I’ve been promising a few of you to write this article on anchoring for some time and so finally here it is.

An Anchor is a trigger or stimulus that retrieves a desired emotional state. A great example of an anchor is when you hear a piece of music that brings back a particular emotion or feeling associated with something that you were doing. E.g. you could have been with a loved one, listening to a particular song. A month, two months, a year or even ten years down the line, you may hear that song but experience those feelings and emotions as if you were there right now.

Anchoring is such a powerful tool because with it, you can recall any particular emotional state that you desire. You could create an anchor for creativity. Another anchor could be for motivation. One for feeling powerful, an anchor for love, an anchor for happiness and so on.

Anchoring – It’s everywhere!

We are constantly creating anchors. Every day all the time anchors are being formed through the repetitive actions we are doing and associated feelings we are having. E.g. you might have anchored yourself to feeling motivated for training by hearing a particular song. When I want to get ready to play a badminton match or go to the gym I might put “Eye of the Tiger” on my iPod because I have automatically associated success to that song through watching the Rocky movies.

Marketing companies are creating Anchors for us all the time. When they create T.V. commercial they may use a song with a brand. Recently they did an advert for a new car with a song called “Don’t rain on my parade” by Bobby Darrin which happens to be one of my favourite songs. Now, whenever I listen to that song I think of that car and whenever I see that car I end up automatically humming or singing that song.

The great thing about this is now that you know about anchors you can begin to form your own to serve you. Creating an anchor is easy. There are three core things that are important when creating an Anchor and they are:

1. Intensity
2. Repetition
3. Uniqueness


It is important for your anchor trigger to be unique. The reason for this is because you don’t want your anchor to become diluted or accidentally fired off at the wrong time.


Initially when you create the trigger you must ‘stack the anchor’ and so the more times you set the trigger during the peak of your emotional state the more that trigger will become associated with that emotion and the more it will be effective for you.


When creating your anchor you must do it at the peak of emotional intensity. So if the emotion you want to experience is absolute and total empowerment and motivation. Get yourself to that state by either remembering a time when you were in that state or imagine what it would be like to be in that state. At this point, for this kind of emotion it’s a good idea to get your whole body involved as this will add to the intensity.

So lets put all these together as steps

Step 1

. Firstly, think of an emotion you would like to anchor. Absolute self confidence perhaps? Or the feeling of being unstoppable maybe?

Step 2.

Think of an anchor that you would like to use. I first learned about anchoring when I was listening to one of Chris Howard’s tapes on NLP and one of the anchors he uses is to tuck his thumb into his fist and that was unique enough to create a powerful trigger.

Step 3.

Recall the emotion you wish to anchor and get yourself at the peak of emotional intensity

Step 4.

Engage your trigger. Once you’ve done that, release your trigger and get yourself back to your normal state.

Step 5.

Repeat as much as you like, the more you do it, the stronger the anchor becomes. (Lather, rinse, repeat!) 😆

That’ s pretty much it. Now you have the tools to create a powerful anchor that you can use at any time. Lets say you’re feeling depressed and you want to get yourself out of it. If you’ve created your anchor well as soon as your trigger it you will be able to break that emotional state and be in the empowered place that you wish you be.

Without even realizing it, I’ve just anchored you. From now on, whenever you see or hear the word anchor or you see a picture of one, you WILL REMEMBER the anchoring process.

Let me know in the comments below how you get on!

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39 Responses

  1. Schumi says:

    Hey Shona, this is indeed a very motivating article and its well timed (need I say why lol!)…thank you for this….

    The literal definition of an anchor is ‘it is a mechanical device that prevents a vessel from moving’ this vessel could be anything, you, an emotional state, something you have coveted and yearned or just any ordinary feeling…. To me it’s about stability….An anchor is something that makes you feel secure and safe. If you fasten yourself to your anchor (who or whatever it may be), you end up feeling protected and motivated to achieve what you set out to do…..some people find their anchors in their friends, parents, partners or a even a song like you mentioned especially when its about motivation…. A lot of people may also find it within themselves, maybe a feeling within them that pushes them and stimulates their mind, body and soul….

    At times people act on impulse and in retrospect regret what they have done…however the basic realistaion of this (and the regret) prompts them to make amends and encourages them to change….at such time finding that trigger/anchor is ideal….

    Ok I am sorry if I have completely gone off track. I am multi tasking – am at work on a conference call and writing at the same time. So apologies hon if I have completely lost the plot!

    Keep smiling sunshine.

    Lots of love,

    The one and only – Schumi

  2. Amit says:

    You’re sort of on track Schumi but the function of the anchor in NLP terms is to create a trigger stimulus that activates a specific emotion as you need it. You can, for example, create an anchor for happiness. Try this, think of a time when you were incredibly happy. Maybe it was when you think of your pet dog back home. As you think about him and you feel the strong intense feelings of joy, love and happiness, do something unique, maybe squeeze the middle of your index finger on your left hand with your thumb and index finger on your right hand. Stop and let go. Put your mind somewhere else for a moment. Now repeat it. Do this about 5 – 10 times and you will have a solid Anchor for the feeling of happiness. 🙂

    As for what you said about people being your anchors, that is very true and we do this all the time.

    I will do a follow up article on this soon and I will also talk about how you can collapse negative anchors.

