Anchoring, You Already Do It
Anchoring is a term you may be aware of from the worlds of NLP and Hypnotherapy; however, it is not this new technique which you need to learn. Anchoring is a part of human nature and it is something you already do. So, what is anchoring? According to NLPWorld.co.uk it is:
“Anchoring is a neuro-linguistic programming term for the process by which memory recall, state change or other responses become associated with (anchored to) some stimulus, in such a way that perception of the stimulus (the anchor) leads by reflex to the anchored response occurring.”
Now I don’t know about you but that seem like a lot of jargon to me. That definition is an incredibly complicated way of describing something so simple and so natural.
Anchoring is all about using the memory of a feeling to make you experience that feeling. This is done by using a gesture, sensation or object as a trigger of the memory. An example of anchoring that we all do is when you have a special piece of clothing or jewellery that makes you feel more confident, for me it is one of my jackets.
Now let’s talk about how you can use anchoring more in your life. I have a friend who was terrified of public speaking, his voice would crack and he would turn red anytime he tried. However, if you gave him a guitar he would happily be on stage in front of any number of people. What he needed to do was to bring his confidence when he has his guitar to when he does not have his guitar. My advice to him was to keep a guitar pick in his pocket whenever he was public speaking so that anytime he got nervous he could feel the pick in his pocket and even secretly hold it in his hand. The sensation of the cold plastic in his hand would trigger memories of him playing guitar and allow him to feel a lot more relaxed and confident.
Now you may be thinking that it is fine for this person as they were already a performer and that is true, but this can be used by anyone. I remember talking to someone who had a massive fear of public speaking but wanted to give a speech at their wedding, it terrified them. They were not a performer and had no experience of public speaking. What they did do was host board game nights with their friends every month. This was their comfort zone. This was where they were confident. So, on the day of their wedding, after a lot of practice, they gave that speech and killed it; holding a monopoly piece the entire time.
It is important to remember that anchoring isn’t always about physical objects, your anchor could be a song, a sensation, a smell, a taste or anything you want. A great way to build an anchor if you do not recognise one you already have or would like one for a different feeling is to sit quietly in a room, close your eyes and focus on a memory which gives you a certain feeling. As you quietly sit their and replay this memory over and over again in your head, you can make it more vibrant and make the feeling stronger and stronger. As you are doing this pick an act such as pressing on a certain part of your hand. Continue to do this act as you replay the memory. Do this a number of times and your brain will build a connection between the feeling you are experiencing from the memory and the act that you are doing. What is so powerful about this connection is that it is a 2-way connection. This means that once you have built up a strong enough connection you can trigger this feeling by performing the action, such as pressing on a certain part of your hand, at will.