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

Do you wake up each morning feeling lethargic and sluggish? Are you apathetic about work or feeling overwhelmed? There’s so much to do – but 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.

If this sounds familiar, it may be time for you to discover the power of priming.

Life can be challenging. When we’re tired and down, it can be hard to remember what achievement, success and fulfillment feel like. But as Tony Robbins says, “Problems call us to a higher level.” You can turn your life around by facing your problems head on, with the mindset of a champion. You can learn to change your state of mind by changing your physical state.

Your morning ritual is a great place to start. What you do in the morning has a powerful impact on the rest of your day. Priming is a way to get your day started off in the best way possible. In this article, you’ll learn the research behind priming psychology, why and how it works and Tony Robbins’ own exercises and proven special techniques.

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

Use the power of priming to conquer your obstacles!

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. It can be done in the morning, to set a productive and powerful tone for your day. It’s also useful for mastering your emotions, giving you a moment to take a breath and control your reaction. Priming theory is backed by research, which has shown that our reactions are “primed” by our moods and experiences. When you learn how to set and reset your mood, you’ll prime yourself for success.

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 answering a short questionnaire, which included either a question about their gender or ethnicity, impacted the subsequent math test scores of Asian American women. 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.

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, because you were still hung up on the event that made you angry? You were feeling the priming effect of your anger, which caused you to react a certain way. Or think of a moment when you were totally in love, and 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 help you cultivate positive emotions and drastically change the quality of your life.

So, how can you use priming psychology to better your life?

How to practice Tony Robbins' priming exercise yourself

Now that you know about the power of priming, it’s time to take control of your state – no more mornings “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” Stop leaving your priming to chance and learn how to get yourself into a beautiful state with 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. You can feel priming effects with just 10 minutes a day. Taking this time in the morning, along with a healthy breakfast, can help you get into a peak state and change your day for the better. You’ll set a high baseline for the rest of your day, so that you can accomplish great things in every other area of your life. 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.

Are you ready to start achieving your goals and creating real, lasting change in your life? 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.