Will your anchor hold?

“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life” is the rousing song of the Boys’ Brigade, an organisation with global reach that gives youngsters a disciplined, yet creative, and fitness-conscious start in life. Its motto is ‘Steadfast and Sure’ from the second line of that song and its emblem is an anchor with capital B’s either side.

It occurs to me that ‘will your anchor hold’ is also a phrase that applies equally well to one of the key approaches in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I won’t go in to an in-depth study of ‘anchoring’ just now, but I thought the following little exercise may be useful whether you are new to NLP or just to serve as a reminder.

Okay, make yourself comfortable and calm your mind and let it be filled with silence. Just let all of your current thoughts drift off; observe them and watch them move on. Relax your body as well as your mind and get comfortable.

Then, imagine a time when everything seemed stacked up against you and just wasn’t going your way. You feel anxious and frustrated and angry. Picture yourself in that scene. Hear the angry words. Tap the back of your right hand to anchor this state (anchor #1).

Okay, break state, turn your thoughts elsewhere, on to anything else or just let your mind go quiet.

Now, imagine a time of great elation: of happiness. Feel your muscles relaxed and hear your uncontrollable giggling. You feel on top of the world; relaxed and full of energy: ready to take on any challenge. Tap the back of your left hand to anchor this state (anchor#2).

The key learning here is that you have anchored an unhelpful state of mind (anchor#1) and a very useful resource (anchor#2).

So next time things are going against you just tap the back of your left hand to fire that useul resource.

It works for me; tapping the back of my left hand makes me smile, relax and be ready face any challenge anew.

You should also be aware that you can set different anchors instead of the tapping examples above; by, for example, clicking you fingers in either hand. Choose whatever works for you.

With practice, I’ve found that even just thinking about anchor#2 helps me to smile and lighten my mood.

Go on, try it: and let me know how you get on.