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Using NLP for good: Anchoring

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posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 11:10 AM
In response to the plethora of anti-NLP posts, I would like to start putting up some NLP posts that shine a bit more light on the tools contained in this field. Despite the ignorant fear mongering, NLP is not some coercive tactic for manipulating people. It can certainly be used for that, just as language can be used to compliment or insult. Nobody is blaming language for the existence of insults, so nobody should blame NLP for the existence of manipulative people.

The same concept can be applied to physics. Physics is not evil because someone invented the H-bomb, nor is physics about creating bombs, it just happens to be a related subject. Not to assume everyone knows what NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is, in a nutshell - it's a set of tools that help you communicate in a more efficient and direct method, via the words you use, tone of voice, breathing patterns, cadence and a variety of non-verbal cues, such as eye movement, posture and etc. Anyways, enough for the prelude - let's get down to it.

One of the most basic, yet powerful concepts covered in NLP is the "anchor." Basically, an anchor is any type of sensation (taste, sound, feeling, sight) that triggers an emotional response (also known as a "frame," which I'll cover in another thread eventually). For example, many people have a favorite song that takes them back to a different time. Perhaps it's when you hear the song that was playing when you met your romantic partner, or a song from your childhood that reminds you of simpler times. What happens on a psychological level, is that you were experiencing a powerful emotional state at the time, and any other sensations that occurred during this time can serve as "bookmarks" (anchors) for that feeling.

Another obvious example would be smelling a familiar perfume that reminds you of someone, or eating a favorite childhood meal, etc. Anything that involves your senses bringing you back to a different time, and different mindstate can be considered anchors. So far, this is just an NLP term being applied to an otherwise common thing, that may not get much attention. It's important to note that recalling something from memory is not the same as an anchor, because an anchor does not require you remember anything at all - it can also be subconscious. On a rudimentary level, this could be equated with conditioned responses to stimulus ala Ivan Pavlov (Pavlov's Dog).

Let's make a practical example of this now, to demonstrate how it can be an effective tool in your life, instead of just a song that gets caught in your head. Most anchors that people have were all "programmed" into your head without your consent - whether they are positive or negative. You can just as easily program your own anchors to elicit preferred mental states ("frames"). This is a very simplified explanation of the process, but I feel it accurately represents the process of setting an anchor.

1. Get into the preferred mindstate. Whether this is a relaxed state, or hyper-aware, or happy, etc. To make the example more accessible, let's assume you want to anchor a feeling of confidence. Think back to a time when you were extremely confident about something. Do your best to re-live the experience in your head, as opposed to just observing it from a third-person perspective. Once you are in the moment, you should be able to notice changes in your physical state along with your mental state (breathing, posture, pulse, etc.).

2. Once you feel like you are "peaking" with this feeling of confidence (in that, the feeling could not possibly get any stronger), pinch the skin on the end of your elbow. Then when the feeling begins to fade, re-live the experience again mentally and again pinch the skin on your elbow when you "peak." Repeat this process a few times, until the feeling does not fade right away.

3. At this point, you have anchored a feeling of confidence to the feeling of pinchin the skin on your elbow. Go back to your normal errands, and after a few hours re-anchor the feeling as you did before. The point is to keep reinforcing this anchor to the point where just simply pinching your elbow will give you a boost in confidence (or whatever emotional state you decided to anchor).

4. Once the anchor has been programmed, you will be able to just pinch your elbow wherever you are, and gain a confidence boost, or at least open you into the option of transitioning to a different mindstate.

Please understand that this is not some cure-all fix-it technique to get rid of problems. Rather, it's taking an active interest in the relationships between physical sensations and emotional responses. Once you form an understanding of how it all works within your mind, you will be less vulnerable to less virtuous implementations of anchoring via normal activities, or as some have mentioned - the media implanting anchors.

Instead of just running around crazy, or administering ambiguous warnings over the "dangers of NLP," it's more important to eliminate all ignorance surrounding the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming, and in turn use the methods for bettering ourselves as opposed to forming an irrational fear over a useful set of tools.

While I just wrote up a very simplified version of setting anchors consciously, you can also take this information to heart, and keep it in your thoughts during the day, so that you can also recognize things that are being set as anchors unconsciously. For example, I noticed that when driving - if I get irritated in traffic or whatever, I usually get into a specific position, and clench my first - all unconsciously at first. That also means that if I ever sit in that position and clenched my fist, it would also put me into the irritated state regardless of what the traffic situation is. There is just another small example of how eliminating ignorance of NLP can help you out.

