NLP Anchoring Technique

Anchoring is one of the most fundamental NLP techniques. It enables stimulus-reaction coupling to be established in a targeted manner. This allows us to store feelings and to recall them when needed.

Make your daily life easier and improve your customer relations with our natural conditioning mechanisms’ knowledge and use. Learn to create beneficial emotional reactions and to dissolve restrictive ones whenever you want to.

How to use anchoring? Setting Anchors

Setting an anchor means consciously linking an external stimulus with an existing experience. You can use all sensory channels for anchoring (pictures, sounds, sensations, smells, tastes). Anchors can be set and released by oneself or by others (self-set, external anchor). Firing an anchor means triggering the stimulus, reactivating and experiencing the previously anchored experience.

Standard steps:
First, determine the resource, the state you would like to have available “at the push of a button,” and select the anchor with which you want to retrieve this state. The anchor can be a particular smell, a song or simply a pressure in a specific place on your body.

Remember, entirely associated, an experience in which you had the desired resource available.
Trigger the selected anchor just before the peak, i.e. the highest intensity of the resource-rich state
Separator: interrupt the state, e.g. with a distracting question
Test: Trigger the anchor again to test if it works

The Concept of Anchors

An anchor is a stimulus (stimulus, trigger) that causes a specific reaction is always the same person. Unlike a reflex, however, this particular reaction has been learned and is not innate. Thus, an external stimulus, such as a specific song, can be linked to an inner state, e.g. a feeling of being in love.

Further examples: Ringing of the telephone or memorable pieces of music, traffic signs or holiday photos, a hot cooker, certain smells like freshly baked bread or taste memories, logos, slogan (“Just do it!”, “simply good” – McDonald’s”), distinctive voices, certain items of clothing.
Anchors influence our emotional states almost non-stop. However, You should only give particular importance to anchors that are associated with intense emotional states.

Recognising your anchors and replacing them with more positive ones if necessary is an essential step on the way to good self-esteem.

NLP Anchoring
Conscious anchoring represents an extension of the concept of classical conditioning, according to Pawlow. Pavlov first noticed, somewhat by chance, that the dogs he was researching with salivated as soon as they heard the footsteps of the guard, who would give them their food shortly afterwards. Curious, Pavlov would ring a bell before he fed the dogs, and after a while, the mere ringing of the bell would cause the dogs’ mouths to water.

NLP Anchoring
We can now use this phenomenon to anchor desired emotional states with a trigger intentionally. In this way, the desired emotional state can be called up practically on command by the trigger – the anchor. In principle, any sensory impression can be used as an anchor, whether it is a gesture, touch, image, sound, word or smell.

What are the five keys to anchoring? Components of good anchors
Timing of the anchor.
A good anchor has a 1: 1 relationship to the excitation curve. That means we begin to set the anchor when the excitement is nearing its maximum and increase the pressure (in a kinesthetic anchor) with the increase of excitement. It is essential to stop in time so as not to anchor the down curve.

The intensity of the state.
To install a solid anchor, the state we have anchored also must have been strong. We do not create a form with an anchor but rather hold it. You can only land what’s there.

The precision of repetition.
If the anchor’s location is not accurately hit when repeating, then the anchor will not work or not at the optimum intensity.

The uniqueness of the anchor.
If the same anchor is used for different states, the states will mix. If you want to install an anchor that will last for a long time, it is essential to create one that is not constantly overlaid by other everyday life experiences. So, a handshake is undoubtedly not a good anchor because different backgrounds constantly overlay it.

Purity of the state.
When someone remembers a positive state while regretting that this state will quickly come to an end, this nostalgic feeling will naturally also be anchored. Therefore, make sure that the form you land is as “clean” as possible.

