What Is Anchoring In NLP

What Is Anchoring In NLP?

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As you dive deeper into your journey of NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), you will come across a technique known as Anchoring. This is a popular technique which is effective in keeping you focused on a specific item, emotion, or thought. 

Anchors can come from anywhere and everywhere making it an excellent technique if you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks randomly throughout the day. But what does it mean specifically?

In this article we discover what anchoring is within the realm of NLP and how it can be used to treat different conditions.

We also explain the key factors of anchoring to help you better understand the way it works and how to set your own anchor in your daily life. 

Find out everything you need to know about anchoring below!

Definition of Anchoring in NLP

Anchoring is the focus on one aspect of an experience which helps bring us back to that moment in time and keep us anchored to the present moment. 

For example, hearing a specific song or smelling a specific scent transports you back to a memory you hold dear to your heart. Often this is a time when you feel safe and happy.

The overall experience (which includes the emotional state) is “anchored” to the particular aspect, which serves as a “stimulus” to trigger the overall experience’s “reaction.” 

While some anchors are unintentional as we have developed them over time such as assuming that a premium bottle of wine will taste better than a cheaper bottle, NLP focuses on creating specific anchors to aid in mental health conditions. 

Five Keys To Anchoring 

When working to determine an anchor within your life, there are 5 keys which must be present to be successful. If one is missing, an anchor will not be developed. 

1. The Intensity Of The Experience

Making sure you have a strong state before attempting to anchor it is important since the easier it is to anchor, the stronger the state is.

You want to have a strong connection to the experience. This will make it a lot easier to connect and to use it as your anchor in times of distress. 

2. The Timing Of The Anchor 

This is important. States develop, reach a peak, and then decline in strength in a manner akin to a bell curve.

You want to introduce your stimulus or trigger to identify it with the state as it becomes stronger, not as it is about to fade away.

Finding the right time to apply the stimulus can be a challenge. If it is applied too early or too late it will not have the desired effect. 

The best time to apply the anchor is when you begin to notice the state changing. This provides the best window just before the state reaches its peak, allowing you to use the anchor to the best of your ability. 

3. The Uniqueness Of The Anchor 

The Uniqueness Of The Anchor 

To ensure that it is not accidentally triggered, it must be something unusual rather than something that frequently occurs.

For instance, you could associate a sensation of intense elation with the act of sitting down, but you wouldn’t want to start shouting “Woohoo!” each time you eat. Even less if you attend church.

A common anchor may be pinging an elastic band on your wrist. However, it is recommended that it is something less hurtful and is completely unique to you. 

4. Replicable 

The stimulus must be something you can simply duplicate. You should recreate the stimulus after setting an anchor so you may check whether it was successful.

To be able to use it whenever you need it, you must be able to duplicate it in the future.

It is far preferable to have a tiny, unobtrusive gesture you can do, a word you can repeat to yourself, or an image you can call to mind whenever you need it.

 Of course, for the trigger to function, it must be precisely the same each time you use it.

If it’s a voice tone, it needs to be the same voice tone; if it’s a kinaesthetic anchor, it needs to be in the same spot with the same pressure. Create something that is simple to reproduce.

5. Number Of Times  

Our brains associate things in two different ways. One is, as we have indicated, intensity. If the state is strong enough, it just takes one occasion to link it to a stimulus.

Repetition is the best technique to condition in the association if the state is not as intense, if it’s an internal representation or a behavioral reaction that you’re anchoring.

It is best to practice your anchor numerous times before you decide to take it for a test drive in public. This will allow you to know that it is going to be beneficial for you and that you know how you are going to respond. 

The 5 keys to anchoring are Intensity, Timing, Uniqueness, Replicability, and Number of Times. Creating the acronym I-TURN. 

This is especially important to remember when it comes to beginning the steps to anchoring. 

Step To Anchoring

There are 4 steps to anchoring: 

  1. Elicit a powerful state. This should be done with someone in the area and you are in a natural state.
  2. Anchor. As you become aware of the state shifting, give a particular stimulus.
  3. Revert. Take the state to the baseline state.
  4. Set Off. Use the anchor to see if it works. 

Final Thoughts 

While anchoring may seem rather simple, it can take some time to accomplish and become useful. This is because finding a stimulus which can be replicated perfectly every time is a lot harder than people think. 

However, once you have established an anchor and can use it in public spaces, you will find it highly beneficial. 

NLP is a rather complicated field with anchoring taking quite some time to establish. We hope this guide makes it easier!

Remember I-TURN. If one of these keys are missing, your anchor will not work. Make sure it is effective by having each key in place and working for you. 

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