“I’ve had enough of this.., drop the anchor!”
Anchoring as known in NLP, is in a nutshell, linking one thing with another through repetition or intensity or both. So not the same as a ship anchor, lol. It’s also referred to as conditioning.
Advertisers rely on anchoring whether they do it on purpose or not, to create good feelings about their products.
For example.., sex does sell!
How many adverts have you seen with attractive models in them while the product or service being sold is also being shown?
What’s really going on there? What they are doing is by showing something we desire to be or be with, they are creating the feeling of desire and want within our body and mind. Then while we are feeling that, they show us their product or service and the two get linked together by conditioning and association. So we end up feeling desire and want for their product or service!
Sneaky huh. But that’s just an obvious one. Some are way more subtle but just as powerful.
You will have many existing anchors in your life; some positive and some negative. Like hearing a song that reminds you of a past time, seeing police lights flashing behind you in the car and getting that ‘uh oh’ feeling (lol), or smelling a perfume/cologne that reminds you of a past partner etc. Even things like pulling away from a hot stove is an anchored response from a young age where you probably burnt yourself.
So how do we use this common occurrence to our advantage?
We can use self-made anchors to transfer our own feelings that we already have in one area of our life to another where it would be useful.
So for instance, you can take the confidence you have with riding a bike or playing a game and add it to talking to strangers so you feel confident there as well.
So you can imagine how useful that might be.
Keys to effective anchoring:
“What if you found the keys to unlock your potential and escape your self-imposed prisons”
There are a few things to be aware of to get the most out of anchoring.
1) Anchoring can occur in any sense.., sight (visual), sound (auditory), touch/feeling (kinaesthetic), taste (gustatory) and smell (olfactory). For most processes it is more useful to anchor in ways that are easy to re-use the anchor, or what is referred to as firing the anchor, at any time. So a touch anchor is usually easiest for that. All senses have their uses though.
You could, for example, access a feeling of love and desire and attach that feeling to the sight of your partner…! But who would want to do that eh.., lol. It might result in you having a more passionate relationship and that’s just too exciting to think about huh. 🙂
2) Use something a bit unique or unusual for your anchor so that it’s only used when you want it to be and doesn’t get diluted by unintentional use. For instance, for a touch anchor, you could touch two fingers together, or squeeze an earlobe, or squeeze your knee etc. I like to add in a sound when I first fire off a touch anchor as well just for added punch. For a sound anchor (and in this instance I’m referring to a sound you make yourself either internally or out loud) you could say to yourself “hell yeah!” or “bring it on baby!”. Make it something that invokes a good feeling just by saying it and it will help you further than something boring.
3) Create the anchor when the feeling is at or near its peak intensity and then release it when the feeling begins to subside. You want to anchor a strong feeling here, not a namby-pamby one. You can always then ramp the feeling back up again and re-anchor again to strengthen it even further. In fact, that’s the best way to do it. And you can re-anchor the same example of a feeling a few times or you can find different examples of the same feeling and anchor them all to the same unique gesture or sound etc. You can even anchor multiple feelings to one gesture and therefore, create a new feeling! That’s similar in a way to what’s being done in the process in the article ‘pleasure is not happiness’
Creating an anchor process:
Decide what feeling you want to remember and anchor for future use.
Now remember a time when you have felt that feeling before, in ANY context or situation.
If you are having trouble finding one consider this; you cannot know what a feeling is, without having felt that feeling before some time. You simply would not know what joy for instance, is unless you have experienced joy before. So relax and you’ll find one. Or imagine you are someone who does feel it all the time and pretend! Seriously; again, pretending something can only come from having had the actual experience of that something.
Really imagine you are back at that time and get into the experience fully, seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard, feeling what you felt and even smelling and tasting what you experienced as if it was happening right now. Spend some time doing this until you really feel at least close to the same feelings in your body as you did then. What were you doing? Who was there? What was said and what sound is around? Can you feel the environment? Smell anything? How are you behaving?
Really get there!
