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Taking control of your mood with priming

Priming is a wider idea about utilising one stimulus to influence the response of another stimulus. It is used widely in meditation, and carries tremendous mental benefits.

February 28, 2019 11:20 pm

We use priming as a tool in the morning to help us set the tone for the day. Utilising positive stimuli to fill your mood full of gratitude and establish clear focus points for the day ahead. The result of priming allows you to offset any negative energy you may encounter during the day and clarify your vision both from short term up to long term.

Step one: Breath deeply.

In essence, deep breathing promotes blood flow around the body, resulting in a relaxed state of mind, relieving you of stress. Deep breathing also allows you to temporarily become more internal, allowing you to become more mindful of your body and your senses.

You need to get comfortable in a seated position. I prefer to do it in a dark room to minimise distractions. Next you need to raise your arms above your head, maintaining a strong posture, and breath in deeply through your nose. Once you have breathed in, begin to lower your arms, relatively sharply, and breath out. Repeat this around thirty times, focusing on the breaths and on counting one by one. Focus here is key, it will allow you to drown out any external stimuli, making the preceding two steps more effective.

Step two: Express gratitude.

First, take a few moments to feel your heart breathing, continuing to breath deeply. Focus in on your senses. Next, take a few minutes to focus on 3 events, one by one, in which you felt enormous gratitude. Perhaps your best man, giving a speech, praising you. Or when you were told relieving news about your health. Be imaginative. Focus on this situations. Be present in that moment. And, try to feel that same emotions as you did at that time.

Step three: Set goals.

The final part revolves around the future plans, as opposed to past reflection. We like to set 3 goals. One for that day, one for the month and one longer term goal. Perhaps over a year. Focus on these goals individually. Think about how you are going to achieve them, step by step. What actions you must take, logistically, to attain these goals. Imagine yourself having completed these goals, and the emotions of that moment.

Extra tip – I like to play very light music and use a diffuser with oils. Sensory repetition is a great way to bring yourself into the same state of mind every time you use priming. The same smells will bring you into a greater state of focus the more you use it.

Why is goal visualisation and gratitude necessary?

Firstly, the filters you use to view daily events are able to dictate how you respond emotionally to these events. Let’s start with gratitude. Gratitude is an intense and influential emotion. It possesses the ability to shape perceptions. Gratitude will install a positive filter, allowing you to enjoy your day and prevent stress from influencing your mood and decision making.

Both, goal visualisation and gratitude fall under the umbrella of law of attraction; the idea that visualisation of an emotion and reality will ultimately lead you to attain that very emotion or reality. If you think about a goal enough, you will begin to evolve your own psychology, forcing yourself to behave and perceive challenging decisions and everyday events as if you were the product of your end goal, faking it until you make it.

Taking control of your mood with priming
Taking control of your mood with priming
Taking control of your mood with priming
Taking control of your mood with priming

"Gratitude is an intense and influential emotion, possessing the ability to shape perceptions."

The research behind

There has been an abundance of academic research regarding the impact of priming on the human mind and its influence over decision making. However, one which is consistently referenced was done by Yale University.

The research was relatively straightforward. It involved a study member, a single participant, a lift, and a cup of coffee. In this elevator, the study team member, who was only partially informed, would, in a relaxed manner, ask the participant to hold their coffee. The team member would then note down information about the participant, regarding anything that jumped out at them. This would last for about 30 seconds. They would repeat the process with different participants multiple times. Half of the participants were given a hot coffee and the other half a cold cup of coffee. This was the only factor that was manipulated. All others remained constant.

Now we have set the scene, we can introduce the intriguing part. After the experiment, participants were all told to read the exact same description of an individual. They then scored these individuals’ personality characteristics using a survey. The participants that had been exposed to the hot coffee for a matter of seconds in the lift, rated the individual as kind, generous and happy, essentially a plethora of what one would consider to be positive personality traits. Participants who held the cold cup of coffee, as you may be able to guess by now, ranked the person as unhappy, jealous and a variety of other negative characteristics.

It is interesting how something as insignificant as the temperature of a cup of coffee can influence our perceptions of other individuals. However, it inspires opportunity if you are able to self-administer this idea, to generate a more positive perception of daily events and people you may encounter.

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An idea, that I would like to introduce briefly, is ‘mental diet’. Whilst we here at Erbology aim to inspire you to eat more wholesome foods, we also are introducing thoughts around mental wellbeing. If we consider the information we allow into our heads and ensure that this information will best serve us in reducing stress and attaining our goals, we will substantially improve our lives. The aim of the Erbology Editorial is to provide you with simple, readable information so that you can make good decisions with regards to both your psychical and mental diets.

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