A simple concept in NLP has even more profound implications that some don’t touch on.

Anchoring is a term that was coined in Neuro-linguistic Programming years ago. Some psychologists refer to the concept as association, but more than anything it is a concept that can be used to your tremendously positive benefit, or as many more people use it, to their detriment.

Anchoring is simply when someone makes an association with an external event connected to an internal event.

A few examples are:

  • Hearing a song on the radio that reminds you of the feelings you shared with a first date many years earlier.
  • Smelling your mother’s cooking and remembering times of the past.
  • Seeing an angry look on your partner’s face and associating the look with the feelings of a past dispute.
  • Feeling your lovers touch and feeling love towards them.

Anchoring happens in many contexts and the above examples describe how the technique occurs without us thinking about it.  Anchoring happens all the time and you can come to anchor yourself and others as well. 

All that you would have to do would be to come to associate an experience (an external event) with some kind of feeling (an internal event) or have someone do the same in your presence.

I bring this up because most people anchor others or themselves in negative or non-beneficial ways for their outcomes. This misuse of anchors causing great pain, uncertainty, and/or negatively in people’s lives and should be avoided if you would prefer more positive relationships.

It happens when the husband comes home from work and complains to his wife about work. It happens when the couple fights about money. It happens when parents negatively instruct their children to do better in school.

Whenever you are talking to someone else, the feelings that they are experiencing in the moment, they are also associating to you. If they feel happy and joyous, they will also come to associate or anchor those feelings to you as well.

It takes just one negative experience to associate negative or traumatic feelings with someone else. You can anchor someone either positively or negatively to their experience with you, and thus you will also be seen positively or negatively by that person.

To anchor someone positively to their experience with you, talk about nothing but positive things. Bring them up in spirit when they are with you and don’t give them any negative talk. Encourage them, do fun things with them, and make sure that they are also in the best emotional moods when they are with you.

It’s a very simple concept, yet most people are talking for themselves rather than giving others a positive experience. When you give others that experience, one that they will love you for, this is usually far more beneficial for your relationship and their positive perception of you.  

To do this, remove all negativity from your conversations and interactions with others. Don’t talk about anything negative and when something less than positive does come up, turn it into something more than positive. Make your experiences with others positive because you can.

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About the Author:

The founder of Alter Shift, inspired thinker, and enthusiastic change specialist.