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NLP anchoring

NLP anchoring is such a simple and useful tool.

Basic anchoring is associating an emotional feeling (or state) with a physical sensation. Basic NLP anchoring is done by pairing physical touch with a feeling or behaviour you want to have at your disposal. Your life has been affected by anchors, even though you may not have set them up intentionally.

Did you ever see the film Jaws and notice that the shark was hardly in it? Still, you felt scared and that’s because the filmmakers set an anchor. The first time you see the shark you hear the ‘du-dum, du-dum’ music and later on just hearing that music brings back the feelings you had when you first saw the shark. How about the Darth Vader music? Both anchors. In this case, audio anchors and there are many other types but as mentioned above they can also be physical, in other words using touch.

Using NLP Anchoring to Instil Positive Feelings

How about wanting to feel resourceful in a particular situation? This is the most common use of NLP anchoring. For example, you may want to feel more confident when doing a presentation. An NLP anchor can give you access to the confidence you have in other situations that is not currently available to you when making that presentation.

Want to try it for yourself? Have a go at the experiment below with NLP anchoring. Or an alternative anchoring technique would be a thing called the circle of excellence, which is great for pre-presentation nerves for example.

There are many many techniques, have a go at this one…

Go through the following steps once and then again and the second time actually do them.

NLP Anchoring in 5 Quick Steps

1. Pick a positive state you’d like to feel, for example, more confident.

2. Think back to a time when you felt really confident. It can be any recollection of a time when your confidence was strong.

3. Decide on how you want to anchor that feeling, such as touching your thumb and forefinger together or making a fist.

4. Remember what you saw, heard and felt in your confident memory. You must put yourself inside the memory as if reliving it. Don’t view the memory from a distance; the feelings won’t come back. You’ve got to ‘be there’ again.

Relive the memory until you begin to feel the confidence coming over you in the same way you felt it at the time. As you feel that confidence coming on, activate your anchoring device from step #3.

For example, touch your thumb and forefinger together as the confident feeling increases. Release your thumb and forefinger when the feeling begins to subside. If you’ve done this well and there’s no underlying reason you shouldn’t feel more confident, this anchor set!

5. Test the anchor by touching your thumb and forefinger together in exactly the same way again and find out if you naturally access that confident state. Of course, don’t be sceptical and resist the anchor. Allow it to happen.

If it worked, you now have an NLP anchor! From here on out, you get to feel confident whenever you touch your thumb and forefinger together. Cool, huh?

Or Maybe Not

NLP anchoring may not work all the time. For example, if you are experiencing a stronger feeling such as intense fear or dread these feelings may well overwhelm the anchor you’ve set. Does this mean NLP anchoring is bogus? Nope.

What it does mean is that anchoring may not be a cure-all for your worst stuck states. Being effective in using a tool like anchoring is by understanding its limitations, and knowing what approach to take in its place if it is not the best solution to be using.

Take your average garden hoe. It works great in soft soil with shallow rooting weeds.

A popular tool as it is so useful, most gardens having lots of shallow-rooted weeds in them.

However, a common hoe is not going to work when it comes to rock hard soil with tall, deeply rooted weeds.

NLP anchoring is no different. It will work under the right circumstances. In other circumstance, you may need to add additional tools or do other work to ‘soften the soil’.

Would you like to know more?

Our blog page has many more articles for you to read.

Alternatively, head over to our NLP glossary where you can find a list of NLP terms with lots of links to articles.

If you'd like to find out more about our courses where you can learn more head over to our courses page

Thanks for reading!


ABNLP Trainer
Founder: Insights NLP
Phone +62 (0) 812 3895 2053


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