Keys to anchoring
The Steps of Anchoring provide us with a clear, step-by-step process that we can follow in order to set the anchors that will enable us to access resourceful states whenever we choose.
In addition to the steps there are certain key behaviours which should be included in the anchoring process to ensure that the resulting anchors are maximally powerful, automatic and effective.
In NLP these key behaviours are known as the Keys to Anchoring and we can remember them easily using the following mnemonic device I.T.U.R.N. - Intensity, Timing, Uniqueness, Replication and Number of times.
Let's open this up by examining each key in turn:-
I - Intensity
Anchors set better and work better when they are linked to intense emotional states i.e. delirious happiness, wanton motivation, intense relaxation or razor-sharp focus.
The best types of states to anchor are naturally occurring states, as you're able to anchor the state right when it's happening.
The next best types of states to anchor are recalled or remembered states where a vivid memory acts as the reference structure.
If a person's experience does not include either a naturally occurring or recalled state i.e. they cannot remember a time where they had the experience of being deliriously happy or of intense relaxation then a constructed state can serve as a reference structure. A person can be assisted in constructing such a state by asking them to:-
- Think of a person they know who has had this experience
- If they can't think of a person they know who has had this experience ask them to think of anybody who has had this experience - a TV personality, a famous person from history or even a character in a book or film
- If they simply can't come up with anybody who has had this experience then have them invent a character of the type who they imagine could have this kind of experience. Provided they do this vividly and with volition a powerful and detailed reference structure can be built up from scratch
- Describe in detail and from an observer's perspective what the experience was like for that person - how did they act? What did they look like? What did they say during the experience? What was going on around them? etc., etc.,
- Imagine stepping into the body of that person and living through that experience as them - what feelings do you experience? What do you say to yourself in your own mind? What can you see through their eyes, hear through their ears?
Once the state is being experienced fully then it can be anchored.
T - Timing
Ancors set best and work best when they are precisely timed. Ideally the stimulus is applied just before the intensity of the reference state reaches it's peak. The stimulus is then maintained for the duration of that peak emotional experience and then released just before the experience of the state begins to diminish.