This simple but powerful NLP technique enables you to have access to the states and resources you want, when you want them. To make the most of anchoring with NLP, it is important to really engage in the experience.

Wish you could recreate feelings as and when you want to? Ever wished you could keep a positive feeling for longer? Just follow these simple steps using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).

Walking along the seafront with my partner Sara one recent Saturday morning was wonderful: the warmth of the sun on my face, the salty sea air smell, the smiles on other people’s faces, the shouts and laughter of excited children – my senses were almost overwhelmed.

Later, after my friends had teased me about my pink forehead, I told them I was really looking forward to summer and as I spoke, I felt the warmth of the sun on me, i imagined the fun I had on the beach and remembered the amazing feeling of joy that I got from being there.

This as a natural phenomenon that anyone can replicate with NLP techniques. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a methodology for helping to make changes. The time I had spent on the seafront earlier that day had acted as an anchor for the wonderful experience which immediately followed it. The next time I saw and heard the experience, albeit in my mind, my brain started to produce the intense physical responses that it ‘knew’ were coming next.

What is an anchor and why is it so useful?

In the field of NLP, an anchor is any representation in the human nervous system that triggers any other representation. For instance, the word ‘sex’ will immediately trigger images and sounds associated with that word. The word ‘fire’ will trigger different associations. In these cases, the anchors are words but anchors aren’t confined to words. With NLP, we identify that anchors can operate in any representational system (sight, sound, feeling, smell, and taste).

Tonal: For example, the special way a certain person has for saying your name. My mother shouting my name when I was a child often signalled the fact she had discovered something I had done and that meant trouble for me!

Tactile: The sensation of a reassuring hug can rekindle wonderful feelings.

Visual: I recently had lunch with friends and several of them commented on the jacket I was wearing. Now, whenever they see it, it reminds them of those comments and makes them smile.

Olfactory: Smelling certain foods being cooked can suddenly make you remember the school cafeteria, for example.

Gustatory: The taste of your favourite food can make you remember how you felt when you had it before.

While the anchor I created for the sea front was unintentional, it is possible for you to use this NLP technique to anchor yourself intentionally.

Feel Good Whenever You Want To?

This simple but powerful NLP technique enables you to have access to the states and resources you want, when you want them. To make the most of anchoring with NLP, it is important to engage in the experience and make it wonderfully vivid in your mind, really put effort into recalling it the first few times so you can activate your NLP anchor. The use of your thumb and forefinger is an example of a tactile anchor, but you can use any representation to anchor something for yourself or someone else.

To get a ‘strong’ anchor for an experience, it is important to remember the following:

a) Ensure that you have a powerful example of the experience to work with.

b) Anchor in as many representational systems as possible: Use sounds, images, feelings and sensations as much as you possibly can.

c) Set the anchor just before the experience peaks.

d) When you activate the anchor, do it accurately, be as precise as you can!

e) With tactile (using feelings and sensations) anchors, pulsing the anchor can help to maintain or enhance the experience.

Now set your own anchor

1: Think of an occasion when you had a highly pleasurable experience. See what you saw then (looking out through your own eyes), hear what you heard and feel what you felt. As you feel the sensations increase in intensity, squeeze the thumb and forefinger of your left hand gently together for a few moments then release them. Now ‘break your state’ (for example, remember what shoe you put on first today). Squeeze your thumb and forefinger together again, gently pulsing them. The state will return.

2: Identify something that someone you know already does, and create a subtle anchor. Set the anchor while they are doing the activity. Later, use (or ‘fire’) your NLP anchor and see what happens. If they do the thing you anchored, then it worked!

3: When you experience something you want to have more of, anchor it.

Use your NLP skills wisely – it’s a powerful technique. In the meantime, become aware of when it is being used on you: advertisers, politicians and stand-up comedians all know the power of NLP anchors and use them with great cunning (and to great effect). Awareness with NLP is the key – have fun.

By Adam Eason


NLP Anchor Altered States NLP Skills Neuro-Linguistic Programming Adam Eason


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