When you create an association you make a connection between two or more things. For example when learning to understand speech you learned to connect words with objects. Some associations can cause an immediate mental and physical change. My dog produces more saliva when I tell him it is "supper time" because he associates those words with eating food. If I show him his leash his tail wags more because he associates it with going for a walk.
People that associate their bed with sleep usually have an easier time falling asleep than people that read or watch TV in bed. I hear the phrase "You are becoming more and more relaxed." when I meditate. Now if I read, hear or say the phrase I feel more relaxed. Association can be used to quickly change your mental and physical state.
With practice you can create your own useful associations. You can associate the time of day or a place but then you can not do it anytime you want. Lets say you are most relaxed when going to sleep and you want to become more relaxed at will during the day. While you are in a relaxed state repeat a number or letter 3 times. For example say "3,3,3" then focus on the moment. You can also use a word or phrase.
Usually it takes a lot of repetition to form an association strong enough to change your mental or physical state. You need to experience the state you want multiple times to form a strong association. Try to be consistent and allow them to work. It can ruin your association if you resist. For example if you associate a phrase with relaxation then you should allow yourself to feel relaxed when you read or hear the phrase.
Useful Amazon DVDs
Some Of My Favorite Associations
There are lots of good associations you can form. Some of them will happen naturally like associating your bed with sleep. Others you will need to work on. When I meditate I often put on a set of headphones and listen to a guided meditation session. While listening to it and following the instructions I become deeply relaxed. The associations I formed allow me to become more relaxed at will without meditating. Reducing stress is good for your health and can make you feel better.
Another good use of associations is to give yourself an energy boost. Practicing tai chi leaves me feeling relaxed and energized. Using association I can quickly duplicate that feeling. It would be better to actually do tai chi when I wanted an energy boost but it is not as convenient as triggering an energy boost with a few words. I could have also practiced qigong, yoga or did something else to boost my energy.
After doing some experimenting I was able to temporarily boost my strength, speed and endurance. For more information about how I did it you can check out my Practical Shapeshifting hub. At first it required a lot of mental concentration but now I just need to think of the trigger word. Using association makes it a lot easier and more fun. I like the pumped up feeling I get after a good workout. It feels good. Using association I can recreate that feeling without exercising.
Trying your best does not always mean you will do your best. You can use association to become more consistent in how well you perform. It makes it easier to do your best more often. I use it to improve my performance. For example when playing golf I pay attention to my good shots. I want to recreate the conditions so I can make another one. Using association I can create a trigger that helps me recreate the mental and physical state I was in when I did my best golf swings.
Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on March 30, 2012:
Great hub. Some great information. Thanks for sharing.