10-second life coach: A positive statement will give you an instant boost

10-second life coach: A positive statement will give you an instant boost

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UPDATED:

00:31 GMT, 1 October 2012

In the Sixties, clinical psychologist Emmett Velten wanted to create a quick way of generating good cheer. What would happen, he thought, if people spoke as if they were happy

To find out, Velten assembled a group of volunteers, split the participants into two groups, and handed each group a stack of cards.

For the first group, the top card in the stack explained they were about to see a series of statements and were required to read each one out loud.

Turn that frown into a smile: If you are having a bad day, make a positive statement and your day will instantly lift

Turn that frown into a smile: If you are having a bad day, make a positive statement and your day will instantly lift

The next card contained the first of the statements: ‘Today is neither better nor worse than any other day.’

As instructed, the participants read out the statement. The second statement to be read aloud was: ‘I do feel pretty good today, though.’

The participant moved through all 60 cards, with the statements becoming increasingly positive.

Those in the second group were asked to read a series of neutral, factual statements such as, ‘Saturn is sometimes obscured by the Sun and isn’t visible from Earth’, and, ‘The Orient Express travels between Paris and Istanbul’.

At the end, Velten asked participants to rate how happy they felt. Those who had said positive statements were in a wonderful mood. But those that had been reflecting on Saturn and the Orient Express flat-lined.

Next time you are having a bad day, make a positive statement and your day will instantly lift.

■ Rip It Up by Richard Wiseman is published by Pan Macmillan at 12.99. To order a copy for 10.99, call 0843 382 0000 or visit mailshop.co.uk/books