In a nutshell, NLP anchoring is done by pairing physical touch with a feeling you want to have. You may have used anchoring before and not even known it.
Have you ever put a rubber band around your wrist and snapped it each time you were tempted to do something wrong? Say you don’t want to swear anymore. Each time you swear, you snap the rubber band. Ouch! The idea is that you begin to associate pain with swearing, which makes you not want to swear.
Sometimes quitting bad habits is more complicated.
There are some habits with which anchoring does not work well. Deeply ingrained habits that feel like part of who we are, rather than something we do, are another story. These deeper habits are based on psychological attachments.
Try this experiment with NLP anchoring. Read the following steps through once and then do them. It’s more interesting after you’ve tried it and either succeeded or failed at setting your own anchor.
NLP anchoring quick steps:
1. Determine how you want to feel. Say, more confident.
2. Remember a time when you felt really confident. It can be any memory when you were feeling confident, under any circumstances. You do have one!
3. Choose an anchor device that involves touch, such as touching your thumb and forefinger together.
4. Remember what you saw, heard and felt in your confident memory – until you begin to feel the confidence coming over you – touching your thumb and forefinger together and the confident feeling increases. Release your thumb and forefinger when the feeling begins to subside.
5. Test the anchor by touching your thumb and forefinger together again and find out if you naturally access that confident state.
If it worked, you now have an NLP anchor! From here on out, you get to feel confident whenever you touch your thumb and forefinger together. Magic!
Or Maybe Not
It doesn’t work all the time. In fact, Your confidence anchor may fail you in a situation in which intense fear or dread is stronger than the anchor you’ve set. Does this mean NLP anchoring simply doesn’t work all of the time? Yes, of course, that is what it means!
NLP effectiveness is part desire and part limitations.
Part of using a good tool is understanding its limitations. Take your average garden hoe. It works like a charm in soft soil with weeds that have shallow roots.
Since there are lots of these kinds of weeds and soft soil is common, garden hoes are very popular. Trying to use a common garden hoe in rock hard soil with tall, deeply rooted weeds, however, is futile.
Anchoring is no different, even though many NLP practitioners and trainers pretend otherwise.
This is how the iNLP Center training differs from other NLP training centers. We don’t pretend or oversell NLP. We don’t sell magic. We focus on real change.
We understand there are deeper attachments to negativity that sometimes need to be understood.
For deeply rooted weeds in tough soil, we begin with tools that trench their way to a much deeper understanding. For more information about our unique approach, check out our free AHA Process for NLP video that serves as module one of our NLP certification training.
Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.