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What is an anchor?

"If I smell the scent of cocoa, I immediately think back to the time I was 13 years old and experience a particular mood. Strange, because after all it is only a fragrance that in itself means nothing. Yet it is different for me. I have linked this smell to this particular mood and so it is impossible for me to smell cocoa without experiencing this mood. "

A certain smell, like a lot of other things in our environment, is an anchor.


An anchor is an external stimulus that is linked to an internal mood.

An anchor may be a word, a phrase, music, a touch, a taste or an object. We distinguish visual, auditory, kinesthetic, auditory digital, gustatoire (taste) and olfactory (smell) anchors. An anchor can therefore be something we see, hear, feel, say to ourselves, taste or smell.

We make frequent use of anchors such as traffic signs and logos. Also memories can be full of anchors, think for example of your hometown, your family home, the school, a teacher, etc.

Advertisers often make extensive use of anchors. If you look at the advertisements on the TV you see masses of visual anchors, suggestive images that evoke emotions of success, being exquisite, beautiful and fitting in. Sometimes these emotions are linked to a particular product without having anything to do with the product.

The origin of anchors

If someone is in an intense mood and a particular stimulus is simultaneously offered with the peak of that state, then stimulus and mood are neurologically linked. After that, each time the stimulus is offered again, the intense mood follows automatically.

Anchors work so quickly that we are often not aware of this. Anchors have much impact because they can immediately recall intense moods, That's what happens when you smell a certain scent or hear a particular tune that has a strong emotional memory. We all have many unconscious anchors.

Unpleasant anchors

Not all anchors are positive associations. Unpleasant anchors are often more noticeable and make a deep impression. A painful experience can be a sharp image in your memory, and if circumstances occur which resembles the painful situation you are conditioned to link the emotion of then to situation today. Fears and phobias are a good example.

Besides all these (positive and negative) anchors we unconsciously install in our lives, we can consciously install positive anchors by ourselves and others. Anchors that bring us in a wealthy mood so that we can achieve the desired results. We call this type of anchor a resource anchor.

Existing negative anchors can be dismantled and overwritten by a new positive resource anchor. This technique is called collapse anchoring.

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