Create Powerful NLP Anchors
- Chris Harrison
- 15th June 2007 - Updated 11th July 2012
Being able to anchor powerful states is one of the most useful NLP techniques that you can learn.
Imagine being able to turn up for a job interview, or for a presentation, knowing that you will be able to give your best possible performance every time. That is the kind of thing you are looking to achieve through using NLP Anchors.
So what are NLP anchors?
NLP anchoring is based on the concept of being able to get into the most powerful or most appropriate state for a particular task or event, and then being able to access that state exactly when you need it. There is more information on what an anchor is in the article NLP Anchoring - what is it and how can it be used?
For our purpose, an anchor is any stimulus that evokes a specific mental state in someone.
For instance, many people have specific songs that affect them every time they hear them - usually due to something that happened when they heard that song.
Smells and Tastes are also particularly powerful anchors. No matter how old you are, you probably have smells or tastes that evoke the feeling and memory of something from your childhood.
How do I use NLP Anchoring?
The easiest way to learn how to use anchors is to run through an example.
In NLP, most people use one specific sense, usually touch, for most of their anchors simply because it's the easiest way to re-access them, so that is the type of anchoring we will use now.
Firstly, if you haven't read the NLP Lessons - NLP Memory Manipulation - Change the Content of your Memories and NLP Submodalities - Change your Reality , then you will need to run through them so that you can create the strongest possible state. This is one of the most important aspects of setting up an anchor - creating the strongest state possible. We don't want to create wishy-washy states and anchor them!
In this example we'll run through creating a confidence anchor.
The first thing you need to do is to think of a time when you were at your most confident.
If for any reason you cannot think of a time when you were confident, then imagine what it would be like if you were confident. You will need to create an image in your mind of you being really, really, confident.
Now once you have that image in your mind, add any relevant sounds and become aware of the feeling that confidence gives you. The aim is to make this state as powerful as possible.
The easiest way to do this is to use the list of submodalities you made during the lesson NLP Submodalities - Change your Reality. If you're trying to create a strong state without reading the lesson then please read it!
Firstly find the visual submodalities that made a feeling stronger for you and apply them to the image of you being confident.
And remember to use the auditory submodalities too. If volume makes a feeling stronger, then turn it up.
Once you have a strong feeling then you should notice how the feeling moves through your body, and make the feeling build stronger and stronger as it moves.
So as you concentrate on the building feeling, take one of your hands and lightly pinch your thumbnail, and continue to pinch the nail while you keep the feeling building stronger and stronger.
Keep doing this until you have the strongest confident feeling you can develop.
Take a break for a moment or two to break your state (just think of something else).
How do I test an NLP Anchor?
Now its time to test your anchor.
Take your hand and pinch your thumbnail again. What happens?
If you don't re-access the confident state, then start the process again, and keep working at it.
When the anchor is successfully created, you'll know about it!
This is a very basic form of anchoring, and can be used for any state. There is much more you can do with NLP Anchors.
How about creating five different positive states on the fingers of one hand, and then firing them one after the other? Or even all at once!
How about creating a super-state based on Confidence, Playfulness, Eloquence, Relaxation, and Motivation. What would that feel like?
There is an exercise covering this concept in NLP States.
And remember that these anchors can be created anywhere on your body.
You do not need to pinch either - Pressing a knuckle or earlobe works equally well.
The only things to bear in mind when choosing a location for an NLP anchor is that it is accessible (and appropriate!) when you're planning to fire it, that the location is specific (pressing your upper thigh is not specific), and that the more nerves in the area you use for the anchor, the more successful it is likely to be, but also the more specific you will need to be when setting the NLP anchor.
Like all NLP techniques, the more you practice with this technique the better results you will get.