Updated: Aug 22, 2019
I'm going to try to briefly summarize hundreds of hours of classes, reading, and study in hopes that the more curious and skeptically minded can have a vague idea or quick refresher of the underlying principles being utilized, so they might pioneer and refine their own practices, as well as have the faith and dedication to properly utilize these techniques.
1. Conditioning, the human mind, and how we file, process, and store information. The subconscious mind stores and processes all the information from our experiences together. It's part of our basic learning and survival mechanism. It's how we make sense of the world, as well as anticipate what's going to happen next. We associate things. Then when we hear, see, feel, or smell something.. our body has instant access to a world of information that it reflexively accesses and responds too. It's called "being triggered" (which has unfortunately taken on new meaning, in pop culture, but in essence the principle holds).
This process of creating these triggers is called "classical conditioning" or "Pavlovian conditioning" (Made popular by the Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov while researching salivation in dogs in response to being fed.). Basically Pavlov discovered, that unconnected stimuli could be connected to produce a physiological response. i.e. He could ring a bell while feeding the dogs, until the bell became associated with food. Then if he rang the bell, the dogs mouth would water and they'd get hungry.
This works, in tons of different ways, with pretty much every system in the human body.
Feelings like anger, happiness, arousal, motivation, peacefulness, relaxed well being etc. can all be conditioned and triggered. It also works on brain states and abilities, like memory and focus, as well as the physiological release of chemicals and the functions of the entire human body. You can change someones heart rate, body temperature, tigger releases of chemicals in the human brain, strengthen your immune system, increase fertility (nearly doubling ones chances of becoming pregnant, in one study) etc etc.
Understanding the basics of conditioning, gives us the keys back to our own minds. It's kind of like having a super power, to feel like you want.
So what you want to start doing is creating and controlling how you think and feel and building your own "conditioning" so you can think and feel like you want to, when you want to. Like having a neat computer program you can "run" whenever you want something specific to happen.
Hence "turn on a light" and think happy thoughts. Do it on a regular basis and you'll start ingraining motivation and happiness into your physiology until it becomes automatic, spontaneous, AND on demand. As easy as flipping a switch.
The human mind rolls all five senses into one memory, and associates them. Smell being one of the strongest. So if you have a special deodorant or perfume/cologne reserved for date night, A+. You can activate multiple associations by wearing a special fragrance, wrapping your arms around someone, and touching them in an a-typical way.. e.g. kissing them on the neck or holding their lower back/other things in a special way. Keep it natural, keep it subtle.
Same thing for motivation rituals. If you want to put on some music, a fan, a ticking timer (sound).. turn on a special light (sight), burn some incense or defuse some oils (smell), sit in a special chair or clasp your hands in a unique way before you get started (touch), and sit down with a nice cup of tea (taste). You'd be set for a combo motivation ritual.. and you really will feel it. The power of your intentions / feelings have real chemical implications in your body. Be mindful, set your intentions, be inspired.
When you or someone you know is getting all riled up, use what is called a state break. Anything shocking, different, or distracting. Change locations/activities. Go for a walk / get out of the house. Take a time out for a tea. Whatever. Break the current patterns with something different. If you're looking to change your whole life.. then mix things up. A mentor of mine, had a guy who had spent the last couple of years sitting on his couch being depressed, take the damn couch out back, and light the damn thing on fire. It was a symbol of change, and the turning point for depression in his life when nothing else had worked. (p.s. please light couches on fire responsibly). By breaking patterns it allows us much more freedom to establish new ones.
Key points: State break + mindfulness + intention = Real Change. A little bit of dedication will take you a long way. But symbols only have meaning if you give it to them, so before you get a hair cut and intend on changing your life, make sure the intention and resolve is there, then it will work. Change up a room, clean, get a haircut, new wardrobe, start a blog, whatever. Set and hold that intention, make it fun, make it interesting (then break old habits and make the ones you want).
For me, it was as simple as not playing a highly competitive video game, with an angry player base, first thing in the morning. Instead I'd turn on a light, and start compiling my notes for a book on motivation.
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