I also hope this thread has put a little more light on NLP, and that it's not some evil tool for mind control.

[edit on 1-10-2008 by scientist]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 11:13 AM
I'd also like to point out that there are more advanced methods for setting anchors, including "collapsing" anchors, which means you can set more than one anchor, (say, rubbing your belly to be happy, patting your head to be confident and jumping on one foot to remain calm) into a single anchor (pinching your elbow) that invokes all three instantly. More on that some other time.

Also, I totally understand if this thread gets buried under more alarmist threads, as those are certainly more engaging to read, just as an action flick is much easier to watch than a documentary for some people.

[edit on 1-10-2008 by scientist]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 12:07 PM

Originally posted by scientist
Also, I totally understand if this thread gets buried under more alarmist threads, as those are certainly more engaging to read, just as an action flick is much easier to watch than a documentary for some people.

That is just to true. Happens to me all the time. Thanks for the topic scientist. Will be reading it with interest but i had to reply on quoted statement.

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 01:19 PM
Very interesting thread, scientist. Thanks for posting. I don't know too much about the subject. I guess I've sort of shyed away from it in the past because it seemed so complicated and possibly inaccessible. Now that you've put an example in layman's terms it doesn't seem so hard to understand.


p.s. Please don't stop posting other interesting and easier to understand observations and examples.

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 01:51 PM
You know it would have been a grand idea to let me know you started this thread, I could/can contribute quite a bit myself to the positive uses of NLP, I was actually going to start one myself, but wanted to format and structure it better...

I have been studying for close to 2 years now, and have transformed my own personal self (which should be done FIRST) quite immensely and continue changing daily, learning and absorbing the mass amounts of information around me.

I personally think that NLP, DHE (Design Human Engineering) and NHR (Neuro-Hypnotic Repatterning) are evolutionary in nature; providing a "structured" set of tools and techniques to help us use our neurology and physiology properly and more efficiently.

I look forward to seeing more posts;

on my website, I have a NLP section with some videos and information, but I'll wait a bit longer to post something here right now because I want to structure and format the post so it's pretty to read.

[edit on 10/1/2008 by PuRe EnErGy]

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 02:54 PM
reply to post by PuRe EnErGy

any other insight you have to offer will certainly be appreciated. Let me know when you plan to make a thread, and I'll do the same, so perhaps we can collaborate on the initial post.

More on the basics of anchors:

The above text was done all mentally. I took a look through one of my favorite books on NLP, "Introducing NLP," to dig up anything big I may have missed, and I did realize there is one more important thing to consider when discussing anchors:

When you are recalling a previous experience - pay attention to the recalled surroundings, smells, etc. If you can recreate the environment mentally, your emotional state will change along with it. An extremely important point to be conscious of is how trivial your actual surroundings are, or what the actual surroundings were in the experience you are recalling.

The only thing of great importance, is the emotional state. For example, if you are in a normal mood (not good or bad), and then elicit a good mood via conscious anchor - and then put into a bad mood via an unconscious anchor, the world has remained the same. Your settings remain the same. The only change is an internal one, yet it seems to affect the external just as much, because different emotional states breed different perspectives.

To avoid over-explaining this point into obscurity, I'll stop now.

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 06:57 PM
I was introduced to NLP way back when, trying to get through "Programming and Metaprogramming of the Human Biocomputer..." I think that was the title.

One heavy piece of writing, that. But from it I took a great deal. Yes, like most tools, it can be used for destructive purposes, but if you are aware of the tool, you can see its use, and use it yourself.

Thanks, scientist, for bringing this topic up. In some ways it meshes with Choice Theory which I discuss here:

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 07:02 PM
Ive found some of the stuff in NLP-type courses to be a protection from manipulation rather than a device for manipulation. While it can certainly be used as that, knowing some of this stuff protects you from it when it is being used.

In fact, when you know the techniques people use to "get things" very well, they no longer work when someone is applying them on you.

[edit on 1-10-2008 by Skyfloating]

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 07:14 AM
Very good thread Scientist, and thanks for the also very clear explanation on Anchoring.

I think you couldn.t explain too much about this subject at all...

When i came in contact with NLP and Anchoring it was when i watched all Derren Browns episodes of "trick of the mind" ....he uses anchoring also to help people get better in a situation.....ofcourse there are two sides to every situation and it can in fact be used for bad as for good....but i do believe indeed that if you care to understand how it works it can and will do only wonders....

I am looking forward to read more about this!