Amplifying the feeling:
You may get enough feeling back just doing this but if you want to amplify the feeling even further then do this –
Notice what the sensations of this feeling specifically feel like. Do they feel warm or tingling or moving? How would you describe the feeling to someone who has never felt it before? How would you describe joy for instance? Is it an all over warm body tingle that seems to start from the centre and radiate outwards and upwards, constantly circulating? Now experiment with increasing the strength of the feeling by imagining making it warmer, more tingling, moving around your body faster. Whatever is present for you experiment with increasing it. In a few situations decreasing it will make it stronger; like with a relaxed feeling decreasing the speed of movement may relax you more.
Note: Imagination applied to internal experience is surprisingly effective at changing the internal experience; making it follow along.
There are other ways to amplify feelings; here we are dealing directly with the feeling itself. Movement of sensations in the body is a powerful driver of feelings. Notice where the feeling moves. Does it start in your stomach and move up to your head? Which way does it move?
Feeling sensations do tend to move within the body or they become habituated and not felt anymore. So notice for instance if when you feel it moving whether it rotates forward or backward or try it both ways and see which increases the desired feeling.
Try this – notice where the movement starts and where it goes and then imagine looping it in the same direction back to the beginning like a spinning vortex of energy and start to increase its speed. Even if it seems to not loop, make it do so and see what happens. Spin it faster and faster only as much as it makes the feeling stronger!
Now; while the feeling is at its peak or close to it, apply your chosen anchor and hold it as long as you can while the feeling still is strong. Release it if the feeling drops off and repeat a few times.
So for instance, if you’ve chosen to squeeze two fingers together as your anchor then do that while the feeling is at its peak and stop squeezing when the feeling tapers off.
Once you’ve done this to your satisfaction or at least 3 times; stop imagining and shake all this off so you feel normal again, and then test the anchor by firing it (for instance squeezing and holding the two fingers together) and notice that you start to get the same feeling coming back again. Let it build, be excited about that you’ve succeeded, and then release the anchor. If you don’t get much of a change reread the keys to effective anchoring section above and do it again. You WILL get there.
Well done! Now you have an anchor to use.
How and when to use anchors:
You can create an anchor that you physically use in a situation where you need that feeling, like just before a business meeting where you use it each time; or you can create and use an anchor just once within a process where anchoring is useful.
Personally; if you want a specific feeling to be present for a situation, I would use the anchor mentally once rather than physically each time.
How would you do that?
Simple; to use the confidence in meetings idea as an example, create the confidence anchor and then (future pacing in NLP terms) imagine times in the future when you may be in a meeting and fire the anchor while imagining the meeting going wonderfully well and you being confident and excited. The feeling will transfer to the new context just as advertisers get a desire to transfer to their product! Do this 3 or more times (the more the better) in different meeting rooms with different people, on different subjects and at different times to make this a change that occurs automatically without you needing to do it manually. You can, of course, do both. And you can re-strengthen an anchor as often as you like or even as I’ve mentioned add other feelings to the same anchor to create new feelings.
If you want to feel happy more often then again do the same thing; access a time when you felt happy, amplify it, anchor it, and use it to imagine times in the future doing things while firing and holding the anchor so that the feeling of happiness is added to more situations. In this case, unlike the meeting example where you want the change to be in context, imagine and feel being happy in different contexts like at work, with family and friends, at home alone etc. The more different possibilities you imagine, the more the change will generalise to ALL area’s of your life.
What are the limits to anchoring:
The opportunities for anchoring are endless. And I will cover other idea’s such as sliding anchors and chaining anchors in other articles. In fact, it has been said by some well-known therapists and NLP trainers that in effect, ALL change techniques and processes involve anchoring. Because it’s really just a name for transferring a skill or resource from one area/person/situation to another and that’s basically all that change is.
And without discussing them here, you can covertly anchor others to feel certain ways about certain things as well. Although I hope that you would have integrity with such ideas! Unlike some who would use this skill among others for selfish means. Some pickup artists and salespeople fall into this trap. Not saying they aren’t ever acting with integrity, and anchoring with the persons best interest in mind is better done consciously than accidentally negatively anchoring someone, but it is abused none the less.
Be well and have fun.