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How should I start each day? What's priming?

What you will get from this article:

  • Discover the science of priming, and how your state affects other aspects of your life
  • Read about two powerful studies that analyze the power of priming
  • Learn the 8-step Tony Robbins priming exercise you can practice each morning
  • Listen to Tony lead a priming exercise that you can follow along with

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The power of priming

Picture this: It’s early in the morning and you have absolutely no desire to get to work. You feel lethargic, apathetic and frustrated – there’s so much to do and you feel as if you have no energy. You want to be focused and feel successful, but no matter how many cups of coffee you drink, you never feel fully energized. You only get a few things accomplished before calling it quits, setting yourself back even more for the next day. Sound familiar?

When we’re tired and down, it’s hard to remember what achievement and success feel like. Luckily, there’s a simple way to change your physical state and, with it, your state of mind. When you’re able to change your state, you’re able to accomplish more and reach a sense of fulfillment. Here we’ll cover priming, a way to get your day started off in the best way possible. You’ll learn the research behind this phenomenon, why and how it works and Tony Robbins’ priming exercise and proven special techniques.

Ready to feel happier and take on the world? Prepare to dive headfirst into priming.

What is priming?

Priming is the act of taking time to adjust your thoughts and emotions, so you can live your life in peak state. There have been multiple studies done about the power of priming, but the one that best illustrates the basis of priming is a study done by Yale researchers. In the elevator on their way to the lab, a member of the study team (who knew what they needed to do, but not why) would casually ask the participant to hold their coffee. The team member would then write down some information about the participant, then get their coffee back. Each participant would hold the cup of coffee for somewhere between 10 and 25 seconds. For half the participants the coffee was hot, while the other half held cold cups of coffee. That’s the only difference between the two groups of participants.

Here’s where it gets interesting. In the lab, all the participants read the same brief description of a person. They then rated this person’s personality traits using a questionnaire. The people who’d held hot coffee for those few seconds in the elevator rated the person as more generous, happy, better natured and more social than those who’d held cold coffee. People who’d held the cold cup were more likely to say the person they were rating was unhappy, irritable and selfish.

Remember, there’s absolutely no difference in the profiles both groups read, but how they reacted to the descriptions was significantly different. The strangest part? They had no idea they’d been primed.

In another example, a Harvard study looked at how Asian-American women answering a short questionnaire included either a question about their gender or ethnicity impacted their subsequent math test scores. Those who were asked to identify their ethnicity scored 11% higher than those who were asked to identify their gender and 5% higher than the control group (who didn’t have a question about their gender or ethnicity before the test). Once again, they all took the same test, but that single question before they took the test made a huge difference. This is the power of priming.

So, what does priming mean? We bet you’ve experienced this phenomenon yourself. Think about an instance when you were angry or frustrated – did you then overreact to a small problem? Did everything seem worse, even though you were still hung up on the initial event? Or a moment when you were totally in love, and then felt that nothing could go wrong – that was because you were primed by the feeling of love.

The bottom line? Our thoughts, feelings and emotions can be primed by factors we’re not even aware of, which greatly impacts our performance in other aspects of our lives. When practiced correctly and often, priming can drastically change the quality of your life. So, now knowing what priming is, how can you use this exercise to better your life?

How to practice Tony Robbins' priming exercise yourself

Instead of leaving your priming to chance, take control of your state by following Tony’s priming exercise. Read through the steps below, then listen to Tony guide you through the entire process in the video below.

The 8 steps for your 10-minute morning priming:

Priming doesn’t have to be a long process. Taking just 10 minutes out of your day in the morning can help you get into peak state and change your thoughts and actions for the better. Here’s how you can start priming today.

  1. Sit: Find a chair in a relatively quiet area and sit actively. Place both feet on the floor, shift your shoulders back, chest up, and hold your neck long and your head high.
  2. Breathe: By changing your breath, you change your state of being. Tony’s own method is to do a breathing exercise with three sets of 30 breaths each with a pause in between each set. 1 MIN
  3. Begin heart breathing: Put your hands on your heart. Feel its power and strength as you breathe into it. 30 SEC
  4. Practice gratitude: Think of three things you’re really grateful for right now. They can be from your past, your present or your future. When you think of the first thing, create as clear an image of that moment as possible, stepping into it with your mind. After about a minute, go to the next thing, then the next. *Pro tip: Make one of these things simple, like a child’s smile or someone saying “thank you” who really meant it. Even on bad days, you can find something small and meaningful to be grateful for. 3 MIN
  5. Visualize: Now comes the part that’s like a blessing or a prayer. It can be as spiritual as you want it to be. Tony imagines colored light coming down and filling his body, healing anything – body, thoughts, feelings – that needs to be healed. Imagine that any problem in your life is being solved. Ask for the best parts of you to be strengthened. 1 MIN 30 SEC
  6. Share: Now send all the energy you’ve gotten through your healing and strengthening out to the people you love. Feel the energy going up and down, pouring out to your family, loved ones, colleagues, clients, friends and even strangers you’ve only met once. 1 MIN 30 SEC
  7. Focus and celebrate: Now think about the three outcomes or goals that you want the most. These are things that will excite you once they’re complete. Now feel like they’re done. Celebrate that feeling of completion and victory, visualize how it will impact those around you. As with gratitude, go through each outcome one by one, fully experiencing the feeling of success. 3 MIN
  8. Get ready to rock: Now give your body a little stretch and go tackle the world.

If you practice priming regularly, you’ll experience an incredible shift in the quality of your thoughts and emotions. When your mind is more open to new experiences and positive ways of thinking, you’ll not only find more fulfillment in the everyday, but become more able to reach your goals, too. But don’t take our word for it – give it a try yourself.

Use the power of priming to conquer your obstacles

Combine the practice of priming with creating empowering beliefs in order to reach your ultimate goals. Learn how to combat negative thoughts with Tony Robbins’ Limiting Beliefs guide.