Maintain the Emotional States
I fell in love for the time at Lake Balaton in Hungary. It was a girl from Berlin, and I met her in a holiday group. I had no idea what triggered this feeling of joy, but it was fantastic. During the day, we saw each other on the beach, and in the evenings we sat together and danced at the disco. That summer, there was one viral hit. In the daytime, you could hear it coming from people’s ghetto blasters and at night from the discotheque speakers. It was the reggae song “Kingston Town” by UB40.

So, I was utterly in love, and this song was playing everywhere. Love ended soon after the holidays; I only received one letter from her. But two years later, something unique happened. Lake Balaton was long forgotten. I was sitting in a restaurant when suddenly I was overcome by the same wonderful feeling from that time. I saw her. I visited Lake Balaton. I heard her voice and felt my first kiss again. I wondered what had made me suddenly think of all that again. I looked around, and only then did I realise: “Kingston Town” played in the background. I’m sure you also know songs that can awake memories and feelings you thought were long forgotten, as if at the push of a button. And it still works. I have just put this song on as I am writing, and all those images appear in my mind as I listen to it again. It would help if you immediately tried it yourself. Listen to a song that reminds you of the most beautiful and intense moments of your life!

State Management
The ability to influence our emotional states is crucial to our lives. On the one hand, we can, in this way, overcome fears and stress. On the other hand, we can generate emotional states such as love and self-confidence in ourselves.

Our physical processes play a crucial role in our emotional states. They indicate our internal conditions. But by changing physiology, we can also change our conditions.

Setting Anchors
Anchoring is one of the most fundamental NLP techniques. It makes it possible to produce stimulus-response coupling selectively. This will enable us to store feelings and recall them when needed.

Collapsing Anchors
Utilising this NLP technique, you can effectively neutralise unpleasant anchors. A robust and positive anchor is set and then is fired off simultaneously with the negative anchor.

Chaining Anchors
In this anchoring technique, several anchors are fired off one behind the other. This creates a chain of anchors that can lead you from very negative states into very positive states.

State Management and Internal Representation
State Management
The ability to influence our emotional states is crucial to our lives. On the one hand, we can overcome fears and stress. On the other hand, we can generate emotional states such as love and confidence in ourselves.

A state is the sum of all the neurophysiological processes in us at the same time. In other words, NLP describes a state as a momentary condition (mood or state of mind) that is expressed in terms of “physiology” and feeling. We experience the world through our sensory organs. The external stimulus, e.g., a sunbeam or a friend’s voice, is transmitted through our nervous system by electrical or chemical signals in our brain. There then arise images, sounds and other sensations. These represent the external stimulus.

State Graphik
Internal Representation
Our behaviour is critically dependent on our state. Our internal representations and physiology influence it, i.e., you can change your state by imagining something else or changing your physiology.

Resource State, Stuck State, Separator State
The NLP distinguishes three critical states:

Being in Resource State means that all personal abilities and positive energies are accessible and available, usually accompanied by a powerful or joyful feeling. You feel rich in resources.

A stuck State means a condition that is perceived as blocked, stressed or uncomfortable. Resources are no longer perceived, or they are experienced as inaccessible.

Separator State refers to a neural or emotionally discrete state used to interrupt a current condition.

Stuck State
Translated, this means a condition in which one is stuck or held fast. A problem state in which a person is stuck and presents them with a “problem”. Problems are often marked by specific triggers, certain anchors. Whenever this anchor is activated (for example, someone is talking very loudly to me), a particular unwanted state will occur (for example, I feel small). A stuck state has specific physiology. It is usually also physically accompanied by rigidity: I feel stiff and not very flexible. NLP’s modification techniques aim to change stuck states positively.

Our physical processes play a crucial role in our emotional states. They indicate our internal conditions. But by changing physiology, we can also change our forms.

Physiology refers to everything that has to do with the physical body (as distinct from psychic events). A person’s physiology includes everything that we can observe externally through close perception, especially the entire body language. NLP is based on a close connection between body and mind. The physiology of a person has a direct influence on his cognitive processes and his inner state. Small changes in physiology can have a significant impact on your internal state.

