words, any goals you may have of getting fit or slimming down will be sabotaged faster than you can say “Bachelorette rose ceremony” if you feel overwhelmed. Things like massage, meditation and having sex can all help keep you on track and feeling great. Neuroscientists have discovered that after only five 20-minute sessions of meditation, there is significantly increased blood flow to the part of the brain that governs self-control—which means no more stress snacking. Try the Headspace Meditation app for an effective way to reduce stress. It’s easy to use and left us with a true sense of calm after just a few days.
*The odds of this happening are less than zero.
**This only works if you (1) are at the stage of a relationship when you attend weddings together or (2) have friends who are actually getting married—it’s not recommended you doctor something up in Photoshop for your buddies “Kim and Kanye.”
Learn how to control your career and diet on the next page…
HOW TO GAIN CHARISMA
Charisma isn’t just something you’re born with; it can be developed. (Consider Norma Jeane Baker versus Marilyn Monroe.) In eight out of the last 10 U.S. presidential races, candidates who used what social scientists deem “charismatic leadership tactics,” like metaphors or analogies, rhetorical questions and three-part lists (which are easy to remember and give proof of a pattern), won more often.
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HOW TO BETTER CONTROL YOUR CAREER
1. Be passionate: When speaking, consider whispering at appropriate moments, pausing to convey control and using emotion to get your point across. Note: Pounding the table with excitement during a brainstorming meeting is
completely different from doing it during a salary negotiation.
2. Be confident: Use eye contact. Own the room when you walk into it. (Ask yourself “What would Rihanna do?” and then channel that. But maybe put some pants on first.) It may sound corny, but it’s true: If you like yourself, it’s a lot easier for others to like you.
3. Be a great listener: Making people feel heard not only endears you to them but also helps them open up, which can give you valuable insight into their strengths and weaknesses.
HOW TO BETTER CONTROL YOUR DIET
Your mind can be a mean girl when it comes to
post-workout snacking. Studies show that we often overestimate how many calories we burn while exercising— which can lead to reward eating. Sadly, phoning it in on the elliptical isn’t going to be enough to cover the spaghetti carbonara re-carb load later. Here’s some calorie context.
1 cup Häagen-Dazs Cho colate Peanut Bu tter Ice Cream (680 calories) = Running 8 k.p.h. for 1 hour and 15 minutes
1 Banana Nut Bread Clif Bar (240 calories) = Swimming at high intensity for 25 minutes
1 Pad Thai with Chi cken and Shrimp from Toronto’s Spring Rolls Restaurant (1,382 calories) = Swimming at high intensity for 2 hours
HOW TO BETTER CONTROL YOUR BEAUTY PERSONA
Tom Bachik, celebrity manicurist for L’Oréal Paris—and the man wielding the nail kit for Jennifer Lopez, Zooey Deschanel and Katy Perry—on what your
nail colour says about you.
1. Black or white: “You’re young, hip and a bit rebellious.”
2. Red: “The ultimate femme-fatale shade. Alluring, sexy and seductive.”
3. Navy or bordeaux: “Rich and glamorous.”
4. Nude: “Classic, chic and sophisticated.”
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