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How to anchor positive emotion and memory

This technique can make handling stress so much easier

Lauren Miller //June 10, 2016//

How to anchor positive emotion and memory

This technique can make handling stress so much easier

Lauren Miller //June 10, 2016//

Can you imagine being able to access a positive emotion in the midst of stressful situations? You can do it by creating an anchor.

An anchor is simply a stimulus that influences your state of mind. For example, no matter how many distractions are around my teen-age daughter, if her phone lights up she will stop what she is doing and look to see who is reaching out. The stimulus is the phone buzzing, the state of mind is triggered to respond immediately. Remember Pavlov's dogs? The bell was the neutral stimulus that when associated with food caused salivation (conditioned response) in the dog. Anchoring is simply associating a neutral stimulus with a desired state of mind.

Recently, I went to Costa Rica. In the evenings, I would watch spectacular sunsets. Feeling a deep sense of gratitude (emotion) and inner calm (emotion), I lightly tapped on my thymus (located three inches down below the U-shaped dip at the bottom of the neck) several times as I gave myself permission to lean into the positive emotions I wanted to anchor. Now that I am back in the hustle and bustle of life, I will often pause and take mini-retreats as I simply close my eyes and tap on my thymus, bringing up the anchored experience of gratitude and inner calm that I felt in the sunset experiences.

This week, explore setting an anchor associated with a positive emotion you wish to access quickly.

The next time you feel the emotion you wish to anchor, perhaps a moment of inner calm, gratitude or an overall sense of well-being, pause and allow yourself to sink into the refreshment (feel what you feel like, take in what you see and hear in that moment) and then anchor it into your sensory awareness by simply tapping or placing your finger tips on an easily accessible part of your body which is not likely to be accidentally touched unless you initiate it (your thymus, inner arm below your elbow or inner wrist).

Anchors can be set utilizing your visual, auditory or kinesthetic sensory acuity. Long-term memory is created through an emotional charge associated with it. You are making thousands of associations every day with incoming bits of information. Those bits of information that have an emotional charge attached to them are stored in memory.

 If they happen to be connected to a negative emotion, this gives birth to rumination that does not serve inner peace. You are the gate-keeper of your thoughts and your choice of response to the thousands of bits of information coming your way.

A very powerful practice to increase your ability to remember what you want is simple: slow down. Expand the gap between what is happening outside of you and your choice of response to it.

This is the gap of empowerment in that this space offers you the opportunity to choose the label you place on that particular experience. Our goal of course is to choose labels that support those emotions, which fuel perspectives of well-being and confidence.  

A simple reality when it comes to memory lies in the brain’s ability to connect an emotion with a picture. This is how you process life. When you are conscious of this process, you can create the response that aligns with the person you are committed to being, which of course involves remembering what you want to remember and releasing those things that don't align with your highest good and the good of all concerned.

When you have your to-do list, pause and create a picture with each task. Once you have created the picture for what you want to remember, imagine what you look like and feel like doing that which you want to remember. For example, if you want to remember to call someone, pause and imagine making the call and the emotions you feel making the call.

This only takes a minute of your time and will make the link between the emotion and the image. The more you implement this practice to boost your memory, the easier it becomes. You are making images and pictures all day long; pause and use this ability to work in your favor and boost your memory.

Want to remember someone's name? After meeting something first and foremost listen to their name. In your mind imagine someone you know with that name standing with there arm around that person. What happens if the person has a name you have never heard of before?

Choose an object that rhymes with their name and imagine them holding that object. For example, I met someone whose name was Reed and I don't know another Reed, however I grew up in an area that had plenty of reeds growing around our property. I closed my eyes and imagined this person holding a reed in their hand, setting a visual anchor.

We have the ability to create quick anchors with the bits and pieces of information that we want to remember, start practicing this week and watch your memory expand.


For more quick tips and techniques for personal excellence explore taking one of Lauren's 30 Day, 3 Minute a Day Programs and receive a quick tip each day in the area you want to expand in your life: Work-life Balance; Healthy Relationships; A Conqueror's Mindset; Dear Stress Let's Break Up; Stress Solutions for the Soul:

24-Hour Body Support Created to Flip Your Biology into Supporting: Optimism; Gratitude; Nutrition; Mindfulness; Mediation: Click Here to Learn More