What is anchoring?
Anchoring is all about whenever we are in an intense emotional state then any unique stimulus that is present at that time will get linked up with the emotion.
The concept of anchoring goes all the way back to Pavlov and his dogs. Pavlov discovered that whenever his dogs were presented with food if a bell was rung at the same time that the food was presented, pretty soon the stimulus of the bell would become associated with food and all he had to do was ring the bell and the dogs would start to salivate even without food being present.
The same thing happens with humans and emotions. For example maybe there is a piece of music that whenever you hear it it brings up a particular emotion inside a few. Maybe it’s a piece of music you once heard when you are having a very romantic meal. Or maybe it’s a piece of music you heard when you felt really motivated and now any time you hear the music you feel motivated again.
That’s exactly the same with anchoring. We tend to link intense emotions to any unique stimulus that is present at the time where in the height of that emotion. And that’s a very powerful discovery. It means that if we want to be more in control of our emotions then we can use anchoring to help us change to a very different state.
And that’s what a resource anchor can do. Resource anchors are about getting yourself back to a time you felt incredibly resourceful-for example when you felt totally confident, or totally motivated, or totally excited, or maybe totally happy and whilst you are in that intense state you create a unique trigger that you want to use in the future – if you want to get back into that state again. For example it might be holding 2 fingers together the you don’t normally hold together. So as you go back to the time you feel incredibly resourceful you hold those 2 fingers together as you feel the emotion starting and release your fingers when the emotion feels that it has risen to its peak.
You might repeat this several times to intensify the Association. And then what you need to do is test that anchor. 1st you get yourself out of the resourceful state and into a neutral state. And then what you do is you hold those 2 fingers together – the same 2 fingers you created the anchor with, and you should find that automatically you start to go back into that emotional state.
The incredible thing is that any time in the future you want to feel that resourceful all you need to do his hold those fingers together and you’ll find you trigger off that powerful resourceful state. So, say you want to feel confident in an interview, if you had anchored confidence, you hold those 2 fingers together before your interview and you’d find you go into that state quickly and easily. There are other anchoring techniques we use in NLP and 2 important ones are chaining anchors and collapsing anchors and we will discuss them on separate pages.