What is NLP Anchoring?

If you’re on my site, chances are you’re at a point in your life where you’re looking to heal your stuff.

In my own experience, I felt as if my problems were slapping me across the face. Knowing what I wanted to change and where I needed to grow seemed obvious.

Actually knowing how to go about making changes was a completely different story. I felt so overwhelmed and had no idea where to start.

The first port of call for change work has got to be anchoring.

So if you’re sick and tired of hearing “do the work!!” without knowing how to do the work, look no further.

From healing pain to installing empowering beliefs and strategies, anchoring is an immensely powerful resource that works in harmony with both the body and the unconscious mind.

And, when you understand the basics, it’s really easy to do

In this post I’m going to give you an overview of what it is, how it works, and how it can be used.

What is an Anchor?

An anchor is a neurological link between stimulus (which is usually external) and an internal response. Think Pavlov’s Dogs.

We’ve all got them, and they occur naturally.

Some universal examples:

  • The pang of nostalgia when you hear a shitty pop song from 2005
  • The almost painful yearning for a holiday when you get a whiff of sun cream
  • Gagging when you hear someone call their SO “boo boo bear”
  • The absolute mad panic when you’re driving and the song you’re listening to has a police siren on (whoever thought that was a good idea?!)
  • The quickening of your heart when you see someone handing out free chocolate samples

It’s like a reflex – it’s involuntary, and it’s instant

Like our programs and beliefs, anchors are created via repetition and/or intense emotional experiences.

Anchors can be created in any modality but in NLP, spacial and tactile (touch) anchors are the usual go-to’s. 

What is Anchoring?

While it does indeed sound like extremely niche nautical porn (and I’m sure somewhere on the internet it is), in NLP terms, anchoring refers to the process of creating a neurological association between a stimulus and a response

Often this is done with the stimulus being a specific touch on a knuckle or fingers, and the response an empowering emotion.

NLP Anchoring Image
Anchoring Image

This is called basic anchoring, or resource anchoring.

And, while that may not sound too exhilarating, it’s just the very start of what you can do.

Every anchoring technique derives from this simple natural process and there are endless ways you can harness it to to transform your experience and create lasting change.

So, if someone talks about “anchoring” they could be referring to any one its many uses.

(Anchoring is often used as more of an umbrella term for a collection of practices than a specific technique).

Allow Me to Introduce You to the Three Primary Anchoring Techniques

1. Resource Anchoring

Who wouldn’t want to feel unstoppable at the touch of a button? 

Basically, you’re creating a neurological association between a trigger and an empowering emotional state, and this can get really creative.

You could:

  • Create confidence in a presentation though a visual stimulus (the audience)
  • Find focus in the workplace by anchoring a flow state with a scent
  • Anchor calmness to the car
  • Anchor a mantra with a specific state

2. Collapsing Anchors

Collapsing anchors is real-life magic. 

It’s a technique used to neutralise negative emotion around a specific situation

It’s like mixing acid and alkali to find a neutral pH.

Typically, this is done by creating two tactile anchors (on opposite hands). One for the associated (negative) emotions and one for the polar opposite (positive) emotions. 

Then you fire them off at the same time. 

The positive emotions counteract the negative and you then feel completely neutrally about the situation.

You can’t have a negative thought about something you feel neutrally about, so this technique holds immense power in changing your experience.

3. Chaining Anchors

Like a pep talk with a good friend, chaining anchors will take you from feeling shit, to feeling like you got this.

It’s a tool used to take you from an undesired state to a desired state by travelling through intermediate stages

So you’re basically installing a strategy, where experiencing the unwanted emotion will trigger off a chain reaction to get you to the desired state.

An example would be going from unmotivated to focused. 

Anchoring is Amazing

Anchoring creates such a visceral shift.

Will it get you the deeper, more generative change? No. But, it can and will completely shift how you feel in specific situations.

For that reason I think it’s an amazing place to start with healing.

If you have any questions or want to work with me directly please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Love Rae x

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