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.