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 09:13 AM
Very well put across Scientist, a S+F for you!
Have you read any of R A Wilson’s works?
When he writes about ‘fnords’I think he is describing something similar as in ‘negative anchoring’and that these fnords/negative-anchorings have been used as a tool to help keep the population in a permanent state low level anxiety.
This in turn makes the population try to alleviate this state by good old retail therapy and also makes them more easily governed.
Certainly as Skyfloating has said when you use NLP techniques for yourself you tend to be more immune to all the negative stuff that’s out there and the world tends to become a much nicer place to live!

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 09:13 AM
Great thread, Scientist, and very well explained. It was accessible but not oversimplified.

I don't know anything about NLP, but I think based on what I've read here at ATS that it is very important to learn about it -- as you and others have said, if only so that we can recognize when others are trying to use it on us.

And I'm always glad to see the positive side of things brought out.

I look forward to reading more.

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 12:47 PM
Glad you are finding this info useful - but more importantly, accessible. It's hard to tell whether my point comes across when I break the 2-paragraph threshold, heh.

Regarding SkyFloating's comment - you will definitely be more aware of the various influences that are around you when you start to practice NLP, however I wouldn't really call it self-defense, although it would be a fairly accurate phrase to describe it.

To me, self defense means that you are in an alerted state, and using caution in a certain situation. That's fine, but it's also not the best mental state to be in (defensive). Understanding NLP will actually go a step beyond self defense, it will put you in control of what influences you - so that there's really no need to defend yourself against persuasion and manipulation.

Muffin: I have read some of RAW's work. Prometheus Rising parallels NLP in many ways, although I did not find his writings as structured or to the point. His method is more "creative" for lack of a better word. Almost as if he also dabbled in Psycho-Cybernetics.

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 01:30 PM
Besides mainstream media, the two biggest uses for NLP is in sales jobs, and seducing women.

posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 01:57 PM

Originally posted by sir_chancealot
Besides mainstream media, the two biggest uses for NLP is in sales jobs, and seducing women.

That's a very myopic and immature perspective.

posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 02:24 AM
cheers to you for this thread.

i also dont think nlp is evil though it is a conspiracy site after all and people need to make most things a drama after all

nlp dosent work for all though worth a try.....

posted on Oct, 19 2008 @ 11:40 PM

Originally posted by scientist

Originally posted by sir_chancealot
Besides mainstream media, the two biggest uses for NLP is in sales jobs, and seducing women.

That's a very myopic and immature perspective.

sad but true. sir chancealot is very much on the money with his statement.

posted on Oct, 20 2008 @ 12:28 AM
oh man great thread. I was also contemplating posting a similar thread a while back...nlp can have amazing positive uses. What many people fail to understand about NLP is that it is a tool. Like any tool creation and destruction are both possible. The outcome lies in the hands of the user of the tool.

I have benefited greatly from NLP and I have helped many people using neuro lingustic programming. Its extremely simple once you get it, and helpful in many everyday situations.

To me it it kind of a quasi-scientific way to turn lemons into lemonade.

Anchoring is extremely powerful and has the potential to create vast change in anybodies life.

who woulda thought that patterns could be so powerful?

great post scientist

posted on Oct, 21 2008 @ 08:21 PM
thanks! I'll be posting another soon... when time permits, I've been a busy body lately, but I also managed to re-read some of my favorite books on NLP, and lots of new topics came to mind.

If only there was an NLP technique to slow down time... (not just the perception of time).

posted on Dec, 26 2008 @ 08:24 PM

Great thread subject and will hopefully get across that NLP isn't evil but just needs to be respected. Been studying NLP about 25yrs and have recently seen an obvious increase in the use of it on the TV.

The mind is an amazing computer isn't it? We all have the programming language in our heads to manipulate our minds, now let's start using it ourselves instead of these charlatan religious phonies and TV media programmers.

Seasons Greetings!

posted on Dec, 27 2008 @ 04:43 AM
reply to post by Skyfloating

totally agreed!!!

I think a lot of people are in 'fear' of this kind of thing purely out of ignorance yet again....because they dont know it they 'knock' it.....

forwarned is forarmed..............

I've only recently become aware of some of the finer points of this but what I've found expecially intriguing about it is that I've recognised that this is what some people I've come across have been using when in conversation with me. Nothing 'sinister' (I hope hehe!) but why I no is thst I've instinctivly 'noticed' them doing this and thought it a bit odd.....I didnt realise it was a formulated thing!!!

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