State – the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time.

Alcohol is a powerful state changer. Once the first drink is poured the placebo of what's to follow kicks in and your state can change in an instant. The stress of the day melts, those worries vanish – it's time to relax and have fun. This ability to create instant state change is a powerful attraction. But there is a price to pay.

The quick state change alcohol offers is often followed by a debilitating state the next day. The same troubles exist only now anxiety, lethargy and lack of motivation also rear their heads. The short term loan of a carefree state is paid back with long term pain and suffering. But guess what – there is an easy way out – have another drink and change state again. So begins the merry go round of drinking to feel better, only to feel worse the next day and then drinking again to change state…

The alcohol-free way to change state

What if we told you there were other, more powerful, ways to change state?

‘Your behaviour is the result of your state, and your state is the result of your internal representations and your physiology. Both of which you can change in a matter of seconds.’ Antony Robbins

Alcohol is not the only state changer. Right now you possess all the skills to produce a massive state change in a matter of seconds. Just think of a time when you moved from a relaxed state to alertness in a flash. Perhaps you were chilling at work and the boss called your name. Quick as lightening you shift into a peak state.

Another great example of state change is when you have a social occasion looming and the thoughts of socialising is totally unappealing. However, by the time you arrive at the event your state has totally changed and you have a great time.

This is because your state is fluctuating all the time. On the way to the event the fresh air starts to snap you into action, you have to walk and stand upright, your physiology starts to prepare itself. Then you enter, meet someone and a new state takes over, you are now a million miles from the relaxed couch like state. From this new starting place you have the resources to enjoy the event and meet lots of people. It's key to remember that we are moving in and out of different states all day long. The skill is to learn how to manage your state to support your alcohol-free adventure.

The guru of state change, Anthony Robbins, suggests you can affect your state by changing your physiology and internal representations. Let’s start with your physiology – try the exercise below and add this to your state change tool box.

Motion is emotion

Take 60 seconds to try the exercise below:

  1. Starting position: Sitting or standing, with your shoulders bent inwards towards your chest, with your back also arched inwards.
  2. Let your arms and hands swing down by your sides. Lower your head in line with your shoulders. Basically, you are going for the sulky teenager posture.
  3. Quickly note how you feel in this position, I would wager you don’t feel dynamic.
  4. Now slowly uncurl from this position. Bring your shoulders back slowly.
  5. Start to raise your head. Straighten the spine and neck to create a nice straight line from the top of the head to the bottom of the spine.
  6. Pull your shoulders back, lets your arms relax, make sure your head is upright and looking forward.
  7. If you are sitting down – stand up.
  8. Take a nice full breath as you stand tall.
  9. This posture is bright and alert. Note how you feel now.

Physiology is the foundation of performance, which comes from the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed camp. Head up, shoulders back, eyes forward, generally alert.

The next time you feel unmotivated try this exercise, you will soon find yourself in a state that paves the way for action and motivation.

This is a wonderful example of how changing your physiology can change your mood. The reason this exercise is so powerful is that it starts to provide you with options. There is a tendency to believe that the only way to move state quickly is to have a drink. But we have all the skills we required to achieve this without alcohol.

The key is to notice what state you are trying to achieve and then put measures in place to make this happen using positive healthy actions.

For example moving towards a relaxed state after work. Perhaps you have used a cold beer to make this happen. Well now you have a few more options. The easiest solution is to keep the cold beer but make it alcohol-free – simple. Or experiment with other ideas such as a bath, reading, walk, meditating, listening to music or exercising the list is endless and unique to you. The point is that you can achieve the state you desire, albeit with it a little more effort, without reverting to the easy alcoholic option and all the negatives that come with this choice.

When you put these measures in place, very quickly those old unhealthy habits are overwritten with new healthy empowering ones. Learning how to change state using healthy alternatives is one of the keys to lasting habit change.

In the follow-up blog, state changer part 2, I will discuss how we can manipulate our internal representations to change our beliefs and in doing so – our behaviour and state.

If you want to discover more ways to change state in an instant then why not join us on a 30, 90 or 365-day alcohol-free challenge? All you have to do is click here and we will do the rest.

Good luck on your alcohol-free adventures,

Andy Ramage

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