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Do You Want to (Re)Program Your Brain? This Is How!

Generally, our personalities and identities are products of many influences. There is this saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” which tells us that the longer we’ve been what people think we are, the harder it is for us to change. The real truth is that we actually CAN always change who we are. It’s not so difficult to change, but we’ve developed patterns and habits that make it easier to do things the way we do them. Trying something in a new way can make us feel a bit awkward. It will surely be less efficient since it is something new to us, and it often lacks excitement for us when it involves giving up the comfort associated with our usual ways.

 “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” — Aldous Huxley 

Where to start from?

We all have some inherent abilities we are born with. Still, most of the things we consider to be part of our identities are products of some influence. The actual change means the change of the influence we accept rather than changing our inner mind structure.

We can make enormous changes if we’re willing to put in the effort and to provide ourselves with the proper influences. Here, we are going to see how to do that from priming our brains to manipulating our own emotions.

The thing called ‘priming.’

Priming is a simple psychological technique that involves us talking to ourselves. It is something like self-affirmation with elements of neuro-linguistic programming.

What we basically have to do is reciting a given set of words that are designed to alter our mindsets. This is not brainwashing as some people might think since it cannot make us do anything we don’t want to do. What it can actually do is to put us into a state of mind that will be more useful to us in a given situation/problem/task.

Priming can be explained this way.  Remeber how you sometimes buy a particular brand of toilet paper that you saw on television even if you don’t remember seeing the commercial itself? You probably don’t even care about the actual toilet paper brand. So, basically, priming works based on your (subconscious) memory. Therefore, all you really need in some situations is just a trigger word and voila! You’re on the right track!

Exercise 1

The goal of priming is to place common words that, when apart, have no real specific weight, but when joined, have an associative value that makes us think of happy/sad things/specific people, or even our ambitions. Now look at those words on this list:

  • motivation
  • purpose
  • go
  • objective
  • do
  • drive
  • create
  • enthusiasm
  • make
  • important
  • commitment
  • eager

These words are synonymous with or related to ambition. The list is designed to be read aloud to put us in a more aggressive mindset, focusing our thoughts and priming our brain to react ambitiously. If we repeat these words in the morning, we should come to remember some again later in the day and immediately associate that word with the value of the group, i.e. ambition.

This is just one example list. You can make different lists on your own following their common relevant value.

Exercise 2

In this exercise, there is a shorter list of priming words from which we have to make a sentence.

  • and
  • looked
  • the
  • smiled
  • girl

We can form the sentence “The girl looked and smiled.” It brings pleasant associations, right? Generally, making sentences out of a list of some positive words can help us put ourselves in the right mindset.

These priming methods are not magic tricks that can make us happy/ambitious instantly. What they can do is to provide us with the mindset required to better accomplish our daily tasks. So, the actual mood is what matters in the first place.

Our emotions

All of us have sometimes found ourselves making decisions based on our emotional state. Our feelings can easily overtake our actions and this should be prevented. As such, rather than letting our emotions lead us towards poor judgment and irrational behavior, we should learn to compensate for different emotional states and to fabricate emotions to alter our specific types of moods.

In order to achieve this, we need to get in touch with our actual feelings. No, we don’t need to cry into a pillow about our wasted time, but to understand what we’re feeling when we’re feeling it. Knowing the actual root cause leads us into realizing what we can do about it.

What we have to do here is to take a look at how we can dissect our emotional state to use it to our advantage, and to fabricate a new emotion through this priming technique.

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