What all belong to Physiology?
lip size
muscle tension
ideomotor, i.e., unconscious movements
eyes: line of vision, eyelid reflex, length, moisture
voice: pitch, volume
and many more.
This Stahl distinguishes between problem physiology, target physiology, resource physiology and reconciliation physiology, and various mixed physiologies.

Problem Physiology
This is defined as the state from which the client names what he finds problematic and how he does so in detail. A person shows their problem physiology when talking about their problem, remembering a situation (or imagining a situation in the future) that has not turned out to their satisfaction (will result). Problem physiologies can be perceived accurately, but they are different for each person.

Target Physiology
This is defined as the physiology that my client must demonstrate to me in most NLP modification techniques so that, as a therapist, I know how to tell when the change work is complete.

Resource Physiology
Resource physiology is very similar to target physiology. It is defined as the physiology of the abilities with which my client can get into the target physiology. Respiration, posture, muscle tone, and ideomotor movements will be similar in both states. At the end of the change work, the client should have learned to use the resource physiology himself.

Reconciliation Physiology
Reconciliation physiology is defined as the physiology that accompanies the client’s often very intense experience when he suddenly knows that the behaviour he wants to rid himself of is significant and indispensable to something specific in his life. When he can somehow appreciate the function of the behaviour in particular contexts, he shows this physiological change.

Merging Anchors
Using this NLP technique, you can effectively neutralise unpleasant anchors. A strong positive anchor is used, which is fired simultaneously with the negative anchor.

Classical anchor merging technique
Negative Anchor
Lead your partner to a state where he has sensations that he feels are inappropriate and unpleasant if it is completely in the state. Anchor this state by touching the knee or touching a knuckle or other harmless area of the body.
Separate your client from that state by asking him questions that will lead him to a different, neutral state. For example, ask him where he was last on vacation.
Test by re-firing the anchor to see if it works. If not, go back to 1. If yes, go to 2.
Positive Anchor
Lead your client to a state where he felt that he would like to have in the first situation. Anchor this condition to the other knee or ankle.
Separate your client again as in 2, but better with other questions.
Test the positive anchor by touching the corresponding spot again. Calibrate yourself to the changes your client can not arbitrarily produce. Ensure yourself by asking if the anchor is acting strongly enough. If your client has to help with the anchor’s ideas to work correctly again, it is not installed correctly. Then go back to 4. Otherwise, go to 7.
Merging the anchors
Now hold the positive anchor, and then fire the negative. Use the Hypnotalk on the next page. Wait until the physiological changes have calmed down and your client makes an asymmetrical, positive impression. If the positive anchor has not been strong enough or this resource has not been enough, go back to 4 and get additional help.
Test the merge by asking your client to think about the awkward situation and pay attention to how he responds. If the physiology still contains signs of problem physiology, then back to 4. If not, lead your clients into future similar situations (Future Pace).
Hypnotalk: Integrative Suggestions
Firing and holding the positive anchor:
Now that you feel that pleasant feeling in your whole body, you can intensify it And now.

Firing and holding the negative anchor:
You start to see and hear what there was to see and hear in the adverse situation, while you continue to stay in the pleasant feeling! And with all the new and changed sensations and emotions, it could be that you are now assessing the situation quite differently or that you are discovering aspects that you have neglected so far or did not even recognise. and to the extent that the meaning of this situation has changed for you

Letting the negative anchor go:
You can now start to try out new behaviours that correspond with your expectations and needs! Isn’t that so?

Chaining Anchors
In this anchoring technique, several anchors are fired one after the other. This creates a chain of anchors that can take you from very negative states to very positive states.

