Ever wish you could bottle up a great feeling so that you can experience it again and again?
Well here's the good news - you can.
Anchoring is a staple tool of my practice as a hypnotherapist, and I never tire of seeing how transformative it can be.
An anchor is a trigger that is connected to a particular state or response. We've all experienced it - such as when a song on the radio reminds you of a particular time in your life or a smell takes you back to a place from childhood. Bang - we're instantly back in that moment, feeling exactly what we felt.
In a therapy session I use a specific touch and a word to enable my clients to create an association with their desired target state. This gives them a very practical and simple tool that they can build on outside the therapy room. Over time, the simple act of feeling that touch (such as pressing a finger and thumb together) and hearing that word will become enough to recreate the positive feeling of the target state.
Sounds too good to be true?
It really isn't - but it does take dedication to make it really effective and automatic.
Here's how I do it:
First, I help the client to associate into a positive state by closing their eyes and recalling a really strong, happy memory. I ask them to engage all their senses and feel what they would have felt, see what they would have seen, hear what they would have heard whilst in that state.
When they notice that feeling beginning to reach a peak I ask them to open their eyes, touch their finger and thumb together and look at their hand while saying out loud their chosen word. I tend to use 'FANTASTIC!" or 'AWESOME!'
After around 5 seconds I get them to release the gesture from their hand, 'shake off' the state and return to some kind of neutral.
We then repeat the exercise a couple more times and all those positive emotions then become 'stacked' on the anchor. After that, every time the client experiences a happy or positive emotion they can add to this stack by using the specific touch and word while they are in that moment. And eventually, over time, the combination of that gesture and word will transport them immediately into a resourceful, positive state.
Anchoring is such a powerful tool, and can be particularly useful for anyone wanting to find more confidence, overcome a fear or manage anxiety. Best of all, when you need to get into that resourceful state, it's discreet to do - nobody will have a clue what you are doing!
But your unconscious mind will always know - and it will allow you to change your state quickly and effortlessly.
Now isn't that an amazing trick to have up your sleeve?
This article first appeared in the New Stour & Avon magazine on 2 July 2021