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi Amit,

    It’s great to learn that we can use this technique in a positive way for self improvement!

    I saw a lot of it in its negative aspect when I worked at the school for emotionally disturbed girls. A trigger can be *anything*; a look, word, gesture…and many times it was difficult to identify and therefore to “deprogram.”

    We *are* constantly being programmed without even relizing it….that’s a pretty scary thought! (Another good reason to spend time in silence?!) 🙂 There are phrases and jingles from my childhood that, when I hear them, I still associate with products. Repetition is very powerful programming.

    Thanks for a great article!

  4. Amit says:

    Hey Michelle, I don’t know why but I didn’t get notified when you posted your comment as I normally would.

    As much as an anchor can be created it can also be collapsed to and so when i do my follow up on this one I’ll talk about that

  5. Ross says:

    Hey Amit

    Great guide mate. Definitely one to add to the favourites.

    Have a great day bud

  6. Amit says:

    Thanks Ross! 🙂

  7. Ben Tien says:

    Hi Amit, this great article about anchoring

    The development of anchoring helps us withdraw from a devastating mindset into a friendlier ‘happy place’ which involves joy instead of frustration. Anchoring are useful in an office environment or in moments of complete apathy towards others.

    Before using anchoring to remain enthusiastic, we should think about all of the good that has happened in our life and work off of multiple anchors. This leaves our mind a pleasant state whenever we need it and keeps our progress on track when needed the most.

    We can practice anchoring by placing ourselves in a mindset of happiness we have in the past. Each memory triggers a different reaction in different people so there is no criteria of how well our anchor is.

  8. Justin says:

    So true Amit. I learned about anchoring through Tony Robbins personal power 2 program. Too bad we aren’t made aware of anchoring when we are in grade school.

    Take Care.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Justin, it’s been a while! 🙂 Tell me about it, I really wish I learned more about personal development at school, I found school so boring which is why I ended up being a high school drop-out.

  9. Ben says:

    Hi Amit,
    It’s definately valuable to learn to create any emotional state we want at will. I’ve used some anchoring before and found it interesting, though I think I needed to work on it more because it seemed the more I used it the less it worked.

    I also belive on the other hand it’s another great skill to learn to let go of certain anchors that we didn’t choose ourselves, the ones that aren’t serving us.


    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Ben, interesting that you had the opposite result. perhaps, in some way, you’re a bit reversed wired like me. Often the more I tried and do something, the less it happens, which is why I often use the paradoxical intention technique. 😉

  10. Chris Akins says:


    Great overview of the NLP technique of anchoring. For some, it is easily mastered. For others, not so much.

    I find that those who can concentrate intensely on the experience they are using to generate the feelings that are then anchored to develop the more powerful anchors.

    Timing is also key. And this takes practice.

    I appreciate the overview. Its been a while since Ive used anchors. I became and NLP Practitioner about 8 years ago, and sometimes its nice to be reminded of some of the techniques. They really do work!


    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Chris, thank you for the reply. I agree, there are so many techniques out there, I’d almost forgotten about anchoring and how useful it can be. Time for me to start using it som’more! 😀


  11. Kevin says:

    I never use anchoring myself, but have read about it before. Very well written good post. 🙂

  12. Hello Amit,

    Its an amazing concept from NLP which can help you change your emotional state in a matter of few seconds..Yes, as you rightly said practice is prime for this..

    And just out of curiosity are you a NLP Practitioner..I saw that you are a life coach..Its accidentally that I stumbled upon your blog and have fallen in love ever since..And when you get time kindly tell me your feedback about my blog and articles..


    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Rafi, thank you for your kind words. Anchoring is one of my favourite tools from the NLP family.

      I love the simple and elegant design of your blog. In terms of your wording, great clarity and emphasis on the point will help drill the points home.

      Congratulations on all your work and may your success continue to spiral upwards! 🙂

  13. Hey Amit, thanks for your lightning quick response and your honest feedback.

    Do you mean to say that my points have got clarity or it needs more clarity? A little more clarity on this point, please 😉

    People like you are a great inspiration because you have proved it to the world through your hard work and success. Thank you once again for all your encouragement and support:).

    And I wish you more success for all your great work..Just out of curiosity, do you have any roots in India and if yes, can you tell me more about yourself?

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hi Rafi,

      Yes, my apologies, I worded that badly. What I meant to say was ‘greater’ clarity would help to drill the point home, also, adding more authority to your core message.

      Yes, my origins are Indian, I’ve been about 4 or 5 times and my partner is originally from Mumbai! 🙂

      All the best to you too with your blogging career! 😉

  14. SUPer says:

    Great! Anchors are the trick to get into one’s mind and manipulate him with NPL!

  15. LN says:

    I absolutely love the idea of “anchoring”. I’m going to try to come up with an anchor to use in my life for emotional eating and/or late night snacking. In any case, reading this article opened my mind to ideas that I know will be helpful in my life. Can’t wait to read your follow-up.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey there LN!

      Thank you so much for your comment and your kind words. I will definitely do a follow up to this in the very near future! 🙂 These concepts are particularly useful for diet changes, in fact, I’ve been doing ‘Intermittent Fasting’ or the past 3 months and more recently, I decided to give up sugar! 🙂

      Good luck and I would love to hear back from you on how it goes! 🙂

      All the best,


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