Maybe you would like to look forward to a holiday instead of being fearful of the flight; maybe you want to feel in control instead of anxious? Here is a very effective tool to use – anchoring. It comes from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which is a technique to reprogram your brain, which you can use to change habits and feelings.
Anchoring is simply when you associate a physical touch with a feeling you want to have. You may have used anchoring before and not even known it.
Like some people put a rubber band around their wrist and flick it each time they are tempted to do something they no longer want to. Say you don’t want to swear anymore. Each time you swear, you flick the band. Ow! The idea is that you begin to associate pain with swearing, which makes you not want to swear.
How to use anchoring:
- Decide how you want to feel. Say, in control.
- Remember a time when you felt totally in control. It can be any memory when you were feeling in control, under any circumstances. If nothing comes to mind, just vividly imagine how it would feel.
- Choose an anchor that involves touch, such as touching your thumb and forefinger together.
- Remember what you saw, heard and felt in your in-control memory – until you begin to feel the sense of control within you – touching your thumb and forefinger together and the control feeling increases. Release your thumb and forefinger when the feeling begins to subside.
- Keep building the anchor like charging a battery until it’s really powerful.
- You can test the anchor by touching your thumb and forefinger together again and find out if you naturally access that sense of being in control.
If it worked, you now have an NLP anchor! From here on out, you get to feel confident whenever you touch your thumb and forefinger together. Magic!
Does this technique always work?
It doesn’t work all the time. Part of using a good tool is understanding its limitations. Take your average garden hoe. It works really well in soft soil with weeds that have shallow roots. Since there are many of these kinds of weeds and soft soil is common, garden hoes are very useful. Trying to use a common garden hoe in rock hard soil with deeply rooted weeds, however, is useless.
For deeply rooted in tough soil, sometimes it’s necessary to dig a bit deeper. Hypnotherapy is brilliant as we are able to treat people as individuals and use the tools that are tailored to them.
I have personally used anchors for many occasions; ear cartilage piercing, fear of heights and public speaking to name a few.
I am Samantha Culshaw-Robinson, a clinical hypnotherapist and mindfulness practitioner. I have been helping people feel better since 2010. For a free introductory session, please contact me either via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 075 222 777 22.