Q.What is an Anchor? – Anchors are the creation of an association between a feeling and a sensory experience such as a touch or a sound.
Anchoring is an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) technique for inducing a certain state of mind or emotion, such as calmness, confidence or relaxation on demand.
We are unconsciously exposed to Anchors daily through many mediums. A song may evokes a happy feeling of a wonderful memory or you see a food advert and it makes you crave the product.
An Anchor can easily be set by following some simple steps enabling you generate a desired emotion or feeling on demand by simply firing your Anchor.
I’m an avid user of Anchors in work and leisure. If I’m presenting to a large audience or feeling particularly nervous I may trigger my calm and confident Anchor I have set on my watch. If I’m starting to flag when out running I will use my running anchor to invoke feelings of strength and power by squeezing my thumb on my right hand which releases a surge of energy.
You only have to watch sports people and you’ll see Anchors in use, whether it’s a lucky charm, a stance or hand gesture.
How to Set Your Anchor
You need to set your Anchor before you need it, it is a proactive, resilience building activity.
For this example I’ll use ‘confidence’ as the desired state required and the left thumb and forefinger as the Anchor point.
- Find a quiet place.
- Decide on what/where you want your anchor to be. The anchor is the thing that you will think of or touch to invoke the desired state, in this example ‘confidence’. This could be a squeeze of fingers, a twist of a ring or a word you say to yourself. Just something new, i.e. if you tend to twist your ring anyway, don’t use it as an Anchor. Make it something that is easy and not too distracting. Touching your toes to gain a rush of confidence just before standing up to deliver a presentation may be slightly alarming to your colleagues!
- Close your eyes, take 3 deep breaths and relax.
- Think back to a time when you felt really confident, it could be when you were a child and had just won the egg and spoon race or the time you volunteered to deliver a leaving speech.
- Think about that experience, and get into that state by seeing it in your mind and hearing the sounds, seeing what you were seeing then, feeling everything you felt. Keep playing this movie over in your mind doubling that feeling of confidence until it feels so powerful. THEN….
- …set you Anchor by squeezing your left thumb and forefinger and counting back from 5-1 and release your thumb and forefinger.
- Break state by opening your eyes and focusing on something else, have a drink of water.
- Now to test that it. Close your eyes and take yourself to a future scenario where you will want to use it. Associate into the situation, seeing what you can see, hearing what you can hear and feeling that feeling of nervousness or anxiety.
- Anchors Away! Squeeze your thumb and forefinger and feel the confidence flow through you. You will probably feel yourself stand taller and straighter too.
Why Do Anchors Work?
You are creating new neural pathways by associating the signal of squeezing of your left thumb and forefinger with the feeling of confidence. The more you do it the stronger it will become.
A great historic example is the experiment by the scientist Pavlov where he conditioned dogs to salivate on hearing the ringing of a bell, by ringing the bell every time he fed them. The dogs psychologically associated the experience of eating with the sound of the bell.
I hope this article is useful to you, please let me know if you would like to find out more about how Anchoring or Hypnotherapy can help you overcome anxiety, depression, stress or any fears such as flying, public speaking, driving etc. firstname.lastname@example.org 0780325 4591