From chaos to peace: 12 steps to create a positive emotional anchor
From Chaos to Calm in an Instant: How to Create a Positive Anchor
by: Tris Thorp
What Is a Positive Emotional Anchor?
From the teaching of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), comes the concept of an anchor. The simplest way to explain an anchor is to think of it as a link to an emotional state. The anchor serves as a reminder or a trigger that puts you into a certain state of being. Of course, anchors can be both positive and negative; however, we’re going to focus on positive anchors.
For example, an athlete will use an anchor to get back into “the zone” so they can regain peak performance in a game. It may be a visual image of shooting the perfect basket or knocking the ball out of the park. A professional speaker will have a routine they do before going on stage to remind them of the positive states they want to be in while presenting. This routine is their way of setting up an anchor—or a positive state. You can use this same concept at any time to help you get out of a chaotic state.
12 Steps to Creating a Positive Emotional Anchor
Here’s a guided visualization to help you create your own anchor to a powerfully calm and peaceful emotional state—or any other positive state you’d like to access in times of stress. If you’d like to use a physical object as your anchor, be sure to have it with you at this time, or you can work with a visual image in your mind.
First, sit comfortably and close your eyes.
Begin by taking a few slow, deep breaths to center yourself.
Think of a highly positive experience in the past when you achieved an incredibly calm and peaceful state, or whatever type of emotional state you would rather feel when you’re overly stressed out.
Have an object like a pendant in your hand or visual image in your mind that will help you remember that feeling.
Now, think of the experience that brought that calm state into being. See the experience through your own eyes, hear the sounds around you, notice any comforting smells or tastes, and feel into it emotionally—as if it is happening now. Make it compelling and feel yourself accessing the desired state as you hold the object or visualize the image that you are linking it to.
See if you can find other similar and equally positive experiences to link to this object or image as well.
Now use your senses in whatever way is best for you to link the object or image to these feelings of peace, calm, and harmony.
Use your breath to secure the anchor by taking a three-second inhale through your nose, and exhaling for six counts out your mouth while making a “ha” sound. Use the exhale to energize the anchor. You may energize it through visual, auditory, or kinesthetic sense. Do this four times.
When you see, hear, feel, or sense the connection has been made (you will know this because you are feeling the desired emotional state now), slowly open your eyes and come back into the room.
You have now created a tangible or visual link to this powerfully calm emotional state that you can use anytime you need to move from chaos to calm in an instant.
Whenever you’re spinning out and you need to come back to this state, stop, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and touch the object or see the visual image that you anchored.
Allow yourself to return to the calm, peaceful state and remain there for as long as you need—use your “ha” breaths to reconnect if you need to—and then re-emerge when you’re ready.
Remember that life is what we make of it. How we perceive our environment is what creates our reality. If we look at life through the lens of negativity, then negativity is all that we will see. If we choose to look at life through the lens of positivity, then we will see and experience positivity and be able to live in gratitude. It is a choice and, when we have tools—like the guided visualization for anchoring a positive state—we can more easily and effortlessly navigate life’s most challenging moments. This is where you will also begin to realize the power of the mind.