1-1 Anchoring: Explaining and Demonstrating Kinesthetic (touch) Anchoring

In this first section of the book we are starting to apply the power of NLP to ourselves. You had the opportunity to explore Anchoring, one of the fundamental NLP Models in the “Circle of Excellence,” technically described as a spatial self-anchor.  Then you got to experience a kinesthetic or touch anchor.

There is a lot more to anchoring, including anchoring in each sensory system. Here is a good brief overview and commentary from our Practitioner Training Manual, part of the NLP Comprehensive “Portable Practitioner” distance learning program. Video examples follow.


Anchoring is deliberately connecting a cue or trigger to a state of mind so that you can recall the state simply and easily later.

The most common use for anchoring is to make a resource state more available in a situation where it would be useful.  In the actual situation, or as the person represents the situation, you “fire the anchor,” re-creating the cue, and integrating the desired state of mind into the context.  Anchoring is also used in many NLP techniques to stabilize and recall states so that they are immediately accessible to be utilized or changed.

Anchoring is a natural phenomenon;  it happens accidentally all the time, for example when the smell of a perfume reminds you of someone you knew a long time ago. NLP simply uses anchoring intentionally to make a positive difference in someone’s experience.

Components of Effective Anchoring:
•    Purity of state accessed.
•    Intensity of state accessed.
•    Timing of anchor.
•    Uniqueness of anchor
•    Accuracy of duplication.

Anchoring depends on being able to evoke (inspire, elicit) states of mind in ourselves and others.  The more flexible we are, the more likely we are to move people emotionally and influence their state of mind to create comfort, curiosity, generosity, enthusiasm, humor and so on. Eliciting states is an art form. The following methods are often effective in state elicitation:

•    Pace and lead – establish rapport and go to the state yourself.
•    Access behaviorally – Do something!  Sing a song, jump up and down, give them a hug, remove small articles of clothing…
•    Tell a story
•    Ask them to recall a time when…
•    Request it directly – “Aren’t you curious about…”

And here are some video excerpts from the same program with Senior Trainer Tom Best  introducing the Anchoring Model, and demonstrating it:

Introduction to Anchoring

Demonstration of Kinesthetic (touch) Anchoring

Review of Anchoring Demonstration


Now you could strengthen the anchor you created in the chapter one, or think of another emotional state you would like to have more available, and practice creating an anchor for that as well. In any case, remember the overall purpose: enjoy!


  1. Hello, I am really enjoying the content of your book and think this will make a big difference to me, but I have a question in relation to anchoring. Once you have tried and tested anchoring and use it in situations where you are not feeling so good and are looking to anchor for a confidence or a positive feeling boost, is there a danger that because you are triggering the anchor at times when you are being tested that instead of feeling more positive you begin to anchor the stacked negative feelings from the situations you are in? Hope I explained this ok. Many thanks

  2. Hi Alex,

    Good question, it comes up frequently. Three things you can do to feel assured. First, practice disassociating from the experience before firing your positive state anchor. You can read about how to do that on pages 59 – 60. Then practice with a remembered experience from the past, using your anchor. That will give you a good sense of how to use it in present day life. Last, you can also “stack” more positive states on your existing anchor to build it up. Practicing the “Circle of Excellence” is another good way to rehearse this.

    Thanks for asking, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the book!

  3. If the anchor is not placed right how do you remove it or re-anchor on the upswing like where you demonstrated?
    Can the person touch their own shoulder to bring back the memory? I have heard of using a finger anchor…

  4. Easiest is to think of a more intense/compelling experience and re-anchor it.
    Yes, you can self-anchor, as it’s called.
    Shoulder or finger or anywhere else, this kind of anchoting is called a “kinesthetic anchor.”

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