How to destroy a bad anchor or trigger:

There are certain things which can trigger bad feelings in us. Over time, we feel bad and we experience some sort of stimulus and sometimes we link the two. I was asked recently to share some advice or ideas around how to collapse and anchor (as they say in NLP) or stop a negative experience from triggering a bad feeling.

The basics of this process are quite simple. You need to create a really positive feeling and associate it with whichever bad trigger or stimulus previously led to bad feelings. So, for example, if you feel bad whenever someone criticises you, you would create a much more resourceful feeling and trigger it when you imagine being criticised so criticism no longer has the same emotion. This works because our brains are continuously creating associations between what we experience in the world and emotions. These emotions are designed to educate us as to how to deal with the situation.

We evolved many of our emotions. For example, fear evolved as a way of getting us to experience the fight/flight/fright response in which adrenalin is released into the body and gives us the strength we need to escape or hide from danger or fight and defeat it. So, our emotions try and do something for us. Since the world has moved on a long way since we first began our journey into civilisation, our emotions do not always serve us like they should do. What this means is that to effectively change an emotional trigger or collapse an anchor, it is important to understand what the emotion is trying to do for us first.

This is not always necessary to do but yet it remains a smart move when it comes to building long-term change in emotions. Here, in a nutshell is a series of steps which can enable you to collapse any negative trigger or anchor.

  1. IDENTIFY THE TRIGGER or ANCHOR

What exactly is the trigger that produces the negative feeling? Is it a person, place, thing? Is it a tone of voice or a particular symbol or process?

  1. IDENTIFY THE NEGATIVE FEELING

What is the bad feeling that is triggered by the stimulus? How would you describe the emotion?

  1. IDENTIFY THE PURPOSE OF THE FEELING

What is the purpose of the feeling or emotion? What is it trying to do? Why do you think this emotion was triggered? Why do you think it evolved? How could it possibly help?

  1. DETERMINE A DIFFERENT WAY OF ACHIEVING THE SAME PURPOSE

As you change this feeling, is there anything you can learn from the old negative emotional response? What lessons are there? What do you need to make sure you do as you go forward with a new, more empowering feeling?

  1. DECIDE ON A POWERFUL POSITIVE FEELING TO USE TO COLLAPSE THIS TRIGGER

What specific positive emotion do you think would be helpful for you to experience when you think about this trigger?

  1. CREATE THIS POWERFUL POSITIVE FEELING 

Think of a time that you felt this positive feeling really, really strongly. Vividly imagine that time and allow the positive feeling to build. As you start to experience it strongly, bring to mind the negative trigger so that you feel incredibly good while thinking about the negative trigger. Do this a number of times if needs be.

  1. TEST IT

Think about the negative trigger and notice how you feel. If you still feel some degree of bad feeling then choose a different type of positive feeling and repeat step 6.

The kinds of positive feelings which tend to work well are a feeling of confidence and strength, laughter and deep relaxation.

Try these steps and let me know how you get on.

Image: Thanks to http://www.gratisography.com/

 

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