Look after your mind.


Psychologically an anchor is a link we  make between a mental and emotional state  and something we can bring under our control, such as a physical movement, a place  or an object. We make associations con tinually, usually automatically, and they might be positive or negative: the point of  anchoring is to ‘fix’ a positive reaction and  to bring out those pleasant thoughts and  feelings whenever we want.  

Postive pebbles for pupils.

When I taught English one of the techniques I used was to give each pupil in my  class an ‘ideas stone’. This was just a polished pebble, a tumblestone, cheap to buy  and readily available. Each time a child felt  good about herself, perhaps because she’d  received a high mark for a piece of work,  or because her writing project was going  well, she would hold the stone briefly to  link that positive mood with the pebble.  The more she did this the stronger the an chor became. Subsequently, to access the  positive and creative mood again, she  simply needed to hold the stone again. The  stone could also help to shift a negative  mood.  

The lost stone.

A problem arose when one pupil lost his ideas stone. As well as giving the child a  new pebble, I brought in a larger tumble stone which I then kept on my desk, inviting any child who wished to tap their ideas  stone on mine, thus sharing some of the  creative energy. The pupil with the new  stone was then able to tap it on the whole class stone to re-establish the anchor.  

You may think this sounds like mumbo  jumbo, but the children were by and large  happy to accept the idea, and so it worked for them. More cynical adults might want,  as Tolkien would say, to ‘suspend their dis belief’.  

A common anchoring technique.

The point is not to decry it until you try it.  A common anchoring technique is to rub  the tip of your little finger against your  thumb to fix a positive state. If you’re right  handed use the left hand, and vice versa.  This means that the gesture is deliberate.  Get into the habit of doing this whenever  you feel positive. If at some point after wards you want to shift a negative mood or  just re-access that positive state, trigger the  anchor by rubbing thumb and little finger  together.  

The knack of making the technique work is  not to try to ‘get in a good mood’; although  anchoring is a conscious technique the link  over time becomes subconscious and quite automatic.  

Steve Bowkett.