Controlling Your Mind to React The Way You Want
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Some of you might be familiar with Pavlov’s dog experiment. This experiment was done by Ivan Pavlov to measure how much his dog salivated and what response it had to food under different conditions. He soon found out the dog would begin to salivate before he was even given the food. He soon got the idea to ring a bell before the dog was fed and then give the food to the dog. The dog soon began to associate the bell with food, so he would salivate when the bell was rung.
Using this same conditioning principle we can use mind control on ourselves. Perhaps you don’t want to salivate at the ringing of a bell, but what if you became confident before talking to a stranger or felt happy during a hard time? You already have feelings that are triggers by actions, so the hard part is just reprogramming yourself into new feelings for a trigger.
First you must identify the stimulus that is causing the reaction. It might not be as easy as you think. Some things are easy, such as the fear of public speaking is caused as soon as you have to speak in front of an audience. A little harder is finding the reason you hate going to work. There could be many different things that cause this feeling, so you have to identify all of them in order to change your reaction.
Once you have found the stimulus, find out the behavior you would like to replace it with. If you have a fear of public speaking then you can practice relaxing once you start to feel scared. If you aren’t enjoying work, then practice feeling happy at work. Here are a couple suggestions for reactions:
Once you have established your behavior, then you must perform the behavior every time the stimulus happens. It is important to always perform the action immediately following the stimulus. As soon as you feel fear as you are about to speak in public then relax or if you start to feel unhappy because work is boring then you start to list off all the happy things in your life. The key is a repetition of the behavior each time. This means that you have to react to the stimulus many times before it will work fully, but it is worth the wait.
If you do not perform the reaction each time then you risk losing the association with the stimulus. If I start to talk to a stranger without giving myself a pep talk each time, then the fear might come back. I might be able to still feel confident a few times, but it will start to fade as I get used to speaking to people without giving myself a confidence boost. Perhaps you will find that you don’t need it. You might feel more comfortable that you don’t require the confidence boost anymore, or you already feel happy. That is great, then you don’t have to keep up the reaction. If you find you start to fall back into the old habit then start practicing the reaction again.
A different approach using the same technique.
It might be easier to associate an action with a reaction in order to apply to multiple situations. An example of this would be continually thinking positively after you think a negative thought. You might think many negative thoughts, but they will be replaced with positive thoughts. Another example would be feeling relaxed every time you put your hand on the back of your neck. You could use this method to easily relax yourself anytime or to feel happier. You can use it for multiple situations such as relaxing before public speaking, talking to strangers, skydiving, etc.
The same techniques apply, but instead the stimulus is an action you perform instead of a feeling. Every time you want to feel relaxed then put your hand on the back of your neck. Once your hand is on your neck then practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, stress reduction, anything that achieves the desired effect. After repeating this then the mere action will start to produce the reaction you want. If you are stressed then touch the back of your neck. It will trick the mind into doing what you want.
Here are a few situations you can apply this to:
If you have any good uses for these techniques, please leave a comment about it.
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