Anchoring is one of the Most Powerful NLP Techniques to Stop Cravings


Anchoring is a versitile tool for changeAnchoring is one of the most powerful NLP techniques to stop cravings, and is especially effective to quit smoking and weight loss clients. Here’s why.

Anchoring is useful in supporting anybody suffering cravings when overcoming a bad habit such as lighting up a cigarette or eating candy when feeling anxious.

The technique involves anchoring thoughts and feelings when you perform a specific action such as squeezing your thumb and finger together. The anchor can be a sound, a person, a gesture  – the options for anchors are limitless.

So, in the instance of a smoker who is quitting, if they crave a cigarette then by performing the specific action the craving is relieved.

Now, at the moment this may all sound a little strange and even mystical to you, but let me assure you the technique of anchoring is common place and you’ve already experienced it in the past, albeit you were unaware.

Let me illustrate for you…

Anchors are Like Triggers:

Think back to a situation when you met an old friend you hadn’t seen for years, but when you saw their face happy memories and good feelings came flooding back to you.

Or a favorite song from your early twenties when played today takes you immediately back to those days of excitement and freedom.

The thoughts and feelings I’ve just mentioned were triggered by a face or a song, and this is all anchors are… except unlike the triggers, which you made unaware, anchors are used to deliberately recapture thoughts and feelings to have them available whenever wanted or needed.

So anchors can be visual – as seeing a familiar face or an object like a Christmas tree. In hypnosis many times anchors are tactile and involve recalling a feeling by pressing together of fingers in a certain way. A common example of a tactile anchor is the favorite blanket of a child – the act of touching the blanket makes them feel safe and calm.

Let’s cover that in more detail as it relates to the world of hypnosis.

Anchors in Hypnosis:

The hypnotist will set anchors for a client during the hypnotic suggestion phase of the session. The anchor is set to be automatically induced whenever the client is confronted by a particular circumstance and wants to respond in specific and helpful way.

Okay, that’s a lot of words and you need an example to clarify.

I’ll use smoking cessation as an example as it illustrates the benefit of anchors supremely well.

Smoker’s biggest fear when quitting is how to overcome the cravings they’ll experience in the first few weeks of stopping. During the hypnosis session the hypnotist will take the smoker to a quiet and relaxing place in their subconscious mind where fears and doubts are non-existent and it’s a restful place for the smoker to be. At the moment it’s not important how that is achieved.

When the hypnotist feels the client is in a calming and pleasant state they will tell them, whenever they feel the cravings for a cigarette they’ll press their thumb and first finger together and instantly be taken to this restful place and the cravings will disappear. The action doesn’t have to be fingers pressed together it can be almost anything.

I’m sure you can see how this anchoring can work for food cravings as well, and so is useful for weight loss clients.

Anchoring Outside Hypnosis:

Anchoring is not just for hypnosis. After all wouldn’t it be great if we can implement this concept ourselves in our daily life without having to visit a professional therapeutic hypnotist?

Let me use another example to illustrate and use building rapport and relationships.

Now we all like to be treated special when we go to a restaurant or an event. Some people build rapport naturally and don’t even know they’re doing it. Most of us have to work at it.

Restaurant servers are generally under appreciated people. It doesn’t take much to get you noticed as a good client and get special attention from them. A smile to greet them and whenever they approach your table and a simple compliment if deserved quickly anchors you for special treatment when they see you.

Decide on your anchor – such as a tilting of your head slightly in a specific way – and then when you feel the atmosphere created is the one to recall perform the anchor. This atmosphere can be a pleasant exchange or moment with the server. You may need to do this a few times with them before it cements.

Now, when you want to recall the feeling for the server you’ll perform the anchor.

You can quickly see how creating these anchors with people can be extremely beneficial to you. Having people associate your presence with good feelings helps with rapport and influence.

Now be sure to use this technique in an ethical manner – we’re not talking about bad manipulation here.

NLP anchoring is a versatile tool and as you’ve seen can be used to take a feeling such as cravings away from you, or used to bring actions such as special treatment by somebody towards you.

If you feel a little overwhelmed by all this don’t worry. Just take your thumb and press… just kidding. I didn’t plant any auto-suggestions in this article. Just reread this post a few times till you get it because it can be a life-changing concept and well worth grasping.

I’ll be offering up some additional NLP techniques in subsequent posts but if you’d like to learn more now then you can get a copy of my free eBook How to Tap into the Power of Hypnosis and NLP” here.

Erika Slater, CH
Free At Last Hypnosis

Filed Under: NLP Central

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About the Author

Erika Slater is Director of Free At Last Hypnosis and Smoke Free At Last and based in the metro-west Boston and Worcester Massachusetts region. Erika is a Certified Hypnotherapist and writes articles and books on the subject of hypnosis and alternative health. Erika has been a professional hypnotist since 2004 and a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists. Erika has her office in North Grafton, Massachusetts where to spends most of her clinic hours helping people quit smoking and losing weight.

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