You’ve probably heard of priming your face for makeup, but what about priming your life?
What exactly is priming?
“Priming” is all the rage amongst wellness gurus and entrepreneurs, and only takes ten minutes out of your morning. It combines the best parts of mindfulness, meditation and yoga, to help you reach a peak state of happiness and productivity before you start your day. Think of it as your mental multivitamin.
The recent popularity of priming is thanks to Anthony “Tony” Robbins, the original life coach and author of the iconic self-help tome, Awaken the Giant Within (you may have seen it lurking on your parents’ bookshelf). Robbins has worked with legends such as Serena Williams, Hugh Jackman and Bill Clinton, and believes that by starting your day with priming, you can “change your physical state and, with it, your state of mind”.
I followed Robbins’ priming routine on his website, which outlines each step in detail and also has a handy video to follow. The 10 minute priming routine contains short exercises on breathing, gratitude, visualisation and goals.
Ideally, priming should take place in the morning, so that you start the day feeling energised and focussed. Sitting in a quiet place with some relaxing music will set the scene. I like the ‘Peaceful Retreat’ playlist on Spotify.
The first step of priming is yoga-like breathing, followed by a few moments spent feeling your heartbeat, and thinking about its power and strength.
Next comes a gratitude exercise, which involves re-living three moments of gratitude in your mind. After this is a visualisation task, in which you imagine a bright, healing light beaming into your body to heal and strengthen you and your loved ones. (This might sound nutty, but I actually found it to be my favourite part.)
Goals and achievement is the final part of the priming routine. The task is to select three goals, and imagine what it would feel like to actually achieve them. And then have a stretch – if you’re feeling brave, you can scream as Robbins suggests – and you’re ready for the day.
I tried priming, and here’s what happened.
My personal challenge was to commit to priming daily for a week.
I only managed to do it every second day, and it was always in the afternoon (my toddler screaming for his breakfast at 5am ruled out a morning priming sesh), but I felt that priming was a positive and rewarding addition to my day. I am a naturally motivated person, but can also become discouraged and self-sabotaging, so I was hoping that priming could alter my attitude and approach to life.
During my first priming attempt, I felt pretty silly, and wondered if I was wasting my time. But the deeper I got into the priming routine, the more I began to feel it working. Focussing on happy thoughts and feelings, and visualising that I was sharing it with others, gave me only positive feelings and a sense of peace.
After my first session, I felt energised, motivated and ready to start the day – even though it was late afternoon.
As I’ve continued to prime this past week, I’ve felt a subtle shift in my mood and attitude. I’ll actively notice and file away anything I’m grateful for, such as finding a little toy truck that my son had lost, or having a moment to read a good book in a patch of sunlight. This has made me feel a lot happier and more present in my own life. I’m more motivated and feel as though I could achieve anything.
Priming is the motivational routine I didn’t know I needed. Now, I can’t imagine life without it.
Have you tried priming? Do you think it sounds like a good idea, or a waste of time?
Carla Gee is a writer and illustrator based in the Australian Capital Territory.