Sometimes the target state is emotionally so far removed from the initial condition that a series of intermediate steps are necessary to get from the undesired state into the desired shape quickly by using anchors:

Elicit the initial state
Determine the target state with the client.
Design a chain of states with the client that naturally leads to the target state.
Anchor every single state, e.g., on a knuckle. Separate and test each anchor.
Fire the first anchor and wait for the physiology to fully develop, then release the anchor and wait about 1-2 sec until you fire the next anchor.
Continue to the target state.
Take a break for a few minutes. When the client is entirely out of state, and there is no danger of the last state being chained to the first, then start over. Go through the chain three times.
Fire the first anchor and calibrate it yourself to see if the chained process is now running by itself.
Future Pace.
Example: from hesitating to “go for it!”
1) Hesitation
Ask your partner to find a situation in which he knew what he wanted but hesitated.
Guide him to this situation (VAKOG) and anchor him on the knuckle of the little finger A1. Increase the pressure as the experience intensifies.
Then take your finger away and interrupt the condition (“separator”).

2) Annoyance
Repeat step 1) with “being annoyed” instead of “hesitating”.
Anchor on the knuckle of the ring finger. A2 – Separator.

3) Impatience
Repeat step 1) with “impatience”.
Anchor on the middle finger’s knuckle. A3 – Separator.

4) Unbridled lust
Repeat step 1) with a situation where your partner was so keen on something that he could barely wait until
Anchor on the knuckle of the index finger. A4 – Separator.

5) Go for it!
Repeat step 1) with a situation in which there was no stopping him – with a total “go for it” feeling.
Anchor on the knuckle of the thumb. A5 – Separator.

6) Chain
Do A1 again in “hesitation”, then move your finger to A2 and lead him to “being annoyed”, then go to A3 with your finger and show him to “impatience”, then on A4 and “unbridled lust”, then on to A5 and “go for it!”. Repeat step 6) several times faster and faster until A1 leads right to “go for it!”.

7) Test / Future Pace
Let your partner find a future situation where he knows what is best but has hesitated so far. Then ask him to pay attention to how the idea and the feeling of this situation change when you tap A1 briefly.
If “go for it!” does not occur, go back to step 6.

We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

What is NLP?

In simple terms, Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP) is a series of models, techniques and strategies to help us better understand how the language we use influences the way we think and the results we get!

How can I benefit from using NLP?

NLP can have a positive effect on every aspect of your life. It can be used to move forward with some specific challenge or issue, or can be adopted more generically to make a difference to all areas of your life.

ANLP has many case studies and success stories detailing how NLP has helped clients, organisations and educational establishments with specific challenges over the years.

How does NLP work?

Have you ever done something so elegantly and effectively that it took your breath away? Have you had times where you were delighted at what you did and wondered how you did it?

NLP shows you how to understand and model your own successes, so that you can reproduce them. It is a way of discovering and unfolding your personal genius, a way of bringing out the best in yourself and others.

NLP is the study of excellence. It is the study of both the conscious and unconscious processes that combine to enable people to do what they do. The key to success is often unknown at a conscious level. Using NLP, you can elicit these unknown pieces.

You may want to improve your relationships, or eliminate an anxiety, or become more competitive in the market place. The key pieces are not found in the muscles, but in your inner thoughts, like words or pictures, or feelings or even beliefs. Once you know these unknown pieces you can change them. NLP exercises are like thought experiments, mental exercises or a game. The laboratory is your mind.

How did NLP develop?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming was first defined by Dr Richard Bandler (a Mathematician) and John Grinder (an Associate Professor of Linguistics) working together at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the early 1970s at a time of rapid development in the humanities field.

They asked the important question "What is it that makes the difference between somebody who is merely competent and someone who excels at the same skill?" and decided to model various people in order to discover the answers. It just so happens that the three people they chose to model were the outstanding therapists, Fritz Perls (Gestalt Therapy), Virginia Satir (Family Therapy) and Milton Erickson (world renowned psychiatrist who gave his name to a form of hypnosis). They could just as easily have modelled outstanding businessmen or scientists.

