For many of us the image which is conjured up when we hear the word anchor, is the large metal thing which boats use to help stabilise them, and maintain their position.

in the fascinating world of NLP (Neuro Linguini Programming), anchors have a very similar meaning only this time it relates to our mental, emotional and physiological states.

If you imagine for a moment the thrill you felt when opening a gift which you were really looking forward to, or recall your favourite cooking smell – what images, thoughts or feelings do these recollections invoke?

Coming back to our original anchor definition, the one about boats, we can begin to see what is meant in NLP. A mind anchor is one or more associations which holds together a collection of memories. And these associations can be a collection of thoughts, emotions and body sensations.

And in many ways, much of our routine life is a collection of anchors which help to establish our life patterns. The way we sit in our chair at a computer, the way we like our coffee in the morning, our favourite tune on the radio etc.

Anchors can be a source of pleasure or pain. One of the aims of therapy is to dissolve the painful or destructive consequences of past events which have become negative anchors in our minds and bodies.

We can also have positive anchors, the aroma of certain food, a favourite movie we watch over and over again, the warm feeling of sun on our skin.

Anchors can vary a great deal in their intensity. What makes an anchor especially powerful is one with a high degree of emotion combined with a pronounced physiological component. These are the anchors which can have a profound affect on our behaviour.

We can also intentionally develop positive anchors. For instance, in meditation the way we sit, the incense we burn, the room we sit in, can all combine to create an anchor which supports our meditation. So that each time we sit in that special posture, and light that incense etc. we are invoking the memories and associations of the peacefulness of our former meditational states.


© David R. Durham

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