Anchoring Technique - NLP



Anchoring is a Neuro Linguistic programming technique, designed to change your reaction to a specific event.


An anchor is a sound, a touch, a taste, or something that you see which causes you to behave in a particular way.


If someone pats you on the back, then you would probably feel good. If they slapped you in the face instead, you would probably be upset. Your emotional response is linked to the specific physical act.


You are constantly learning these automatic responses so that you don't have to consciously think about how you are going to behave all the time. You need some behaviour to be automated so that you can concentrate on more important tasks.


Much of this 'anchored' behavior is obvious to us. However, there are some reactions that we have that we may not notice or do not understand. Some are good, some are not. We can go through life not knowing why certain situations are difficult for us, until somebody points the problem out to us. As you grow older some of your automatic reactions may no longer be appropriate or beneficial and can even be harmful.


A few bad rows with someone close to you and it is possible to anchor the look of their face to the bad feeling that you had generated.


This can permanently affect your relationship, if every time that you see their face it triggers those bad feelings.


Anchoring provides a very simple process to reverse this damage. It is a very simple and quick process.

Creating An Anchor

You can create them for almost anything, for example, relaxation, and confidence.


You can do this through visualizations. If you have a problem visualizing then you can just imagine and feel the situations. You can also create them easily in a hypnotic trance. It is a quick and simple process that should take less than ten minutes to complete.

Step 1 Choose the state

Choose a state or feeling that you want to be able to produce on demand. It could be quite a complex state if it is one that you have experienced before, on occasion, and want to repeat exactly the same every time. This is very useful in sporting activities where focus and concentration are so important.

Step 2 Choose the Trigger

Choose a unique physical action (a trigger) that you want to link to this state or feeling. This could be simply touching an earlobe or pulling on a finger. Often, especially in sports, actions that are part of the activity are turned into 'dynamic' anchors. For example, the feel of a golf club or a tennis racket in your hand can trigger the exact mental state needed to execute a stroke perfectly.

Step 3 Recall a Past Experience

Remember a time in the past when you were in this state or experienced the feeling. Visualize this as if you were actually there again looking through your own eyes. When you do this vividly you reproduce the same sensations and physiological changes that you had at the time. You mind reacts the same way to a memory as it does to real events, something well understood by actors when they need to cry on demand.


If you don't have an actual experience to call upon you can create an imaginary one or perhaps use a particularly vivid scene from a film.

Step 4 Create the Anchor

The intensity of the recalled experience builds up and then fades away. It peaks somewhere between 5 to 15 seconds after it starts.


You create the anchor when that experience is at its peak by applying the trigger that you decided upon in step 2. For example you might have decided to pull on your left ear lobe or touch one of the knuckles on your hand.


Hold the trigger until the feelings start to subside. This could be just a few seconds or as long as 10 or 15 seconds.

Step 5 Relax

Relax for a moment and clear your mind. Think of something else entirely. This allows any lingering feelings to disappear so when we test to see if it has been installed properly, our reactions will be obvious.

Step 5 Test the Anchor

Apply the trigger and notice that the feelings return. The physical action has become linked to the sensation. If the feeling is not very strong then you can stack more recalled memories on top of the first with the same trigger.

Step 7 (optional) Stack the Anchor

Repeat steps 3 through 6 with different experiences. This strengthens the effect. You can also combine different states and feelings. You might want to feel powerful and also creative at the same time. Use the same physical trigger for each of the behavioral states you want to link.

Changing Your Behavior

If you are reacting badly to a regular event in your life, which could be seeing a particular person's face, hearing their voice or having to deal with a specific disagreeable situation.
  • Step 1 Build a positive anchor

    Install a new anchor for a good positive feeling or state that you want to replace your current feeling or state.


  • Step 2 Overwrite the Old Behaviour

    Whenever the event occurs naturally in your life you can trigger the new anchor. For example, a strong positive anchor for confidence on your right ear lobe, can be triggered when you do presentations or give a speech.

Removing An Unwanted Emotional State

  • Step 1 Identify the unwanted state or feeling you want to eliminate.


  • Step 2 Create an anchor for this somewhere convenient like the first knuckle on your hand, using steps 1 to 6 above.


  • Step 3 Relax for a moment and do something else to separate this state from the next. This helps keep the memories or visualisations separate.


  • Step 4 Create another anchor for a desirable state or feeling, perhaps put it on another knuckle of your hand. Stack several of these so that it is considerably stronger than the unwanted state.


  • Step 5 Relax for a moment


  • Step 6 Trigger the first anchor for the unwanted behavior. Then, moments later, trigger the second. Hold them for 10 or 15 seconds while they build and fade, then remove the first followed a few moments later by the second. You will experience few moments of confusion. The unwanted behavior will have been overwritten.


  • Step 7 Imagine a time in the future when the unwanted behavior would have occurred and notice that you should feel differently about this now.