Whatever is reinforced - improves. Praise raises the probability of a behavior being repeated. Two rules govern human existence: the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain (punishment). How? One is called Operant (operating) Conditioning and the second, Behavior Modification (B-Mod). Wait.

We want to influence, persuade and convince others to modify their behavior to
favor us, and we want to improve our own behaviors for personal growth in health, success and better relationships, right? Both require Conditioning and B-Mod.


All of us react to stress on a daily basis even if it is just annoying traffic driving
to work. How we respond and adapt to instances of stress in our environment
affects our health, longevity, state of mind, mood and attitude. In other words
our lives.

Stress is the basis for the Flight or Flight Syndrome – it is an alarm the body and mind sound for survival. Stress is from Latin meaning to draw tight. Any physical
or emotional act from seeing an unexpected snake crawling by, to nasty words from
your peer at the office - trigger Fight-or-Flight.

Inquiring Minds need to know: stress triggers your Sympathetic Nervous system
(adrenaline – epinephrine) and your heart speeds up, blood pressure rises and you get ready to fight back or run the other way.

Stress is overcome by your Parasympathetic Nervous System producing Acetylcholine – the relaxation neurotransmitter. Stress overload appears to open the
body and mind to stroke, heart disease and cancer – the Big Three of an early demise.


If you use this baby-easy exercise twice-daily for one-minute each, you condition your body and mind to overcome Stress.

1. Stand up if you are alone or sit at your desk if you are among
others. We do not want your peers to believe you are strange.
2. Wrap your arms around yourself in a tight Hug. Aw come on,
you have seen folks hug. This time grab your right shoulder with
your left hand and vice versa with your right hand and squeeze.
3. Hold the hug for ten seconds and release, arms down.
4. Do another three Hug repetitions for ten seconds each.
5. Simultaneously create a teeth revealing smile by intentionally
pulling both sides of your mouth tight. Feel it in your throat and neck. Yes, create a fake smile on your face for as long as you

Why Self-Hug And Fake-Smile

The act of self-hugging is a psychologically power behavior. How do you feel when you give or receive a hug from another? It changes you state of mind and mood immediately, right? Your body releases endorphins the Pleasure hormone and for the next three-hours you body and mind replay the positive emotional experience.

Get this. Your body and mind do not know the difference between self-hugging and
being hugged by a loved one or friend. Proof? Neuroscientific research using a fMRI
(functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery). No difference, all the same hormones,
neurotransmitters, immune cells, and enzymes are activated.

Your body and mind does not make any distinction between genuine (real) Smiling and Fake-Smiling created by your will power (consciousness). So what?
When you smile you change your facial expression, which affects your body-mind response to move from static or negative to powerfully positive.

If you do the Self-Hugging and Make-Believe Smile twice-a-day for 21 days you create healthy Self-Conditioning and a new Habit. Google: “Neurons that Fire together, Wire together” – in a neural nework. Donald O. Hebb.

So What

Fact: there are over 400 specific human behaviors that we all own. The first is
not wanting to die – self-preservation and survival. Hold it. The mind can
overcome this primary directive by choosing suicide, right?

We come hardwired (genetic and instinctual) with common ways of thinking,
feeling and acting, but the mind (consciousness) can change them. How?
Conditioning and habits.

Conditioning starts by our parents at birth, and continues by society – peers, teachers, and the media throughout life. How? A behavior followed by a consequence that modifies the probability of that same behavior - recurring in
the future.

If you call Mom and get aggravating complaints about why you never call or
laughter, joy and positive feedback, which stimulus modifies your behavior for the future?

Leading Instincts

Moving right along after a) Survival and Security is b) Territoriality – the stuff we own is as precious to us as our left arm. How about c) Sex – it has top priority and is biologically driven to maintain our species. d) Aggression is the power instinct of
competition for everything from mates to war.

e) Hierarchy and f) Rituals are power instincts that motivate, influence and persuade folks to live in a particular culture and society. Freedom – the best governments both protect and leaves their citizens alone. They are based on the authority we give by elections in a democratic society. Voting is a ritual.

Hierarchy is the chain of command, pecking order and where we rank rank. The Principal – Teacher – Student, and CEO - Division VP – Executive – Staff. Consider the authority we give to the Police, Judge and President. That is hierarchy in action.

Rituals are procedures, rites, ceremonies and customs. Would you even consider
not saluting the Flag on hearing the national anthem? How about arriving at your
office at 10am instead of 9 in the morning because you feel like it?

Conditioning And Habit

The human brain is designed to learn by Association of something we know and have experienced in our environment, with a new idea or skill. “If this – then that!”
Cause and effect, stimulus and response. Our memory operates by pictures, mental
imagery and mental movies.

Habit is second nature, and according to William James Harvard Psychologist, ten-times stronger.

Conditioning is based on Behavior Modification (B-Mod) operating on the environment. Just remember – when a behavior is followed by a consequence, it modifies our probability to repeat this rewarded behavior in the Future.

Two kinds of stimuli: reinforcing or extinguishing stimuli. The Good do good because good is rewarded more than doing bad - is rewarded.


Students and executives are being tested all the time. If you have a unique competitive advantage over your peers, you often win all the marbles in your career.
Would reading and remembering three (3) books articles and reports in the time others can hardly finish one - be a career changer?

Ask us for our free speed reading report to discover how to be a power learner.
www.speedlearning.org hbw at speedlearning.org
copyright © 2010 H. Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's
Business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator or speed reading, graduating
2 million, including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents: