Tony Robbins is probably the most gifted communicator I have ever seen and one of his most amazing feats is that in his live seminars, he is able to take people from feeling depressed to empowered in just one conversation and he’s able to give them the tool so that they can stay there long after the event ends. So in this video, we are going to talk about just one of the techniques that Tony uses to accomplish this — it’s called a state break — and that is anything that you can do to shift someone from one emotion to another. It sounds simple but if you can master this skill, your ability to help other people, to persuade, and to live a more fulfilled life goes through the roof so let’s begin. Who’s really depressed? Raise your hand. Give him my phone, please. Give him a hand. He’s really impressive, for god’s sakes. Tony starts with a surprised-based state break and it works because normally, when people say that they’re dealing with depression, the immediate response they get is advice or sensitivity but never applause. And unfortunately, those well-intentioned pieces of advice often can serve to reinforce that depressed state because it’s the millionth time that person has heard it So if you want to help people break out of a negative emotion whether it’s depression, fear, or anger, one of the best things that you can do initially is give them the opposite response of what they expect. For instance, one time I was upset and I was complaining to a buddy and right while he was acting sympathetic saying, “Mmm, interesting,” he started throwing grapes right at my head. I got pelted right in the forehead and immediately started laughing and throwing them back at him which put me in a much better mood and eventually helped me to move past my upset feeling. In this clip though, surprise didn’t totally break Bob’s negative state which is possible so Tony continues. Bob. Bob? Where are you from? Seattle. That’s why you’re dressed. I know. It’s all the rain. You see here some simple-canned humor. Now, humor is one of the best ways to break someone’s negative state because when something is funny, it is so hard not to laugh. Tony has a number of prepared lines that he knows work extremely well in these very heavy situations. Often, he’ll joke that people are depressed because of where they’re from and other times will tease them for their fashion sense which is what you see at the beginning of the Netflix documentary, I Am Not Your Guru. …I don’t find a way out. What makes you hate yourself? Is it the red shoes? What? Is it the red shoes? No. Are you sure? Because they’re fucking red. Don’t you be smiling like that — you’ll fuck everything up. You see reverse psychology at the end of that clip and it’s another one of Tony Robbins’ state brakes. By the way, I highly recommend checking out that documentary — it’s fantastic. Now, the reverse psychology state brake works particularly well with people that are primed to fight you as is often the case with depressed people who feel that they’ve already heard everything. They’ve become so tired of people trying to crack them that sometimes they purposely resist every piece of advice even if it’s really good. So when Tony tells them to go back into depression because they’re ruining it, they find their own resistance working to help them. Rain. All that rain, darkness — you’re running this depression thing by laughing. That’s why I don’t. Please go back to that depression state. And then another state break is just the light-hearted refrain and that’s joking that this obviously difficult separation might actually have something to celebrate. Are you really depressed right now? Yeah, I just, um… My wife just filed for divorce yesterday. Mmm, that is sad. Um, are you sure there’s not a part of you that’s ready to go, “Yay!” There might be. To be clear, the light-hearted refrain works because Tony doesn’t simply say, “Hey, look on the bright side of things,” and then proceeded to give rational advice. He makes it into a joke, does a little cheer, and exaggerate how excited Bob might feel at the prospect of divorce. Now, Tony continues to bounce back and forth between these types of state breaks and gets Bob in and out of a lightly depressed state at least five times. He establishes a pattern of snapping Bob out of depression as soon as he goes into it so it’s becoming harder and harder for Bob to maintain that state just out of habit. But Tony knows that there won’t always be an audience to laugh with Bob — he is going to be alone at some point without support so Tony needs to teach Bob to snap out of even the most depressed states and he needs to teach him to do it on his own. So once Tony feels that Bob is ready after several state breaks, he’ll quiet the audience and direct Bob to focus intensely on his depression. I need you to get, like, at that level-9 depression, okay? Because I’m not good at this, I need you as a role model to teach me. You nod when you’re at 9. Go to 9 and a half. Tony’s objective here is for Bob to make the depression as bad as it can get so that he can break him out of it and you can see here by Bob’s body language that in this moment, he’s deeper in depression than he has been for the entire interaction — his face has turned downward and he lets out this big sigh. But Tony’s going to continue to push this feeling even further by asking Bob what he is focusing on and even having him beat himself up like he does in his own head. And what do you say to yourself while you’re in this state to be at a depression at 9 and a half? It’s my fault. What else do you say to yourself? Say it the way you say it when you’re most depressed. Say it in that same tone of voice. I really