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Updated: Jan 20, 2022

One of the coolest things I have learned by being a hypnotist is the concept of anchors. Here is some incredibly useful information from my teacher, Scott McFall, the Founder of the Master Hypnotist Society:

"Anchors can be useful for the future or un-useful. An anchor is a sound, sight, taste, touch or smell that happens when you are in a certain emotional state of mind or mood. The more unique the sensory experience and the more intense the emotion the more likely that the trigger of the emotion will be repeated when the trigger happens in the future.

An example of a light hearted anchor would be the auditory stimulus of hearing a song from the prom and instantly entering the mood you were in staring into your date's eyes during the slow dance.

An example of a negative anchor would be feeling a bit less freedom and finding yourself in panic or anger because of it triggering a time of loss or confusion in youth. Like losing a loved one, or a huge health setback etc.

So sometimes when these routines exist they should be appreciated and sometimes they are learned or conditioned responses that should be interrupted and a new awareness established. Then new routines that fit the current situation rehearsed.

Much of our emotional response can be because of triggers that cause abandonment fears, embarrassment fears, loss fears.

So, learning self awareness often has to do with realizing that these state of mind or emotional responses are based on stimulus and response in a reflex part of the brain prior to any reasoning. This means that interrupting the pattern has to have more intensity than the emotion itself and that these type of responses don't change with reasoning but rather sensory experiences.

After that interruption the person will benefit from current external awareness which leads to better situation awareness. Then, if they can imagine their outcome over time they can rehearse the new mood that it takes to get there.

In other words, no matter how long you talk to yourself about why this or that feeling keeps repeating, it has nothing to do with how that feeling changes.

So, these anchors produce states of mind that can be resourceful or limiting. They then produce ways of filtering the world called 'Meta Programs.' Examples are: (1) does the mind notice difference or similarities first, is it away from pain or toward pleasure, (2) is it focused on people, places, things, tasks, systems or information. Meta Programs determine what you are taking in and not taking in at any given moment and are also often out of our immediate awareness.

Then those anchors, states, and filters lead to strategies. These strategies are a series of decisions that become automatic or habitual. Examples would be notice what is irritating a person, amplify it, smoke or overeat to relax, then feel bad then repeat. A good strategy might be notice you don't like being broke, earn and save money while being happy, see the long term movie of your life, plan accordingly.

These strategies also have possible series of layers of changes in mood and how we make decisions within each step.

So how our analysis or judgement in any situation stacks up is already set up to go a certain way.

Our skill of realization that we are not seeing all the options and that we need to emulate people who are seeing different options is destroyed when we are taught to try to be right or constantly fight for our previous position.

Learning quickly requires a willingness to be wrong while liking yourself. Sure- we all like to be right, but discovering we are wrong is still closer to right."

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