In the context of behavioral change work, anchoring refers to 'a stimulus which triggers a specific physiological or emotional state or behavior'. It gives us the ability to access desired feelings at lightning speed which we can utilise to help us achieve the outcomes we desire.
Sometimes we create anchors involuntarily. For example, if you think of your favourite teacher's name from school, or the smell of a certain food or perhaps a photo on holiday or a song you heard, you may find that you get a whole host of emotions instantly. These can empower or disempower, motivate or demotivate. Essentially they stimulate an instant neurological response that creates a specific emotional condition. Throughout our lives, we often spend a lot of time reacting unconsciously to the effects of anchors.
Anchors can be created in any representational system. When helping someone anchor a state, you can touch them in a unique and specific way which can be repeated i.e. touching them on a knuckle. You can also get the person to apply the anchor themselves when you give them a verbal indication to do so.
Firstly decide what state you want. Be precise – a word or two will usually do. i.e. Confident, Super-charged, Calm, Resourceful.
Russian physiologist & psychologist Ivan Pavlov is most well known for his findings on human and animal conditioning. While doing a research on dogs' digestion, he discovered the phenomenon called a 'Neurological Bridge' or more commonly known as 'Anchoring'. When it came to meal time, Pavlov would ring a tuning fork and the high pitched sound would summon his dogs to the food. After repeating this numerous times, he found that even without any food, the dogs would salivate from hearing the sound of the tuning fork.
By doing so, Pavlov associated the ringing sound of the tuning fork to food.
This is how NLP anchoring works. By conditioning responses to unique NLP anchors, we are able to deliberately get into specific states just by triggering the unique NLP anchor. Just like Pavlov's dogs.
So NLP anchors are really a stimulus for us to get into whatever states we want. Similarly as Pavlov uses the tuning fork sound to act as a stimulus, with NLP anchoring, we can set certain anchors to act as the stimulus to certain states. And after many repetitions, the association between the NLP anchor and the state will be conditioned.
1. Recall a specific time when they had the emotion they wish to anchor.
2. Anchor - Provide a specific stimulus at the peak of the state, Anchor (see diagram)
3. Change the person's state (pattern interrupt)
4. Evoke - Set off the anchor to test, Evoke
1. The Intensity of the experience
2. The Timing of the anchor
3. The Uniqueness of the Anchor
4. The Replication of the stimulus
5. (the Number of times repeated – this is an optional additional stage)
You're looking for a specific time they can associate to which is called a "Transderivational Search".
"Can you think of a time, a specific time when you were totally (Add the emotion here) ? As you go back to that time where you were totally (Add the emotion here) now step into your body and see what you saw, hear what you heard, say the things you said to yourself and feel what you felt".
Turn up the submodalities if necessary. When they're in this state, they're fully associated. Get ready to apply the anchor as you see that they're about to reach the peak emotion, apply the anchor and hold it for 5-15 seconds (or get them to do it). Touch them in a specific and unique way and hold it for 5-15 seconds. Do this 3 times (or more if necessary) and now shift them out of the desired state and test their anchor by firing it off. They should experience an energetic shift or a state change. If not, repeat the exercise.
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