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Even if the word anchoring might sound foreign to you, it’s a technique that you have probably experienced many times before. Whether it’s a specific scent that reminds you of your mom’s cooking or a song that triggers your memory of that special someone, sensory experiences can harness an emotional reaction. Although these reactions are involuntary, and may sometimes elicit unwanted emotions, psychologists have found a way to utilize this technique as a tool for relaxation. This tool is a neuro-linguistic programming technique we call anchoring.

With the pressures of work and the constant need to succeed, it’s natural to feel stressed out and struggle to maintain your emotional buoyancy. However, by creating an association between a positive feeling and a physical gesture, you are deliberately conditioning yourself to elicit positive outcomes in your life. By practicing anchoring, you will be able to recall this positive feeling the next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable and distressing situation. (Click here for more on anchoring)

Learn Anchoring: Implement your Anchor in 3 Steps

Step 1: Select your resourceful state

To establish an anchor, start by thinking about a moment when you have felt a rush of positive emotion. According to what resourceful state you want to access, you can select a memory that brought you joy, contentment, or even confidence. The memory you recall could be from when you spent a day on the beach with your best friend or when you aced a work presentation. The most important thing to remember is that the memory has to trigger a strong positive emotion within you.

Step 2: Recall the Memory

Once you have selected the resourceful state you want to access, close your eyes and begin to take deep long breaths using your diaphragm. During this time, recall the sound, smell, and feeling of your resourceful state. Whether the feeling is extreme confidence or overwhelming joy, remember every single detail of the moment and play it over and over again in your mind. Immerse yourself completely into that emotion, until it feels as though you are back in the moment.

Step 3: Implement your anchor

Keeping your resourceful state in mind, select a physical gesture or a subvocal word, and keep doing it for about 10 to 15 seconds. Your gesture can be something as simple as rubbing your hands together, tapping your index finger to your thumb, or sub-vocally repeating an easy phrase that brings you comfort. This physical or verbal gesture will serve as your cue that you can access at the times you desire.

When the memory starts to fade, take a few slow breaths and release yourself from your anchor. Spend a moment or two distracting yourself, and let your mind focus on something completely different. Once you have let the memory go complete, test the effectiveness of your anchor by performing your cue. This should bring back the feeling of your resourceful state, making you feel either happy, confident, or content.


By recalling your resourceful state while performing your physical or verbal gesture, you have intentionally conditioned yourself to create an association between the two. So, the next time you are faced with a stressful presentation or consumed by feelings of doubt, tap your fingers together and let yourself recall the feeling of confidence and joy, from your desired resourceful state. Now that you have your anchor, you can access your resourceful state whenever you need it by doing your unique gesture or action. Visit this page for more on anchoring.

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