f****d up. Now remember, Tony is doing this because he wants to show Bob that he’s capable of snapping out of even his most depressive spells which is why he took Bob to the lowest that he’s been. To get him out he has to bring out some seriously big state breaks — he’s going to have to have Bob focus on one the most opposite experiences of depression that is possibly imaginable. So watch. Let me ask you a different question. Have you ever had a great orgasm? Sure. It was that good, huh? This is a classic and very intense surprise state break and many people would be so shocked at that line of questioning that they’d immediately lose their depressed state but Bob is a little tougher so Tony has to follow up with a joke-based state break. This is a technique that you can use with people in your own life when they are at their lowest and you may have to use a number of these repeated state breaks so keep in mind that you have joking, reverse psychology, and surprise all at your disposal. Chain a few of these together with a playful attitude and you will eventually break their state then you can do what Tony does and get them to focus on something amazing in their life or in their past to help them experience just how quickly their emotions can shift. Now I want you to close your eyes and remember that moment just for a second in depth. And I want you to breathe the way you were breathing then. Now at that point, what were you focused on? Were you spiritual like, “Oh, god — oh, god,” or like… What did you say? What did you do? You’re not feeling depressed right now are ya? Not right now. Are you feeling depressed right now? No. Ladies and gentlemen, he’s not depressed right now. Here, Tony focus on the body language and the breathing patterns and those are particularly important because they, more than almost anything, feed our emotional state if not more than the thoughts in our head. So if you are struggling to get someone or maybe even yourself to feel better, take a walk or better yet, take a run, go shoot hoops — do anything that forces the depressed person, even if it’s you, to move their body because that will lay the groundwork for them to overcome what they are dealing with. Tony does this with Bob by directly telling him to assume the body language, the breeding patterns, and the focus of the best sex of his life. At this point, Tony has taken Bob from awful depression to feeling great in just a few moments and this is where many of us, well-meaning as we may be, would stop with our friends. But Tony knows that it’s not over because this feeling still hasn’t been internalized by Bob — it’s all done at Tony’s prompting. So Tony needs to see if Bob can maintain this feeling on his own. To begin this process, he helps Bob disassociate from his bad feeling by labeling it as a separate person and this technique very simply can be called labeling. Who was that little pussy boy I was talking to earlier? Give him a name for me so I know who he was. Little Bobby. Lttle Bobby. Little Ball-less Bobby. Yes. Not Big Balls Bob. Let’s give a hand for Big Balls Bob, ladies and gentlemen. So when Bob offers a more empowered name for himself, Tony and the audience give him a ton of positive reinforcement which encourages him to keep it up but the real test is going to be whether Bob can do this on his own so Tony has to do one last test to see if Bob can resist the nothing-has-changed mentality — he’s going to play Devil’s Advocate and assume the role of the skepticism that has lived within Bob’s own head — the skepticism that tells him, “This will never get better.” You’re going to sit down in a few moments and your life won’t have changed. Will it? If I change the meaning, I can change the feeling and the emotion. So yeah, my life has changed right now. Give him a hand, ladies and gentleman. I’ve realized that on the outside, state brakes might not look that special but they are incredibly powerful because you’re not just telling someone, “Hey, things are going to get better,” you’re showing them via their own experience over and over again that things do get better and that is so powerful. Now this isn’t to say that Bob will never again feel sad about his divorce. Grief over the loss of a loved one is normal and it’s healthy but with repeated practice in shifting his own state, Bob can make the grieving process go much more rapidly and he can avoid sinking into a deep depression because of it. He can experience the sadness and move through it with the tools that Tony had showed him. I know that you’re probably not standing on a stage coaching people in front of a live audience but the rules for helping people shift their emotions remain the same even in a one-on-one friend context. So if you want to help a friend get out of a bad place, it’s often not enough to simply explain why they’re being silly or overdramatic or to reason with them about how everything’s going to be okay — their emotional state will not allow them to accept that. First, you must break their negative state through reverse psychology, humor, reframing — whatever it takes — and then you can work on practical solutions. Otherwise, even the best advice will fall on deaf ears. I hope you found this video helpful in adding to your state-breaking tool box or even just learning what a state break is and if you like this video and you want more like it, make sure to click the subscribe button now. Go ahead and click the notification bell as well if you want your phone to actually tell you when we upload so you don’t ever miss a video. If you have suggestions on topics to cover, let me know beneath in the comments. 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