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How and Why to Prime Yourself to Use the Bad and See the Good

Priming yourself to be positive? What does that mean exactly?


The term “prime” can be described as something that influences the frame at which you look at something. 


The way in which you are primed of an idea directly influences – what you think of it (“good or bad”), what you do about it, and what comes of it. 


For example, when you were a child, you were often primed to love a lot of things – and I’m sure because of this you did exactly that. In Elementary School we are excitedly met with ideas of “Happy Spring” and “Winter Wonderland” and the delight of simple ideas. We are painted songs of delight, movies of love, and words of kindness surrounding the winter and how it should feel. We are primed to love many simple things, and in response we see the good in these things. Moreover, we increase the good found within them because we relish in it and we denote the idea of “bad”. Through music, words, pictures and language, we develop our understanding based on our priming. 


As a child I would stand in the snow and smile at the sky – while freezing my butt off! This is because I was open to all of its loveliness, I loved and I appreciated winter. This is because I was met every day with images of a winter wonderland and designed to see all the beauty that comes with the winter season. 


Today, it takes a bit more. I might think about how cold it will be when I have to trudge outside to clean my windshield. I think about the walk to the car from my house. I wonder if standing in the snow will give me frostbite.


Only now would I think of these things because I have been incessantly primed to look at winter this way. I would listen to frustrated comments made about the unbearable cold. I would concern myself with the forecast and how low the temperature would drop. I would consume things that primed me to believe the winter was quite short of a wonderland. I was primed to believe that the presence of winter defined; the amount of fun, amount of happiness and amount of comfort I would feel in the season.


Priming works both ways and the good news is- you’re in control of it.


Do not ignore the influence of the things you consume; the comments you hear and believe, the articles you read, the people you spend time with, the movies you watch, even the lyrics of the songs you listen to. They all prime (open your eyes) to think one way or another, feel one way or another. One perspective which is full of certain words, ideas, language could hurt you and another perspective could help you.


It includes all areas of your life and all things you say and do. You may know that you have your own beliefs regardless of what you consume,However no matter how strong your foundation is, there is incomparable evidence that regardless of your personal positivity or happiness, the consumption of negativity enters the mind and influences your thoughts. 


A study done at a school in Dubai experimented with the idea of consumption and how living things respond to positivity or negativity regardless of their natural ability to grow and function. 


In the experiment, for 30 days, two plants, kept in identical conditions with the same amount of light, water and fertilizer, were displayed at a school in Dubai. A  group of children were asked to talk to two plants in two different ways. One plant treated nicely, consuming kind, uplifting and positive language, music and words. The other consumed negative comments, langage, music and words. At the end of the month, the plant that had been on the receiving end of the negativity looked distinctly less healthy, with drooping leaves and brown ends. However the plant that had consumed kind ideas, music and words had thrived with a timelapse video showing a clear difference between the two flowers. The project was called Bully a plant and was designed to raise awareness about Anti-Bullying Day in the Middle East.


This experiment shows how universal the idea is, that what we consume directly influences how we feel, respond and thrive. Filling ourselves with the music, people, movies, ideas, and language that is positive can literally change how you feel about everything. 


You can actively wire your mind to prime for positivity. When you do so, you see so much more of it. “Bad” things become opportunities for greatness, re-routing, and inspiration. Prime your mind to use the “bad” for growth, power, and redirection into a life where you thrive regardless of the uncontrollable. And after a while, scientifically you will be far more able to. 


This is not only beneficial when you speak positively to yourself but when you do it to others. When you explain a positive perspective to someone else- this not only reinforces good feelings and positive, redirecting perspectives for them but it also reinforces it for you.


When you choose to speak kindly about yourself- you are primed to look at life in a good light.


When you choose to speak kindly about others- you are also priming yourself to look at life in a good light. 


You are in control. You can actively reinforce feelings and ways you want your life to look. I personally want my life to feel exciting, romantic, limitless, warm, effortless and grounded. Therefore, I consume ideas that reinforce this. I watch movies that make me feel successful and limitless. I listen to music that is kind, deep and loving.  I read stories that render simple lessons that I want to be reminded of, to strengthen the values I want to have like integrity and grit. I spend time with people that feed me energy, creativity and light. 


Actively priming your life to look and feel how you want it is a tedious and rewarding task. You have to prime yourself to love it, believe that you will love it, say out loud that you will love it, look for how you can love it, and it will love you back a thousand times. It will love you back with everything you’ve ever wanted in its arms. Loving your life no matter what it looks like will give you value in ways you never could have written yourself and open doors you would never have seen before.

Hi, I'm Hannah! I am a Senior Marketing major at Roger Williams University. I love to design clothing, go swimming and thrift with my friends. HerCampus is such an authentic way for women to come together and see how connected we all really are. xoxo