In Neuro-Lingüistic Programming (NLP), any stimulus that automatically sets of an emotional reaction is called an anchor. We are subject to anchors ALL the time. A song that plays in a shop, the foto I chose as a screen saver, the smell of baking in the house, the sound of a neighbor yelling or a dog barking, or even certain movements or touches, such as my son putting his sticky hand on my arm. All of these stimuli are directly linked to emotions – or they are for some people in some situations.

It is easy to see that anchors are highly personal. An anchor is strongest when the original emotion experienced with the stimulus was strong, or when it has been repeated many times together with this emotion. So a certain song can make me feel sad because I heard it during some of the goodbyes I experienced in a certain long-distance-relationship. I can get sad, even though the original situation is long gone.

In NLP, we learn how to actually create anchors that we can use on purpose, like a movement that will make us feel strong, or a thought that will make us feel safe. But it would go too far to teach you to set an anchor today. What I would like for you to do is, to use one that you already have – or several.

So my task for you today is something that will just take a tiny bit of thinking, and not a lot of time:


Now you have many strategies and plans in order to do just that. But if you feel like adding a little “energy psychology magic” that can help you to prevent tension or stress, or to get out of them, here’s what I propose:

  1. Think about what it is that you need or want to feel. Which resource would help you enjoy the holidays more? Calmness, peace, security, trust, forgiveness, energy, strength, love, connection….  What would make you feel really good even in the face of the more challenging aspects of the holidays?
  2. Choose a resource and find an anchor for this resource that already exists: What piece of music might give you that sensation? Which thought or word, image, smell, movement or action might make you feel this way? Maybe there are certain clothes or shoes that make you feel this way? Or taking a certain body posture?
  3. Now you have two choices: If you have found an stimulus that gives you this sensation, just expose yourself to it in the right moment, or one or several times before. You might want to dress pretty, or listen to a certain music, or call a special friend, or do a certain meditation, or look at a picture or foto that reminds of of that feeling. You might not even have to experience the stimulus directly – maybe even the memory of experiencing it makes you feel that way!
  4. If you can’t find a certain stimulus, you also have the option of remembering a situation where you felt it really strongly. Like, in what situation in the past did you have a strong sense of, let’s say, peace? Remember that situation in detail, and put yourself “in it”, as if it were now. Remember what you saw, thought, heard, smelled, tasted, felt… and remember specifically the details of the situation that had the strongest effect on you feeling that way.
  5. Notice how the feeling spreads in your body, and allow it to become stronger with every breath you take, and how you can exhale everything that doesn’t resonate with this feeling of peace.
  6. Once you feel the peace(or any other sensation you chose), imagine how it fills your whole body, and how it flows from your body into the situation and circumstances laying ahead that most need this kind of energy. (This is even more than an anchor, it is called “resource transfer“, because a positive state that we experienced in one situation gets transferred to another one).

This little exercise can also serve you for preparing an important meeting, or conversation, or any situation that you would like to feel better about.

I hope you enjoy this little process and you can feel how powerful it is. I hope it brings just the calmness, love and beauty to your holidays that allows you to step out of the high expectations, stressors and tensions and appreciate and enjoy what is there. I’ll be happy to read about it if you feel like sharing your experience and leave a comment below or on my facebook page!