How to Choose Your State of Mind. It’s THE Power Tool for Positive Living!
Every craftsman has a favorite, go-to tool that they always reach for because it reliably gets the job done. Have you thought about what tools you often reach for when you’re in a stressful or difficult situation? For some people, it’s anger. Other people use pouting. Are those the best tools to use? They’re more like using a screwdriver handle to pound a nail. It may do something, but you’re not going to be happy with the results. Plus, you’re more likely to get hurt. So what’s the power tool that you can use to easily shift your mood and choose a more resourceful state of mind, even under trying circumstances?
Choose your State of Mind with Anchoring
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) teaches us that we can choose any state of mind at will. This means that you can experience peace, joy, gratitude, or relaxation no matter what is happening in your life. There’s one technique that helps you access your desired state of mind more quickly – it’s anchoring.
Anchoring usually involves a touch, gesture or word as an “anchor”, like a bookmark for a desired emotion. When the anchor is repeated at a later time, the desired emotional or mental state is quickly and subtly accessed.
Anchoring can be especially useful in clearing the past. Often we hold positives as random experiences and negatives as patterns. By intentionally anchoring positive experiences, the brain can also experience them as patterns, furthering brain integration. It becomes second nature; we do it automatically.
This practice of anchoring is more easily understood by reviewing the experience of Pavlov’s dogs. We do it all the time… when the traffic light turns red, we press on the brakes urgently, when the elevator door dings, we step out, even if it’s not the floor we wanted, when we smell that special fragrance, we think about mom.
Kinesthetic or touch anchoring similarly causes you to psychologically associate a signal or trigger (placing your hand on your chest, snapping a rubber band, squeezing your fingers) with a physiological response (an emotion, mood, or mental state) of your choice. When you experience an unresourceful emotion, you can trigger a resourceful emotion and extinguish the negative one. This allows you to choose your state of mind no matter what the circumstances are.
Intentionally setting an anchor takes a lot of time. It’s not a one touch and you’re done. However, the more you practice this, the faster your response will become. Do you want to give anchoring a try?
Seven Anchoring steps that give you the power to choose a more resourceful state of mind
1. Decide on the state you want to anchor. For example, being open and curious.
2. Recall a memory or imagine a situation where you experience that state of mind. Make it very detailed and vivid, using all your senses.
3. When the experience is vivid and you’re in the desired state, connect it with a part of your body. For example, give your left index and middle fingers two quick squeezes with your right hand.
4. Now, open your eyes, count down from 10 to break state and distract yourself.
5. Apply the anchor by just squeezing those two fingers and check that the desired state or relaxation occurs again.
6. You may need to repeat the anchoring process a number of times to make the experience sufficiently intense.
7. Use your new anchor in a situation where you want to experience the desired state. For example, when you’re feeling backed into a corner and under attack, squeeze your fingers and make sure it creates a sufficiently robust resourced state of openness and curiosity.
In my upcoming Stepping Forward Program, I’ll be sharing an even more robust Anchoring exercise that lets you literally step into you’re chosen state easily, even if you’re undergoing something very upsetting. Why not get a head start on the program by downloading the Introduction to The Stepping Forward Program.
Thank you for the photo David Boca.