Whether its having to pass a test or exam, sinking a putt or having to speak in front of a large group of people, being stressed or nervous affects everyone at some time.
In the same way that an anchor of a boat helps to keep it steady in stormy seas, and emotional anchor helps you to reduce nervousness, stress or maintaining your focus in your daily life.
The more you use your emotional anchor the stronger it becomes.
In the famous story of Pavlov’s Dog the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov famously conditioned his dog to salivate every time he rang a bell, by associating the ringing of the bell with food. The two exercises mentioned in this blog post will allow to build an association with your own inner calm.
Finding Your Inner Calm
1. Remember a time when you felt really, really calm – at peace and in control. Fully return to that time now, seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard and feeling how good you felt.
2. As you keep running through this experience in your mind, make the colours more vibrant, the sounds crisper and the feelings stronger.
When you are feeling these good feelings, squeeze the thumb and the middle finger of the right hand together.
By doing this you are associating this particular pressure in this particular place with this particular emotion. Run through this memory several times until you feel a lovely sense of peace and calm.
3. Now go through this relaxing memory at least five more times while continuing to squeeze your thumb and your middle finger together to really lock in these good feelings.
You will know that you’ve done it enough when all you need to do is squeeze your fingers together and you can easily remember the feelings o calm and relaxation running through your body.
4. Next think about a situation in the past you would have found mildly stressful.
Once again squeeze your thumb and middle finger together. Feel that calm feeling spreading through your body and imagine taking it with you into that stressful situation.
5. Now, still squeezing, remember that calm feeling and again imagine being in that situation that used to seem stressful.
This time, imagine a few challenges and notice yourself handling all of them perfectly.
6. Think about the situation now. Notice the difference from only a few minutes ago.
Do you feel less stressed and more in control? If not, just repeat the exercise until you do.
When you feel comfortable with this exercise, you are ready to reprogramme yourself to be more relaxed for life.
Remember your nervous system is unable to tell the difference between a real life and vividly imagined experience.