Knock on wood, keep your fingers crossed ... People who believe that they are fortunate are more confident in themselves and their abilities, so they set themselves higher goals, and they realize them successfully, and it exactly believes in luck and misfortune that is most important for bad luck.
Knocking on wood not to jinx someone is one of the most common rituals of superstition used in the western world to try and take away bad luck, and studies show that it really works!
In five different attempts volunteers were supposed to 'challenge the destiny', then try to drive away bad luck with small rituals or random actions.
Those who chased away bad luck by knocking on wood or rejecting the ball, felt calmer than those who kept the ball for good luck or tapped finger on the forehead. The secret of successful 'fight against the bad luck' is that something is being thrown away or rejected, just like in traditional rituals, such as spitting, throwing salt over your shoulder and knocking on wood.
That way you are symbolically pushing away bad luck and fear that something bad will happen disappears. Research also showed that those who fight spells this way less vividly remember negative events, and this further contributes to being less afraid and worried.
Holding thumbs, wearing amulets or lucky clothes reduces tension and increases faith in your own talent and abilities. Besides that, if people believe that they are happy, they will notice bad moments less. Students were given golf balls before the exam. Those who were told that the ball brings happiness generally did better than those who did not believe in the ball. In the second experiment they had to put as many balls into the hole in the shortest possible time.
People who were told: 'I'll keep fingers crossed', had better results. Those who believe in the influence of happiness achieved better results also on tests of memory, as well as in solving anagrams.
The conclusion is that people who believe that they are fortunate are more confident in themselves and their abilities, so they set themselves higher goals, which they successfully achieve. And it exactly believes in luck and misfortune that is most important for bad luck.
When you spill salt, you should throw a pinch of salt with the right hand over the left shoulder. Salt used to be a very valuable thing. The Romans, for example, used it as a means of payment, and in ancient medicine it was used as means of protection against the disease and to clean the space, so spilling salt was one of the worst things.
Broken mirror, as you already know, brings seven years of bad luck. A long time ago, it was believed that the mirror is actually a picture of the human soul and the spiritual state so its breaking can cause great damage. But, if brought out into the open and the pieces buried under the moonlight, it might remove bad energy, old people claim.
Protection from death
When someone sneezes, we reflexively respond with 'bless you'. This custom has European roots. In many parts of Europe a long time ago it was believed that by sneezing we release the soul from the body, so by blessing we protect the person who sneezed from death.
Thumb marks the first sign of life
Thumbs up represent positive assessment or comprehension of a situation or an event. For Roman gladiators that meant they'll survive another day. Today it is a message of hope or praise of a person. Thumb as a symbol has its roots with early humans who noticed that babies are usually born squeezing their thumb.