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Anchor

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Last week I taught you an NLP technique, called Switch to help you change those old negative patterns and change them into positive ones. Today I want to teach you another technique that you can use to help anchor in positive feelings that you can use in a variety of different situations. Anchoring is one of the fundamental tools of NLP which can be powerful in helping you to have more confidence, enthusiasm, be more relaxed and can be used to aid sports performance as well. It’s a simple way to allow you to change an unwanted feeling to a resourceful feeling in a matter of moments, and then it’s a tool you continue to use and build on. When you create an NLP anchor you set up a stimulus-response pattern so that you can feel the way you want to, when you need to. In the NLP anchoring the process of associating an internal response with some external trigger so that the response may be quickly, easily, covertly and re-accessed whenever you need to. Anchoring is a process, that on the surface, is similar to the conditioning technique used by the behaviourist Pavlov to create a link between the hearing of a bell and salivation in dogs. By associating the sound of a bell with the act of giving food to his dogs, Pavlov found he could eventually just ring the bell and the dogs would start salivating, even though no food was given. In the behaviourist’s stimulus-response conditioning formula, however, the stimulus is always an environmental cue and the response is always a specific behavioural action. The association is considered reflexive becomes not a matter of choice and this is a great thing to achieve for us in many areas of our life. In NLP this type of associative conditioning has been expanded to include links between other aspects of experience other than purely environment cues and behavioural responses. If we can get a strong calming effect or an instant positive mindset in situations that used to have a negative response then this can make massive changes to how we feel and respond. Using this technique can help you achieve lots of different goals helping you to become a better version of yourself.

The pleasure with this technique is that you can make it perfect for you, how you respond and react to things, designing your Anchor to suit you. A remembered picture may become an anchor for a particular internal feeling, for instance. A voice tone may become an anchor for a state of excitement or confidence. A feeling can be anchored so we can trigger that relaxation within us by the remembered feelings, images and connections to relaxing. It’s time for you to choose to establish the trigger that connects those deeper associations which work for you. Rather than being a mindless knee-jerk reflex, an anchor becomes a tool for self-empowerment. Anchoring can be a very useful tool for helping you to establish reactivate positive mental processes associated with creativity, learning, concentration and other important resources.

Let’s just look of what an anchor means to us, it is where the ship is attached by the members of the ship’s crew to some stable point in order to hold the ship in a certain area and keep it from floating away.  This is exactly what you will be creating with your anchor, the implications of this are that the cue serves as a psychological anchor for you to use and over time also enhance. Anchors serve as a reference point which helps us to find a particular location on this experiential sea and to hold our attention there and keep it from drifting.

Imagine what it would be like if you could, in a moment, go from feeling anxious to feeling decisive and absolutely capable, right in the middle of a stressful situation, maybe in an interview, a conflicting situation or anything that can trigger stress for you. 

I use this technique to help me with my tennis game, I will use this as an example for you to see how it is done.  First, you need to choose a way to use the anchor, I use my thumb and first finger of my right hand and my anchor signal is when I squeeze the two pads of the thumb and first finger together. It can be anything even like squeezing your ear or putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth, it doesn’t matter it just need to be something you can easily access when you need to. Then I spent quite a few weeks while I was playing tennis and I had made a great shot or I got positive praise over a shot or game I played, I would squeeze my fingers together and then think about the shot, the serve, the game etc and how good it felt to play really well.  This overtime has allowed me to build up the positive associations with the anchor and my mind over playing well and it has been stored in one place and at the squeeze of the fingers, I can now access that.  You don’t have to wait weeks to build in the positives, say if you want to instil calm within you, you can also just remember the times you have felt super relaxed and spend the time while being relaxed remembering as many times as you can. Each time you access a memory you want to anchor you connect to your physical anchor the more the merrier.

Once you have filled your anchor with the positive things, you can then start using it to help bring those positive things into your life whenever you need them. For me, with my tennis anchor if I am not playing well, not on form or have played a few bad shots I focus on using the anchor and remember how good it feels to play well. I continue also adding positive things to the anchor with any good shots etc that I make.  Once your anchor is being used it is good to top this up with more positives, the more you make those connections and use It, the better it will work.  This technique can be used for lots of different things but always remember that you can only use one anchor for one issue or it will confuse your mind by adding multiple different feelings. Remember like going to the gym you don’t go once and pop out as superwoman you need to regularly, consistently practice to make changes. This is the same for this technique the more you add positive things into it, the more it will work for you. Also, don’t try and use it too early on, remember you have to build the strength up in your anchor, see it as a real anchor and that each time you add another positive thing to the anchor you can then see another strand growing between the anchor and the point this is being fixed too.

Enjoy using the technique.

Thanks for dropping by Sara

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