I’m going to show you a simple and highly effective technique for changing a negative or undesired feeling into a positive feeling, precisely when you want. It’s called anchoring.
What is an anchor? When you pull your car up to the stop sign, what happens? You stop! You don’t think about it consciously, you just do it. That stop sign is an “anchor.” It’s a stimulus-response. You’ve learned it, and now it’s subconsciosly automated.
Another example of an anchor is Pavlov’s Dog. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Pavlov’s Dog. The dog was fed at the same time with the sound of a bell, and the dog came to associate the sound of the bell with eating. Eventually, the dog would salivate at the sound whether or not food was present. He become anchored to the sound of the bell. Bell means food, means salivate, a physiological response.
So, too, many many of our emotional states are responses like this. We don’t know why we feel the way we do, we just do. We react automatically. Something triggers it. A color, a sound, being in a particular room of the house, a scent, an expression on someone’s face, an insect such as a spider. All these are anchors of various kinds, eliciting positive or negative emotional states in us. Have you ever noticed that you may have recurring arguments with someone in a particular room of your house? You are anchoring to those negative feelings which lead to arguments by something in that room.
What’s incredible and nice and oh so easy, we can change our emotional states with anchors. At will. We can control how we feel, and lead ourselves to a more resourceful feeling when stress hits. Here’s how:
You know the bad feeling(s). You have them in your body. Perhaps stress, perhaps anger. They boil, they roil, they stew. You’ve been at their mercy. No longer!! Set them aside now. How would you rather feel? Perhaps calm, or relaxed, with clarity of thought. Now, remember a time in your life when you felt these good emotions. It can be from any period of your life, in any context, from childhood, babyhood, adulthood, or picture someone you know who embodies these emotions. With your memory, put yourself inside that experience. Be there!
Experience it. Feel it. How does it feel? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell, if anything? And so on. Involve all your senses, fully and completely. Let that positive emotion grow in you. Feel that emotion moving in your body. Spin it, faster and faster! The good feelings grow stronger. When this good feeling is at it’s peak, touch yourself on your arm somewhere, or your wrist, with a unique touch that will now be associated (anchored) with these good feelings. Use a light to firm pressure, and hold the touch for a few seconds. Let go.
Now, what’s your phone number? Recite it to yourself. Now, touch yourself on the wrist or arm in the way you’ve just anchored, and feel those good feelings flood into your body once again. Automatically!!!!
Cool, huh? Any time you touch yourself in this way, the good feelings will come. It’s that easy to change your emotional state. Now you have a resource you can draw on when you want to feel calm and relaxed or whatever positive emotion(s) you’ve chosen for yourself. It’s wonderful to be the master of our own emotional states.
Copyright © Connie Brannan, CHt. & Licensed Trainer of NLP ®, 2008