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Ken Ward's Mind Mastery Course - NLP Anchoring

Your owner's manual for your brain - that you never received or never read.

Your can change your state of mind or mood easily using the techniques of anchoring. This means you can, for example, stay calm and relaxed whatever other people are doing or however provoking they may be.

You do this by anchoring states of mind so you can fire the anchor and establish the state instantly.

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Anchoring is reminiscent of Pavlov's experiments with dogs. Pavlov sounded a bell as the animal was given food. The animals salivated when they saw the food. After some parings of the bell and the food, the bell alone elicited salivation.

Anchors are stimuli that call forth states of mind - thoughts and emotions. For example, touching a knuckle of the left hand could be an anchor. Some anchors are involuntary. So the smell of bread may take you back to your childhood. A tune may remind you of a certain person. A touch can bring back memories and the past states. These anchors work automatically and you may not be aware of the triggers.

Establishing an anchor means producing the stimuli (the anchor) when the resourceful state is experienced so that the resourceful state is pared to the anchor. For example, touching the knuckle of the left hand when the resourceful state is experienced to pair the two events.

Activating or firing the anchor means producing the anchor after it has been conditioned so that the resourceful state occurs.For example, touching the knuckle of the left hand after the anchor has been established so that this action produced the resourceful state.

This page is concerned with creating anchors that produce resourceful states at will.

Automatic Unconscious Anchors

We are affected by anchors throughout our lives and go into a good mood or a bad one ... feel motivated to do one thing or to do another ... feel confident and resourceful or the opposite. We are responding to anchors, but we may not know what they are.

These anchors have been built up accidentally. In fact, we often think that our mood has nothing to do with us and that our moods occur by chance.

Designer Anchors

Designer anchors are what this page is about. You use them to produce the state of mind or mood you need for a given situation. You enter an interview calm and relaxed. You control your temper. You turn on the enthusiasm you need to do a task.

First of all we will assemble the ingredients for anchors and then give the whole procedure for establishing your designer anchors. You can use any resourceful state, but here we will us 'being calm and relaxed' as the example.

Although we have dealth with the subject of establishing anchors in some depth in this page, it is actually extremely easy to establish them!

The Resource State

You have all the resources you require to achieve whatever goal you want. This is a presupposition.

You can recall any memories when you have experienced the required state. Recall them vividly and you recall the state. So you can recall any memories of being extremely calm and relaxed to get the resource for your anchor.

You might recall being calm and relaxed at work, for example, or from a time when you were at home or enjoying your leisure time.

To vivify the memory use instructions as:

Recall a time when you were calm and relaxed. As you go back to that time now step into your body and you are seeing now what you see in the memory, hearing now what you heard in the memory, and feeling now, what you feel in the memory.

Even people who think they have no resourceful memory can find such a memory perhaps in a different context.

I have never felt that way ...

If you cannot recall a situation where you had the resource you want to anchor, you can get the resource by imagining yourself in a situation where you had that resource.

Everyone has the capacity to empathise with another. When listening to another you may have experienced the emotions and states that they felt when they had the experience.

Types of Anchors

Anchors can be visual, auditory or kenesthetic.

Visual Anchors

You can use visual anchors to anchor the resourceful state. You can use external or internal anchors. For example, you could use a figure on a bracelet to anchor being calm and relaxed. The external anchor always has to be there for you to use. You may find it relaxing and calming to view a certain landscape, but unless you can carry it around with you, it is of limited value. You can however use an internal image of the landscape to anchor your resourceful feeling.

Most visual designer anchors are internal. Some examples of visual anchors are:

  • Symbols. For example, you could use a circle as a symbol for being calm and relaxed and anchor this to your state.
  • People, such as a trusted friend or mentor ... or even a person from history or current affairs.
  • Various objects and landscapes can be used as anchors for being calm and relaxed. For example, you could imagine:
    • A teddy bear
    • A flower
    • Etc

Auditory Anchors

You can use a sound as an anchor. Like the visual anchors, sounds can be internal or external. Many people have used whistling as an anchor - they whistle when they feel afraid!

You can use an internal voice as an anchor. For example, you could anchor the phrase 'Calm and Relaxed'.

Kinesthetic Anchors.

Examples of kinesthetic anchors are:

  • Imagining a comforting hand on your shoulder
  • Making a circle with the second finger and the thumb
  • Touching yourself on the hand or other unobtrusive place. You can choose a point and treat it like an acupressure point - pressing on it to fire the required state.

Visual, Kinesthetic and Auditory Anchors

You can use a combination of anchors such as seeing a certain symbol in your mind's eye. Hearing something said - for example, Calm and Relaxed. And Press your hand in a special place.

Installing Anchors

  1. Decide on the state you want to anchor. For example being calm and relaxed.
  2. Choose an anchor (or anchors) that you wish to trigger the resourceful state.
  3. Recall a memory or imagine a situation where you can experience the state. So recall or imagine a time when you experienced the state.
  4. Active the anchor or anchors when the experience is vivid and you are in the desired state.
  5. Release the anchors when the experience begins to fade.If you keep applying the anchor when the experience is fading, then you will anchor a drop in calmness and relaxation!
  6. Do something else - open your eyes ... count down from 10 to break state and distract yourself.
  7. Repeat the steps several times, each time making the memory more vivid. This is not actually required when the anchor is established at the high point of the experience. However, you can strengthen the anchor by establishing it at the high point of several such experiences.
  8. Apply the anchor and check that the required state occurs.
  9. Future pace the situation where you want to experience the desired state. Fire the anchor to check that it creates a sufficiently resourced state..
  10. Check the anchor the next day to ensure it is a permanent anchor.


  • The anchor (or anchors) should be fired in exactly the same way every time you link them to the resourceful experience.
  • Anchor at the high point of the experience containing the resourceful state.
  • If you do not experience the state when future pacing and especially if you experience anxiety, then stop applying the anchor. (You will anchor the negative state!)
  • There is a knowingness which makes anchoring work that is established by the unconscious mind.
  • You can strengthen the anchor by repeating the above process over several days.
  • If you are in a situation where you experience the desired state in reality, then you can reestablish the anchor to that situation.