My Mum’s house is on the market but it’s not shifting. The Estate Agent is blaming Brexit. One of my clients is not booking any skills training for the next quarter. Why? Because of Brexit. Everyone I know seems to be holding their breath waiting for Brexit to be sorted before they feel comfortable spending again. With this in mind, I thought I’d share a really cool technique that can make you feel happy and it won’t cost you a thing. It’s called anchoring and can give you an instant lift – like a mood enhancing drug without the drug or its side effects!

Taking you back in time

Have you ever heard a certain piece of music or smelt the scent of a particular perfume and it has instantly taken you back to another time and place? This is what an anchor is; a specific external trigger that sets off a certain internal response. The trigger can be from any of the senses (eyes, ears, touch, smell and taste), which means a certain word, tone of voice, picture, place, sound, touch, smell or taste could activate a feeling.

Natural anchors

Anchors occur all of the time naturally and can cause a powerful – and instantaneous – change in our emotions when triggered. As the response is unconscious, you react automatically and without thinking. The smell of mint sauce could elicit happy feelings as you are taken back to your grandma’s roast dinners. The sound of a classic dance anthem could take you back to the hedonistic 90’s and conjure up excitement. Of course, anchors are not always positive. The whiff of a certain alcohol could make your stomach churn as it reminds you of the time you over-indulged a little too much. Or the theme tune to Crufts could cause you to reminisce about a childhood dog, which makes you sad because he is no longer around.

Artificial anchors

Anchors can also be deliberate: advertisers often use anchoring to get you to associate their brand with a particular celebrity so that you connect their brand with the qualities of the celebrity. Some chocolate bar advertisements show a slim, beautiful woman eating the sweet snack looking relaxed, happy and calm in a warm, bubbly bath. When you think of that chocolate bar, you don’t think of all the calories and the weight you’ll put on if you over-indulge in it, you think about how relaxed, content and calm it’s going to make you feel. It’s also the reason why some Estate Agents suggest having the aroma of freshly ground coffee when showing prospective buyers around your house; it makes the house feel more like a home.

You can also deliberately install an anchor for yourself, which can help you to create a positive feeling whenever you want it. You can generate as many anchors as you want and for whatever feelings you’d like. For example, you could have an anchor for confidence, fun, excitement, optimism, positivity or patience. In fact, any feeling you can imagine.


Suppose you would like an anchor that will produce a feeling of happiness.

Decide on the anchor

First of all, you need to decide what anchor you are going to use. I would suggest using a kinaesthetic one as it’s easy to do on yourself. Find a spot on your body that you don’t touch a lot, yet is easily accessible and make sure that the anchor can be easily replicated. A good example is pushing your thumb and little finger together or pressing your index finger onto your knee.

Access the state

The next step is accessing the state you want to replicate via an anchor. You can either wait for a time when you feel real happiness or you can get yourself into a state of happiness by using your imagination. You can do this by recalling a specific situation in the past when you felt really happy. It doesn’t matter in what context it is as long as it makes you feel really happy. Make the memory as vivid as possible by stepping into it and seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard and feeling what you felt. As soon as you feel really, really happy (either through actual experience or your imagination), trigger the kinaesthetic anchor you decided upon earlier.

Hold the anchor, release and test

Hold the pressure for as long as the strong happy feeling lasts and then release. Have a break and then trigger your anchor. You should get a sudden rush of happiness, which you can access at any time you want to feel happy. You could do this for confidence before a presentation, calmness before walking into a difficult negotiation, or energy levels before hitting the gym. You can also do this for other people (and they don’t need to tell you what memory they’re accessing either!). What a wonderful gift for you and your friends until this Brexit mess is over!

To learn advanced uses of anchoring as well as many other amazing NLP techniques, why not join me for my NLP Foundation course which is taking place on 20-21 June 2019 in Bournemouth, Dorset? If you book on before 5 April, you can take advantage of the early bird price of £250 (after that, it’s £300). For further information, please see NLP Foundation under my management courses on my website, or contact me directly. Please reserve your place by emailing me: