What is an "anchor"?

Do you ever hear a song on the radio and it brings up certain feelings in your body?

Did you ever walk into a bakery and the aroma of apple pie baking took you back to your childhood? 

Or, maybe hearing the voice of someone who you care about speaking to you in a loving way, creates good feelings for you.

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) we call this an anchor. Basically, an anchor is a paired association between a feeling and an experience.

We all experience anchors naturally in our lives.

There is a song by Chicago called “25 or 6 to 4.”

Whenever this song is playing on the radio, in my mind, I have been instantly transported back to the mid-seventies to my high school days. The jukebox in the cafeteria is playing this song. I get an image of the jukebox, placed up front and center of the cafeteria which is filled with students. I get a good feeling remembering how much fun we had during lunch, listening to music. (I’d be surprised if there are still jukeboxes playing in school cafeterias!)

Once I hear the song, all of this all happens rather quickly, without me having to think consciously to create it.

If there is a song that you and a loved one consider “your” song, take a moment and think about it now. Notice what happens in your body as you think about “your” song.

An anchor can be positive or negative. 

For the person who has a phobia, just the mere thought can create scary feelings in their body.

Many people come to see me because they cannot drive across a bridge, be in an elevator or speak in front of people without having anxiety or even a panic attack.

Sometimes we are aware of the source of these feelings. Perhaps an embarrassing moment in front of a crowd has been etched in our memory. However, many times these anchors or triggers are run at the unconscious level and we are not aware of the source. I use some powerful techniques from NLP and hypnosis to help people to get to the root of the problem and break the conditioned response.

It could be a sound, a smell, a taste, a touch, a thought or a picture that triggers a response in your body.

While I help people to break the negative conditioned response, I also help people to create a positive conditioned response. Many times my clients tell me that they would like to feel more confident or calm in situations. I use a hypnotic technique to set a “finger touch” anchor. Once set, it enables you to access the desired positive state by simply touching the two fingers together.

Anchors occur naturally, however, I help people to create anchors so that they can access a positive, resourceful state when needed.

One time I was asked to be the MC for a very large group of people.  Over 1000 people were scheduled to attend.  As I prepared myself in the days prior, I asked myself what kind of state do I want to be in when I do this. As I was watching a comedian on television and was being entertained, I found myself in a light state, feeling amused, I realized that this was how I wanted to feel.  So I anchored the state and then when I hosted the group I was able to immediately access the jovial state.

Would you find it useful to be able to create a resourceful state such as calm, confidence, joy or humor quickly?

We all have within us the resources to do this.

For more information about phobia treatment, click here.