NLP anchoring uses a stimulus; it may be a sound, an image, a touch, smell or a taste to trigger a consistent response in you or someone else. We learn by establishing links and associations.
When something is anchored, we react without thinking. This can be beneficial or painful. Can you think of someone who, whenever you see them you cringe? Or maybe, when you visit your parents you feel like a child?
When we use NLP anchoring, we make or break those associations deliberately. Anchors are built by repetition and association. You may have heard of Pavlovian conditioning or maybe Pavlov’s dog. Ivan Pavlov’s work found that you could connect a stimulus, such as a bell, to a response, such as salivation in dogs. By presenting food and at the same time ringing the bell they anchored the ringing to eating.
You can link desirable states like fun and excitement to just about anything. Advertising tries to create anchors associating their products with 'feel good' states.
The downside is that just about anything can link to states like anxiety and irritation. For instance, you have “one of those days” and become really grouchy. You are wearing a particular pair of shoes. Then a week later when you are wearing the same shoes, you start to feel grouchy for no apparent reason. Your mind has anchored or linked your grouchy state to the shoes.
Our unconscious can link unusual things to states or moods. Like a particular date or a time of year.
NLP Anchors can occur in all Representational Systems
What can you use NLP anchoring for? The most common use of anchoring is to access resources, feelings and states when you want them. Replacing unwanted feelings and thoughts with positive ones is the ultimate goal.
Other uses are gaining control over emotions, accessing memories and creativity and influencing responses in other people. Anchoring is the basis for a number of NLP Techniques, such as the Circle of Excellence and the Visual squash – a powerful way to collapse an anchor.
Basic NLP anchoring steps
The keys to anchoring successfully are