‘Anchoring’ is just a funky term for ‘stuff gets connected in your brain’. It happens naturally all on its own. Basically our brains make connections between what we are feeling and things in the environment via our senses. It does this in order to learn and remember. Anchoring can be used to trigger physiological responses (rapid/slow heartbeat, pain and comfort, etc.) and psychological states (like confidence, calmness, etc.) Knowing this process occurs naturally is useful for heaps of stuff like memory enhancement – and as a way to access and change state when we want to in a deliberate way. So ‘resource anchoring’ is simply connecting a positive internal feeling to an external trigger we can control. Cool, hey?
Best known from the work of Ivan Pavlov who published work in 1926 on his “Conditioned Reflexes” experiments, he discovered that he could alter the physiological response of dogs (he could cause them to salivate when he rang a bell) when set up under certain conditions. Basically he could ring a bell and make his dogs hungry.
I’m not going to encourage you to get hungry and drool! However we can use the process to turn on states of calmness, relaxation, etc. when you need them most. The easiest way to set an anchor is to decide on the state you want to be able to call up anytime (use something like a happy or relaxed memory) and whilst noticing the internal feeling, set an external trigger by gently squeezing your finger and thumb together. Remember, we’re anchoring the internal feeling the memory evokes – not the memory itself.
Do this a few times over with a really strong internal feeling and your brain will naturally link the gesture and that feeling/state together. Then, in times when you’re feeling stressed or frightened you can squeeze that finger and thumb together again and your brain will trigger the internal resource state (calm, relaxed, humorous or whatever the anchored state was). If you’re feeling really stressed it’s not going to instantly transform you into a blissful state of Zen, but it does loosen the grip of stress and help you to move past crappy feelings and into more resourceful ones.
NLP and Neuro-Semantic training has hundreds of ways to use anchoring to overcome obstacles, create truly significant changes, and make life so much more enjoyable! Drop me a line about my upcoming Practitioner training if you’re interested.
Leave a comment below and let me kknow what connections you’d like to create… or break!