Anchors are words, sounds, songs, movements or specific physical touch that are associated to a certain, positive state in your body. The technique is relatively simple to use. It originally comes from Neuro-linguistic programming, and the method I describe here draws on NLP and on the work of Arnold Mindell, who has taken the concept further.

I have two anchors that I use when I am frightened but not in any physical danger. The first is some words that get me into a calm yet focused state. The second is a song that I hum to myself, that reminds me of my connection with something bigger than myself – nature, spirit, whatever you want to call it.

To get an anchor, you must first access the psychological state you want to be able to reconnect with. It is important to really be in that state – for example, being calm yet focussed. You need to feel it in your body, to look around at the world from that state, to walk around in that state. Then choose a movement, sound, song, visual image or some physical touch, such as pushing or pinching a certain part of your body, which somehow captures that state for you. Whatever you choose needn’t make sense to anyone else – it’s often an intuitive thing, that just works for you.

When you want to re-connect with that state, you just repeat the movement or touch, make the sound or sing the song, or look at the visual image – some pilots have a smiley-face sticker on their vario, for example. Looking at it, using the anchor, brings the pilot back from the fearful state.

© 2014 Heike Hamann All Rights Reserved