The Theory Part 1 - Using an Anchor

In this section we are going to give you all the details you need, to make visualisation a quick and easy method for relaxing and putting good positive uplifting thoughts into your mind.

The first thing you need to do to use visualisation is to fully relax both your body and your mind and we can hear the cry’s of “I can’t do that” already! Fear not, this series of articles is about just that and after using the techniques we will be explaining over the following articles, it will become easy and even second nature.

The technique we teach for starting every visualisation comes from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and is called anchoring.

The concept of anchoring comes from the work of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, the Russian born winner of the 1904 Nobel Laureate in Medicine. Pavlov did an experiment in which every time he fed his dogs he rang a bell. Eventually he showed that by ringing the bell alone, his dogs would salivate, without any food being present. In this instance the bell sounding was the anchor, which acted on the dogs brains, taking them to the mental state associated with expecting food, simultaneously the subconscious brain told the body to produce the chemicals required to start the first stage of the digestive process, saliva. As illustrated in this example associations become more strongly established through repetition, consequently repetition is used to strengthen anchors.

Once set up, activating a specific trigger is done simply by repeating that particular stimulus. In the above case it was ringing the bell, in our visualisation sessions it is taking three deep breaths and putting the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. This association is reflexive and not a matter of choice, so by performing the two actions every time you practice visualising, the repetition ensures that the brain associates these actions with relaxing both mind and body.

Before we leave the subject of anchors there is an important point you should know.

• Anchors need frequent reinforcing. Pavlov found that if he started ringing the bell without giving food, the dog’s reaction to the bell started to change and eventually stopped altogether.

In the next part we will explain the reasons for putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth and guide you through the next step, but in the meantime .......... when you are relaxing, close your eyes, take three deep breaths and put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth, then settle into a comfortable breathing pattern

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