What Are NLP Anchors?

NLP Anchors create a connection in the subject’s mind between Anchoran experience and a sound, a touch, or even a particular smell. Every day we naturally associate how we feel with the things that surround us. And in turn, these anchors, the external stimuli, are able to trigger the feelings again.

Anyone who has every revisited their old school will know what I mean – the sounds and smells from one’s past make memories and feelings come flooding back. Sometimes we are not even aware of the trigger, and we begin to think of something or someone seemingly at random.
Anchoring in NLP

An NLP Practitioner uses anchors to enable his subject to feel a certain way about something whilst he is in a particular state of mind. This NLP Anchoring technique is based on unintentional anchoring – that is to say, anchoring that the subconscious takes on board in a natural, unforced way.

For instance, one person of my acquaintance always equates illness with the special tenderness that he experienced as a child when he was unwell. He anchors thusly: illness = love/sympathy. Now the slightest sniffle is equated as flu and he takes to his bed for a few days. And the more it happens, the more the anchor is reinforced and the more of a hypochondriac he becomes.

Smokers often make a similar anchoring connection to coffee and then feel they can’t enjoy a coffee without a drag on a cigarette. The NLP practitioner can therefore use the same mental processes, but in a positive rather than a negative way.
Creating NLP Anchors

1) Create the right state of mind: Ask the subject to remember a time Acing A Presentationwhen they felt empowered and in control. Get them to really try to live that memory, not just think about it as an observer. They need to be there, in it, doing it again and feeling the same sensations – how they felt, stood/sat, whether they felt hot or cold – all the physical sensations in that moment.

2) Polarise it: Ask the subject to imagine the reality of that moment and how intense it feels. Then get them to double the feeling, then double it again, then again. Ask them to describe the details. You’ll probably notice physical changes in them at this point.

3) Anchor it: Now you can introduce the anchor. One that is often used is a 5-second press on the person’s shoulder or knee.

4) Reinforce it: It’s now a good idea to reinforce the anchor. Change the subject’s state of mind – maybe ask them to talk about how they travelled to the session or what they did the previous evening. Then produce the anchor in the same was as before.

5) Test it When this process has been followed sufficient times for the anchor to have become established in the subject, again clear their mind by talking about an everyday event. Whilst they are doing this, apply the anchor. The subject can then judge whether the anchor brings back the feeling it is supposed to.
What’s The Point?

Anchoring can erase negative emotional states. Perhaps the subject is scheduled to give an important presentation but is experiencing mounting anxiety as the day it is scheduled for approaches.

The practitioner would encourage the subject to imagine giving Calm Ladythe presentation, and how he would feel to be standing in front of all those people with their attention focused on him. When the poor fellow is displaying physical signs of being clearly agitated, the practitioner would apply the anchor.

The anchor would make the negative feelings of nervousness dissipate by replacing them with positive ones of self-confidence and empowerment. The application of the anchor can be repeated in this way as many times as are necessary. In the end, the person will discover that only the positive feelings are experienced when thinking about giving the presentation.

This is part one of Creating NLP Anchors. Part 2 will deal will deal with different types of anchors and stacking anchors.