Changing your Brain

Science tells us we can change ourselves by changing how we think - and therefore, our brain. It doesn't have to be, however, an uphill climb or a battle of will. You need only learn how to use your brain's innate processes to make the change. The first step is to use your brain's affinity for patterns and habit. According to a recent article in LifeHacker , "you can dramatically change who you are. It's actually not so much that it's difficult to change, but that you've developed patterns and habits that make it easier to do things the way you do them."

The article suggests the age old practice of "priming." It's a technique you might be familiar with through advertising, but it has it's roots in psychology and is over-simplified as "talking to yourself."

The article defines it as "similar to self-affirmation. On the crazier end of the spectrum, it bears some similarities with neuro-linguistic programming. Priming your brain involves reciting a given set of words that are designed to alter your mindset. It is not brainwashing and it cannot make you do anything you don't want to do. What it can accomplish, however, is putting you into a state of mind that will be more useful to you with a given situation or task."

There are several different forms of priming, but Wikipedia gives the simple example of "a person reads a list of words including the word table, and is later asked to complete a word starting with tab, the probability that they will answer table is greater than if not so primed."

The idea then is to prime yourself with words that have an associate value that you want, e.g. happiness. The article gives example for ambition by listing words that normally bring to mind ambition like drive.

So, what are you saying to yourself?