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.
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 this allows you to offset any negative stimuli 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 30 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 must be taken, 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.
"Gratitude is an intense and influential emotion, possessing the ability to shape perceptions."
Why is goal visualisation and gratitude necessary?
Let’s start with gratitude. Gratitude is an intense and influential emotion, possessing the ability to shape perceptions in that the filters you use to view daily events are able to dictate how you respond emotionally to these events. Specifically, gratitude will install a positive filter, allowing you to enjoy your day and prevent stresses 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.
If you’re interested in the research behind it, keep reading…
With regards to the science, 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, which makes for a simple and pleasant read.
The research was relatively straightforward, involving 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 have to note down information about the participant, regarding anything that jumped out at them. This would last for about 30 seconds. This process was repeated with different participants multiple times. Half 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 would be considered 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 tremendously interesting how something as insignificant as the temperature of a cup of coffee can influence our perceptions of other individuals. However, it inspires great opportunity if you are able to self administer this idea, to generate a more positively included perception of daily events and individuals one may encounter.
An idea, that I would like to introduce briefly at the end of this article, is one that is discussed, but not in the quantity that it should be. Whilst we here at Erbology aim to educate individuals about how to best serve their bodies through their diet, doing so through our magazine and indeed our foods, we also are starting to consider the idea of the ‘mental diet’, an idea discussed by man, and one of tremendous value if respected. Individuals must consider the information they allow into their heads, and ensure that this information will best serve them in attaining the goals they have for their lives. The aim of this magazine, particularly with regards to Erbology Lifestyle is to provide reader with simple, readable information to ensure they can make good decisions with regards to both their psychical and mental diets.