If you could access the feelings of happiness, motivation, joy, excitement anytime you wanted, would you want to know how? In NLP we have a technique called anchors that allows us to do just that! Cool right.
What are NLP Anchors?
NLP Anchors are a pretty simple concept – an anchor is simply a connection between a stimulus and a certain emotional response. They work because if a person relives an intense state, and at the peak of that experience applies a specific stimulus, then the two events will be linked neurologically. See Pavlov and his experiments with salivating dogs for proof of this.
We do NLP anchors all the time unintentionally in our own lives. For example, a big yellow M is an anchor for either cheap, crappy food, or maybe a good-value and tasty meal. When in a car and approaching a set of lights which suddenly turn red, this is an anchor for either mild frustration – or knowing to put your foot on the peddle to stop your car or overwhelming road rage – depending on many factors (attitudes, beliefs, disposition, etc…)
The good news for us is that we can anchor certain triggers to positive emotional states – meaning that you can feel confident, happy, positive, energized or downright fabulous on demand.
All you have to do is be able to use your imagination, and have about ten minutes to spare. Depending on how strong the memory you use to anchor is, you can expect NLP anchors to last anywhere from a week to a few months, maybe longer. If you top them up every couple of weeks or so, they last indefinitely.
NLP Anchors – Remember I-TURN
I’m not a big fan of acronyms, but this one works pretty well for NLP anchors. When setting an anchor, keep I-TURN in mind, and you’ll produce incredibly powerful anchors.
I-Turn stands for Intensity, Timing, Uniqueness, Replicability and Number of times. Have a quick look at these, and then we’ll do an NLP anchor together.
Intensity – the more intense the memory you use for the anchor, the more powerful the anchor will be. All you have to do is choose a strong memory and play with the submodalities to make it even more intense.
Timing – As you’ll see below, you want to release the anchor when the positive feelings of your memory are peaking. This guarantees you the strongest response. The best way to get your timing right is to run through the memory once before setting an anchor, and note where the emotions peak. Simple!
Uniqueness – This refers to the uniqueness of the stimulus, meaning that you want a unique trigger that you’re not going to set off inappropriately. Popular triggers include rubbing two fingers together, or rubbing an earlobe. Whatever you want to rub, make sure you can do it in public without people taking offence!
Replicability – This simply means that you should be able to replicate the anchor in the same way you created it, which shouldn’t be a problem. Again, refrain from touching inappropriate body parts if you are planning to use your anchor in public.
Number of Times – The more times you stack an anchor, the better. Like many things in life, the more effort you put in, the better you’ll do. My recommendation would be to spend 30 minutes setting NLP anchors – if you do this, you’ll have an incredibly powerful anchor set. If the thought of investing 30 minutes to improve your life disgusts you, you’ll be pleased to know that doing an anchor just once or twice is enough to get results. Not the best results, but results nonetheless.How to do NLP Anchors
Right, we’re now ready to set an anchor. It’s delightfully simple to do so… enjoy!
(1) Pick a memory. To do NLP anchors, first of all you have to pick a memory with strong feelings attached to it. If you want to anchor “confidence”, then choose a time when you were feeling truly confident. If you want to anchor “motivation”, then pick a memory of when you were super motivated. Simple! (Note – if you believe you’ve never felt this way before, it’s possible to anchor by just imagining yourself as being in a certain resourceful state, but it’s more powerful to actually relive an experience you’ve had personally.)
(2) Associate into the memory. This means relive the memory by seeing it through your own eyes (this makes the feelings more intense). For best results, play with the submodalities too – so make the picture bigger, brighter, more vivid – and ramp up the feelings too. The clearer the image, and the more intense the feelings, the better your anchor will be.
(3) Anchor the feeling. As mentioned above, when you start feeling the positive feelings, create a trigger – I’d recommend rubbing two fingers together, or rubbing an earlobe. Keep doing this until you…
(4) Release at the peak. When the emotion is at its peak, release your trigger. This may take a bit of practice, but you’ll get it within a couple of tries.
(5) Test! Break state, which means that you should do something else unrelated for 30 seconds or so (just to take your mind off this). And then, test your anchor by firing off your trigger. If it has worked, you’ll feel the same strong feelings as you did in the memory!
(6) Repeat. For best results, repeat 10 to 20 times. You can do this with the same memory, or with different memories for the same emotional state (recommended). If you stack 3-4 different memories of “confidence”, for example, the next time you need confidence you can fire off your anchor and you’ll feel a brilliant rush of confidence surging through your veins!
Well, that’s how to do NLP anchors. Anchoring is an excellent way to access positive emotions on demand, and is great if you work in sales (to anchor feelings of success and confidence before a call), are giving a public speech or heading a meeting, or if you just want to feel awesome when you get up in the morning.
With practice, you’ll find anchors are a great to way to feel amazing every day… I always do anchoring with coaching clients to help them to access positives states at will! Connect with me if you’d like to learn more! #coachlynn #nlp #anchors