Change Your Thinking Patterns – Anchors
There are four steps to reset and regain your sense of perspective
- Start by preparing a replacement thought (which will be your new anchor)
- Strengthen this new anchor by thinking about it a few times each day for about a week
- Call on it real-time every time an unpleasant event occurs that is derailing your mood
- Fine-tune your replacement thought to strengthen it
The Replacement thought
Replacement thoughts are most effective when they fit a given situation. For example you might have one for working with challenging personalities, one for dealing with career set-backs, one for difficult conversations with a family member, etc.
Imagine that you have a meeting next week where you will have to work with an individual you don’t particularly like. Start by thinking about all the things you love about your job. Perhaps the intellectual (or physical) challenge, the opportunities for promotions, the total compensation, the great colleagues, etc. List these on a piece or paper or in an app so you can see them in front of you.
Next, identify a specific moment for each of the things that you listed.
- A time when you were thriving on the intellectual (or physical) challenge
- Remembering a career development meeting with the team leader about a promotion opportunity
- Seeing the addition of your monthly salary or a bonus in your bank account
- Recalling a great project meeting with colleagues, etc.
Aim to come up with four strong memories for make up your composite Replacement Thought.
Strengthen the replacement thought
Reinforce this new anchor by thinking about it a few times each day for about a week in any way that works for you. For example, you can see it in pictures (visual) by imagining each of your thoughts playing on a film screen in front of you. Feel it (kinesthetics) by absorbing the feelings as you are surrounded by each of your memories. Hear it (auditory) by hearing the soundtrack you create for each of your memories.
However you decide to reinforce it, make sure it creates a strong feeling. This is the key.
Use it real-time
Next time something or someone “presses one of your buttons” – in real time do two things one right after the other:
- Physically move. Stand up, move around, have a drink (non-alcoholic), physically shake off the feeling, focus on your breathing, etc. These steps interrupt the initial negative anchoring effect.
- Activate your replacement thought. Use the images, feelings or sounds that you previously created to insert the new positive anchor.
Fine tune it
If the replacement process “isn’t working’ or isn’t strong enough this is simply your cue to create a stronger replacement thought. To do that you simply go back to your list and identify better examples. Then practice bringing them quickly and easily to mind in order to initiate a strong pleasant feeling.