Wouldn’t you love to feel good for no reason, or to be able to trigger empowering images just with a simple technique, or maybe to instantly slip into relaxation? I don’t know about you but that sounds great to me and this can be easily done using a Neuro-Linguistic Programming( NLP) technique called Anchoring. In this article, I will share with you what is anchoring, how to use it and how you can instantly apply it.
Your life has been affected by anchors, even though you may not have set them up intentionally. For example, hearing a song on the radio that reminds you of your high school date when you had a crush. Just by hearing this song, you are transported back to that moment and probably start feeling the same emotions that flooded your mind and body at that time. I have been using this anchoring for many years and it has helped me to maintain calm, happy and relaxed even through difficult times. It is part of my arsenal of techniques and tricks that will assist me in living to 100. Keep reading and by the end of this article, you too will be able to instantly feel good for no particular reason. Pretty cool hey!!!
So what is NLP Anchoring?
Bandler & Grinder founders of NLP define it as:
“Anchoring refers to the tendency for any one element of an experience to bring back the entire experience”.
The most famous example of NLP anchoring was demonstrated by a Russian scientist called Ivan Pavlov. He rang a bell every time he fed his dog. Very quickly the dog was associating the smell and taste of food with the sound of the bell. Sometimes he would ring the bell and the dog would start salivating even if no food was present. He was able to prove that an external trigger ( the bell ) caused a physiological response from the dog (salivation ) in the absence of food or smell.
The same can be applied to humans. We can use NLP anchoring to psychologically associate a signal or trigger with a physiological response (an emotion, mood or mental state) of your choice. The trigger or” Anchor” can be squeezing your fingers together, placing your hand on your heart or on your chest, or snapping a rubber band on your wrist. We usually want to elicit a positive physiological response like a feel-good emotion, a relaxing mood, an empowering state of mind, or simply a happy feeling.
This NLP anchoring also works if you are drowning in negative emotion. Just by triggering a positive emotion, you can extinguish the negative one, and if you repeat it enough times it will disappear altogether. When you master this NLP anchoring technique you can choose to experience peace, joy, gratitude or relaxation no matter what is happening in your life.
NLP anchoring can be especially useful in clearing the past. Often we hold positives as random experiences and negatives as patterns. By intentionally anchoring positive experiences, the brain can also experience them as patterns, furthering brain integration.
By now you must be dying to give NLP anchoring a go!!!
5 Easy Steps to learning NLP Anchoring Technique:
1. Think of how you want to feel (e.g. confident, happy, calm, loving, empowered, etc.). For this example I will pick, feeling happy!
2. Pick a place on your body where you would like to place this anchor. This could be grabbing your wrist, tapping your chest, a clap, a gesture, pinching your fingers, touching your knuckle or squeezing a fingernail. This physical touch will allow you to trigger the positive feeling at will. It doesn’t matter where you choose, as long as it is unique. For example, give your right index and your right thumb two long squeezes.
3. Think of a time in the past when you felt that state (happiness in this case). Mentally go back to that time and float into your body, looking through your own eyes and reliving that memory. See what you saw, hear what you heard and feel the feeling as you remember that memory. You will begin to feel that state of happiness invading you as you pay attention to all the details of that happy memory. The more intense the experience that you are having at the time of setting the anchor the stronger the response is going to be. It is important to add as many senses as possible to your happy memory. Pay attention to the images you are seeing, how bright or colourful they are. Sounds are important too. Did you hear voices, a particular piece of music, or simply a noise, how loud were they, etc? In that memory, also recall where in your body you felt this happiness, did you have butterflies in your stomach, did you experience this well being in your head, did it move up and down your body or did it stay still.
Don’t view the memory from a distance; the feelings won’t come back. You’ve got to ‘be there’ again.
Relive the memory until you begin to feel the happiness coming over you in the same way you felt it at the time.
4. Just at that precise moment apply the anchor you have chosen ( in this case squeezing my right thumb and index twice) and check that the desired state of relaxation occurs again. Hold this anchor squeezed for a few seconds, until just before the feeling of happiness starts decreasing. Then you can release the anchor. As you do the second squeeze, make the picture of the happy moment larger, bringing it closer to you, and imagine the happy feeling multiplying in strength.
5. You may need to repeat the anchoring process a number of times to make the experience sufficiently intense and to encode it into your neurology.
What is happening in our brains when we do this?
Our body is controlled by our Nervous System. Consciously and Unconsciously. So nerves are running through our body. When you press with your right index finger on your right thumb it is registered by the nervous system that you press. This pressure takes a fraction of time to be registered by the brain. Hence why you hold your fingers together before the happy memory and you release them just as the memory starts decreasing.
By using this anchor, you are psychologically associating this neural signal with a “happy” state of mind. Therefore it stands to reason that the more times you lay the anchor (as above) and the more clarity you have in the feeling, the better this technique will work. This is known as conditioning.
ONE OF MY MOST POWERFUL ANCHORS
This anchor brings me back to our holiday in Thailand. We decided to spend 4 weeks trekking from Koh kut, Koh Chang all the way north to Chiang Mai. While in Koh chang I booked myself on the best wreck dive in Koh Chang, the HTMS Chang Wreck.
Formally known as the USS Lincoln County, HTMS Chang is Thailand’s longest wreck at 117 metres / 384 feet and sits at 30 metres / 100 feet underwater. After more than 50 years’ service in the Royal Thai Navy, it was sunk in 2012 to create an artificial reef.
I was so excited as I boarded the dive boat. I was paired with a Russian diver, as I was the only one on the boat who could utter a few words in Russian.
The second I hit the water and started descending in the deep blue, I was invaded by an immense feeling of well being and deep happiness. During my descent I felt the warm water around my face, my ears softly adjusted to the pressure, the colours fading as the deep blue took hold. As the shadow of the wreck appeared, I enter a huge school of fish, all pointing in the same direction and calmly swimming in the current. Thousands of them surround me, I looked up and still could see the boat, the sun and more divers descending. It was utter bliss, I felt so happy, grateful and fulfilled at that precise moment that my eyes fill up with joyful tears. The emotion was intense and probably lasted for a minute or 2. I was noticing everything. The sounds of the bubbles coming out of the regulator, the fish crunching on the coral, another diver humming a tune…As I slowly glided around the wreck, I noticed a few more eels, some lazy stonefish, snappers dancing around the mast, it was absolutely bursting with marine life...and then it was time to ascend back to the real world. Finally I climbed the ladder to the boat and sat down to remove all my diving equipment and although my body was out of the water, my mind was still 30m below the waves.
I could go on and on to describe the full array of feeling and sensations I experienced on this dive but it would take many more paragraphs… this was by far one of my richest sensory moments and I have used this image or mind movie many times as an anchor to elicit a happy feeling.
Now it’s your turn to recall those beautiful memories and anchor them.
If you want to share them with me please do !!
Take care my friends, until next week.
Smart Living To 100