Negative Anchors bypass positive thinking!

Lots of people have said to me, in the course of conversation, ‘with these great NLP skills and insights I shouldn't let things like that get to me - but they do, time and time again!’

One moment they felt fine and buoyant and positive.  Then somebody or something winds them up or puts them down, and they feel angry or deflated -- and guilty... because they know that in theory these things shouldn't get to them! In theory…!!

NLP Negative anchors

In NLP we use 'anchor' or an anchored response to describe a stimulus-response pattern in which something appears to cause a change in one's emotional state.

In other words, once something or somebody triggers a negative anchored response in you your state will change and no amount of ‘positive thinking’ or state-management techniques will stop the process.

In our NLP Core Skills training we also explore how our negative states result from either a Slow Burn process or an Instant Response, in other words a negative anchor.  We either think ourselves, gradually, into a negative state or something happens to which we respond with an instant negative state change.

In reality, these processes are precisely one and the same. It's just that with Slow Burn we go through the steps over hours or days whereas with Instant Responses things are so streamlined our state changes in seconds. We see or hear or feel something and instantly our state has altered - there is no thinking involved.

(By the way there are links to more information on NLP and Anchors at the end of this article).

They can be undermining

Instant or Anchored responses can be a bit undermining of self-esteem or confidence unless you bear in mind that negative anchors are irresistible.

Once the state change process begins it will run its course!  Trying to be positive, or change your breathing, or use some NLP technique is fine as a way of mopping up afterwards but it won't interfere with the anchored response -- the latter is just too streamlined and too speedy.

That's pretty negative isn't it??? Well, actually.. No, it's looking at things realistically.

And it's also leaving out a crucial piece: the importance of ‘using’ each of these experiences as an opportunity to identify and defuse yet another negative anchor!

With this approach we go easy on ourselves whenever we fall foul of a particular negative anchor. The first time that happens, at least. We then change your state, learn from the experience, and move on.  No self-blame and no blaming others.

How to do this?

Identify the trigger to which you responded and then use the Swish Pattern (which we explore in our unique in-depth NLP Core Skills course) to defuse your response to this trigger.

So when something or somebody winds you up or puts you down:

  1. Accept that you fell foul of one of your own negative anchors - forgive yourself and move on!
  2. Use your state management methods to regain your sense of equilibrium
  3. As soon as possible afterwards trackback through the events leading up to the anchored response to identify precisely what you responded to -- the Trigger
  4. Use the Swish to neutralise this Trigger

Test your Swish work thoroughly. Congratulate yourself.

So whatever your level of NLP skills, knowledge, or training recognise anchors for what they are - instant stimulus-response patterns which, once activated, operate too quickly for rational or positive or strategic thinking to affect them.

But... decide you will only fall foul of a particular anchor once...!


More about negative anchors or hot buttons:

The Swish Technique is one of the best way of defusing a negative anchor

How negative anchors operate in families and close relationships

Why 'positive thinking' doesn't work with negative anchors

NLP and anchors in the supermarket...

An NLP technique for regaining your sense of perspective

Negative anchors - they are not our fault

Other articles related to NLP Anchors

Negative anchors and self esteem

Poor weather can be a negative anchor for some people

Anchoring and brands - how marketing uses anchors

Insomnia: the part anchoring plays in staying awake instead of being asleep


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