Anchor. Thought of as a firm bond between two points. If someone told you to anchor a boat, typically you would use a strong rope, attached to a thick chain, attached to a large heavy metal anchor to keep the boat firmly in one place at sea, safe from going onto the rocks. This idea of anchoring can be used as a metaphor for how two experiences can be bonded together. In NLP, ‘anchoring’ refers to the process of associating an internal response with an environmental or mental trigger. This association is like that firm, strong rope that anchors the ship to a dock.
Anchoring is an incredibly powerful technique for turning on a highly switched on state in your psychology, as if you’re flicking on a light switch. An anchor is a connection between a stimulus and an emotional response, linked neurologically at the peak of the emotion.
When discussing anchoring in animals or humans, it’s typically one of the five senses ‘anchored’ to a response. We see this with our pets. When we go into the kitchen and open the cupboard, they have the anchored a memory that there is food in there. So instinctively the pet would run into the kitchen to see what is going on to make sure they get their food. This anchored memory can be so strong you might see your pet dog’s mouthwatering as you take time getting its dinner. This can be known as Pavlovian conditioning, from the story of ‘Pavlov’s Dog‘.
We experience these types of anchors in our everyday lives, unintentionally. For example, when driving past a McDonalds children may anchor the golden arches with fun and parties, while adults might anchor them to cheap and unhealthy food.
So, how do we intentionally set an anchor?
The Four Steps to Anchoring taught in Excellence Now
Step 1 – Recall a past vivid experience
To set an anchor, you need to choose a memory that have strong feelings attached to it. For example, you may remember the feeling you had of kicking the winning goal in the Grand Final. If you want to anchor confidence, recall a time when you felt really confident. If you want to anchor motivation, choose a memory from when you were highly motivated.
Step 2 – Anchor a specific stimulus at the peak
Relive the memory through your own eyes. When you’re feeling strong, positive feelings, create a ‘trigger’. This could be pushing your fingers together, rubbing your ear lobe, touching your nose. Choose a trigger you can fire in a public place. When the positive feelings are at their emotional peak, fire your trigger!
Step 3 – Change your state
Next, interrupt your mind and your thoughts by doing something different to take your mind off the anchoring process. Sing a song, count from 10-1 backwards or try to remember the smell of popcorn
Step 4 – Test
After you have taken your mind off the anchoring process, test your anchor by firing your trigger. If it has worked, you will feel the same strong feelings you felt in the memory.
To get an even stronger result, repeat the process for the same emotional state that you want to anchor, over and over again!
The keys to a good anchor are intensity, timing, uniqueness, replicability and the number of times you repeat the above process.
In Excellence Now we teach you the process of anchoring as well as creating stack anchors, to ensure you leave the training with the ability to elicit any emotional state you desire at a moment’s notice!
Matt Catling – Your Future Now
14–16 Chandos St,
St Leonards NSW 2065
1800 552 168