Anchoring Emotions

Nov 21, 2014

About a year ago, my Mother-in-law fell over in the street on her way back from picking my son up from school.

She wasn't badly hurt, just a few bumps and bruises but my has son never forgotten it.
The main reason he's never forgotten it is because he thought it was funny.

As his lunchbox skidded into the road and his Grandma "Oooffed!" her way to the floor he burst into hysterics.

12 months later he still gets a little smile on his face for no reason and when I ask him what he's smiling at he says "Just remembering Grandma falling over."

Now, occasionally, like all 6 year olds, my son get's a bit grumpy over something and when he's in a bit of a bad mood and needs cheering up I remind him of the day Grandma tried to learn to fly and threw herself to the ground and he starts to laugh again.

Pleasure in somebody else's misfortune aside, this process of attaching an emotion to a memory is called an anchor, and we can get anchored to all sorts of memories, our wedding day, the day a child was born, being man of the match at a football game and sometimes we only need to hear a piece of music to be right back to how we felt when we first heard it. Smells can often do this too.

Do you have an anchor?

If you do, try and fire it off by taking your mind back or listening to that particular piece of music it can certainly help to lift your mood.

I use this quite a bit with clients in hypnosis, as you may or may not already know, hypnosis helps accelerate the learning process and makes anchors stronger and more effective. Ivan Pavlov is famous for creating anchors in dogs, by using a tuning fork, a bell or a metronome to make associations with food, after a few times of experiencing the occurrences of both a tuning fork and some food the dogs would salivate upon hearing the tuning fork rather than seeing the food.

I often joke with people that if someone showed you a picture of Jeremy Clarkson and then poked you in the eye, and then repeated the process over and over again, eventually you'd only need to see an image of Jeremy Clarkson to make your eye water (it's not an experiment I want to undertake actually, but let me know if you're interested)

I use this same process a lot with clients by using hypnosis to speed up these associations. Not with poking in the eye but with feeling relaxed and by performing some sort of physical action, either taking a deep breath, which is quite relaxing anyway, click here to see why, or with squeezing a thumb and finger together which all work really well.

Try it.