Anchoring technique is relevant because we each respond in various manners to various stimuli. The idea behind Anchoring is to replace your unpleasant sensations triggered by a certain stimulus with a healthier emotion.
I am sure you have observed a smell and associated it with your childhood or a person. Or perhaps heard a song that transports you to a particular event. These are powerful triggers which anchor the memories strongly within us.
Sometimes the emotions triggered are the ones we prefer to avoid. Maybe the sight or sound of an aeroplane brings one back to the intensity of the ear ache suffered as a child when the plane was taking off.
Those sorts of experiences may lead to anxiety and even interfere with one`s daily functioning. This is where the Anchors can be of support to your child.
Before you proceed, make an agreement with your child on how he wants to anchor the experience. Something that he can reproduce easily any time and in public places, such as squeezing the thumb with his other hand, or rubbing his wrist, or putting his hand on the throat/upper chest area. Then:
1. Ask your child to close his eyes and recall the state you wish him to re-experience. The more powerful the recollection of sheer bliss or excitement, the more powerful the anchor will be. Something like winning a game, receiving an award or getting a great grade works.
2. Recreate the experience and intensify it. Ask your child to see what he saw, hear what he heard and feel what he felt when the event took place.
3. Peaking the feeling. The time to anchor the feeling is as it begins to peak. As it does so, for example, you see your child smiling or his face lightening up, you apply the stimulus at this very moment – let`s say place your hand on the child`s upper chest area and apply some nice pressure. Then, just before the feeling begins to subside let go of your hand.
4. Break the state. By “break the state”, we mean do something else. For example, ask your child to open the eyes and offer him a drink. Then test the anchor by repeating the action of placing your hand on the upper chest. Notice, as you do so, that the original response returns.
5. Repetition. If the anchor is weaker than you would expect, repeat it until it is reliably firm.
Now, use the anchor. When your child gets anxious before a presentation, he can place his hand on the upper chest area and bring about the feeling of happiness, confidence and balance.
Kirsten Pontius is an imperfect, passionate parent, and a mindfulness and yoga instructor. In her free time, she is an organizer and proponent of worthy causes, such as her work establishing community connections at The Giving Tree School. She lives in Phnom Penh with her son and husband.