Richard Bandler and John Grinder modelled their language, physiology and mental processes and then identified patterns (rather than theories) which could be explicitly taught. NLP also drew on many existing fields of study including the work of Chomsky in linguistics, of Korsybski in general semantics, Ashby in systems thinking and many, many others.

Do I need an NLP trainer or an NLP professional?

That depends on what you hope to achieve.

If you would like one to one support to achieve a specific goal or deal with a particular challenge in your life, then you may like to consider visiting an NLP professional (a Practitioner or Master Practitioner).

If you would like to learn more about NLP, either for your own personal development or because you are considering a career change or additional career, then you are looking for an NLP trainer. You can then attend some NLP training and become a qualified Practitioner yourself.

How do I choose a good NLP professional?

For starters, make sure any NLP professional you are considering working with belongs to the Professional Body, so you have something to fall back on and they have a self-regulatory framework to base their business upon.

ANLP offers you impartial guidance on choosing either an NLP professional or an NLP trainer and strongly advises that you do your due diligence before engaging their services.

How much does an NLP session cost?

The cost of an NLP session will vary depending on whether you are having a 1-2-1, group or a training session as part of a longer course. Prices will also vary based on the skill and specialization of the Practitioner… a single session may be as little as £50 and a course can be over £3,000.

We recommend you use our ANLP resources to select the right NLP professional for you and that you understand how much you will be charged per session or for the course before you commit.

By searching on our site and using an ANLP Member, you will be assured that the person you select is qualified, as they state on their profile, as either an NLP Practitioner, Master Practitioner, Trainer, or ANLP Accredited Trainer from an ANLP-recognised NLP School.

NOTE: If you are looking for NLP training and to learn NLP as a practitioner, we do NOT recommend that you use online courses to learn NLP as the quality and depth of training offered is, in our professional opinion, not adequate to certify you as an NLP practitioner with ANLP. As the internationally recognized, independent body of NLP Professionals, ANLP does not endorse or recognize ANY online-only NLP courses.

Where do I start?

If you are interested in engaging an NLP professional to support you through a particular issue, then we suggest you start by looking at our guide for choosing a good NLP professional.

If you are wondering if NLP is a good fit for your organization or workplace, then start by reading our guide for using NLP at work.

If you are thinking about training in NLP for yourself, then start by looking at our guide for choosing a good NLP trainer.

If you are curious and want to know a bit more about NLP before diving in, then do have a look at our case studies and recommended book list, both of which can help you to make informed decisions about whether or not NLP is right for you.

Is there any research to prove NLP works?

For many years, there was very little research around NLP. That is changing and there is a growing body of evidence to support the roots of NLP practice and various specific strategies and techniques used within NLP practices.

There is also a growing body of research particularly in the education field, funded by the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT). We feature their research papers, and others, on our Research Pages.

The first NLP Research Journal was published by NLPEA  in 2009 and was launched at the House of Commons in January 2010.

In the States, the Research and Recognition Project focuses on PTSD and trauma protocols and continues to campaign for funded research into these particular areas.

What about online courses in NLP?

We think online courses, in NLP, such as Udemy, are one of many great ways to discover more about NLP and what it can do for you...

We also strongly believe that if you have more than a passing interest in NLP and want to use it to build your own practice or enhance existing client-led services, it is so important to learn your NLP practice face to face, in a live training environment and dealing with real people.

NLP is an experiential subject and practicing NLP is an essential part of any certification when you want to work with others.

There is a big difference between 'online' courses and 'virtual' courses. Due to the pandemic in 2020, NLPEA's Accreditation panel and advisors explored ways of safely delivering NLP training in a virtual setting, resulting in the ANLP Criteria for Virtual Training. If your NLP Training meets all these live training requirements, you can still apply for membership of NLPEA.

What is NLP


What is NLP


What is NLP



Learn More about our Certfied NLP Training
Place Yourself On Our Early Bird Special Priority List
& Receive Your Special Price Guarantee
April Course Only - 19 Spots Available