The human mind is a fascinating thing. Beneath our conscious awareness and our ordinary, everyday sense of ourselves lies a series of unconscious drives and cognitive and emotional mechanisms.

Psychological tricks of all kinds can leverage these things.

When we hear the phrase “psychological trick,” we might imagine all kinds of nefarious manipulation tactics — ways for companies to create advertisements to make us buy things that we don’t really want or for political leaders to exploit people’s fears to gain power or hide themselves from scrutiny. We might also just think of day-to-day toxic manipulation and abuse that some people suffer in their relationships.

But psychological tricks don’t necessarily have to be so evil and underhanded.

If you understand the human mind — even if only intuitively — you can use that knowledge for a good purpose as well as for an evil one. You can enable yourself or others to better cope with stress or pain, make people more positively disposed toward you or a host of other things.

Psychological knowledge like this doesn’t just come from laboratory experiments. Some people on Reddit have decided to share stories recently about various psychological tricks that they use in their daily lives to help them out in difficult situations.

You might find some of these to be useful yourself.

1. Spread the Joy

People have powerful responses to facial expressions. When they see fear, sadness or joy on your face, that emotion will eventually find its way to them, and they will begin to feel what they see you feeling.

Knowing that, why not spread a little happiness around? If people see you smiling radiantly, a little bit of your joy will rub off on them. If you look happy to see someone, chances are that person will eventually be happy to see you as well.

2. How to Get Help

People want to be helpful. Being helpful makes them feel like good people. Keep that in mind whenever you’d like someone to do something for you. If you can work the phrase “I need your help,” or “Can you help me with…?” into your request somehow, they’ll be more likely to fulfill the request.

This is especially useful for managers and bosses, as your employees won’t feel like you’re barking orders at them.

3. Get People to Open Up

There are various things you can try to get people to open up to you. If they’re shy about speaking, listen closely to them and nod your head when they speak so as to encourage them to keep going.

You might also try saying, “Tell me about your day” instead of asking, “How was your day?” That leaves people more empowered to speak.