TThere was some sunshine this weekend while I was writing this! At least here on sunny south coast of England there was. I went out walking along sea front with my partner Sara on Saturday morning and it was wonderful; feeling of sunshine on my face, smell of air, sites of other people out and about and happy, local land train was shuttling people and their excited children back and forth from Bournemouth pier to Boscombe Pier and my senses were filled – a major event for human neurophysiology (mine anyway!)
The funny thing is, later on that evening when my friends were joking about my pink coloured forehead, I told them that I was really looking forward to summer and as I spoke, I felt sun on me, imagined fun I was going to have on beach, remembered smell, amazing feeling of joy that I get from being there, just by anticipating it all.
A natural phenomenon we can replicate with NLP techniques. NLP stands for neuro-linguistic programming, which is just a methodology for helping make changes. We shorten it to NLP for easy understanding.
Without realising it, time I had spent on sea front earlier that day had acted as an anchor for wonderful experience which immediately followed it. The next time I saw & heard experience, albeit in my mind, my neurology went “I know what happens now” and started to produce intense physical responses that it ‘knew’ were coming next.
In field of NLP, an anchor is any representation in human nervous system that triggers any other representation. For instance, word ‘sex’ will immediately trigger images, sounds etc associated with that word. The word ‘chocolate’ will trigger different associations. I am not too sure which of those will create most intense feelings though! These words are anchors. Anchors do not have to be words, they can be a wide range of things.
With NLP, we identify that anchors can operate in any representational system (ie. sight, sound, feeling, smell, taste.) Let me give you some examples;
Tonal: By that, I mean for example, special way a certain person has of saying your name, like when a friend or family member says it. My mother shouting my name from depths of my home when I was a child often signalled fact that she had discovered something that I had done that meant trouble for me! “Adam!” often made me feel what I was in store for.
Tactile: The effect of a certain type of handshake for example, or sensation of a reassuring hug compared to a loving cuddle. Rekindles all kinds of wonderful feelings. Visual: The way people respond to certain items of clothing. I recently had lunch with a group of my friends from town where I grew up and several of them commented on jacket I was wearing. Now, whenever they see it, it reminds them of those comments and makes them smile. Olfactory: Like when you smell a certain kind of food being cooked can suddenly have you remembering a time when you were in school cafeteria. Gustatory: The taste of your favourite food or way certain foods can make you remember how you felt when you had it before. Maybe like when you were given soup and a big helping of love and sympathy when you were young and off school because you were poorly. I know every time I eat Heinz Tomato soup it reminds me of just that.
Once again, in field of NLP, an anchor is any representation in human nervous system that triggers any other representation. It is conceptually similar to Pavlovian conditioning (ie. bells and salivating dogs; some of Pavlovs findings feature in field of NLP.
While anchor I created for sea front was unintentional, it is possible for you to use this NLP tecnique to anchor yourself intentionally. Have a go at this and learn this NLP technique for yourself……
Fistly, think of an occasion when you had a highly pleasurable, positive or enjoyable experience. See what you saw then (looking out through your own eyes), hear what you heard and feel what you felt. As you feel sensations increase in intensity, squeeze thumb & forefinger of your left hand gently together for a few moments, then release them. Now ‘break your state’ (Eg. by remembering what you had for lunch yesterday.) Squeeze your thumb & forefinger together again, gently pulsing them. The state will return.
To make most of anchoring with NLP, it is important to really engage in experience and make it wonderfully vivid in your mind and to then also put effort into recalling it when you first activate your NLP anchor for a few times. Imagine how powerful this can be when you want to feel wonderful if you are home, feeling gloomy. Instead of reaching for chocolate, you can start to activate your “feel good” anchor.
Every time you want to get motivated to exercise, just activate your enthusiasm anchor. It is a really simple technique of NLP.
This is a simple but powerful NLP technique that can enable you to have access to states and resources you want, when you want them. The use of thumb & forefinger is an example of a tactile anchor, but you can use any representation to anchor something for yourself or someone else.