Do you have a song that you listen to that brings you back to a particular place and time? For me, that song is Boys of Summer. When I hear that song, I’m transported back to a certain day, lying at the beach when I was 16 years old, surrounded by good looking guys and thinking to myself I had died and gone to heaven.
There’s also a specific street corner in Bangkok that I pass and it brings me back to a really bad fight I had with my husband on that street corner.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to hear a song and feel completely confident? Or see a room full of people and feel totally relaxed? Well you can. You just need to know how to anchor.
What’s an anchor? Well, just as a boat is fixed to a certain place by an anchor, we can fix a particular feeling with an anchor. Remember in my example, I can hear a song and be transported back to a feeling I had 30-years ago. That’s an auditory anchor. And I can see a particular street corner and feel the fight I had with my husband. That’s a visual anchor. My anchors were set accidentally and unconsciously. They were created because I was in a heightened state of emotion and something caught a particular sensory system’s attention.
If you wanted to create your own anchor so you could feel how you wanted to feel at any given moment, follow these 6 steps:
- Choose what feeling you want to anchor
- Decide on what sensory trigger you want for that feeling. Is it an auditory trigger like a song or a bell? Is it a visual trigger like a room full of people? Or is it a kinaesthetic trigger such as a gesture?
- Make sure your trigger is unique (you don’t do it every day – such as shake someone’s hand) and repeatable.
- Put yourself into the feeling state you want to be in. If you want to feel confident, remember a time when you were really confident and feel those feelings again. Then amplify those feelings so you are feeling super confident! Or if you want to be calm, remember a specific time you were really calm and feel those feelings again. Again, amplify those feelings so you are more calm than you’ve ever been.
- When you’re at the peak of that feeling state, do that trigger (play the music, make the gesture, see the room full of people) and hold it for 5 seconds.
- Let go of the feeling, shake it off, think of something completely unrelated to this and then start again at #4. Feel the feelings again and then do the trigger at the peak of those feelings.
Remember that you have to keep practicing the anchor. An unused anchor rusts and is completely useless. Pretty soon, you won’t even need to think about using it. It will be automatic every time. It may even be like this the first time. It depends on how good your “peak” feeling state was. The more into the feeling state you are, the better the anchor will hold.
Just think of me and that really bad fight with my husband. I was in a pretty wicked peak state and that’s why that street corner in Bangkok is etched into my mind!