June 26

Psychological Anchors

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When you want to make a change in your life become aware of the existence of anchors. Anchors are unconscious signals to feel a certain way or perform a specific action. Anchors can be something we see, hear, feel, smell, or taste. Most of the time the anchors are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (feelings).

How do they work? You’re probably aware of Pavlov and his dogs. He’s the guy who conditioned dogs to salivate every time he rang a bell. He did this by ringing a bell every time he put food in front of them. Eventually they salivated just from the bell. It turns out that we aren’t to much different when it comes to conditioning. Smokers are one of the more obvious examples of this. An amazing thing about smokers is that they never schedule their cigarettes in a daily
planner and yet they manage to smoke the same number of cigarettes every day. What is even more interesting is that they usually smoke them at the same times, places, and in the same situations every day.

Now what happens is that the morning coffee gets linked to the cigarette and becomes automatic, then it gets linked to the car ride and becomes automatic, and so on. Now they don’t schedule these or even think about them because once they get linked with a specific stimulus (coffee, car, after dinner, etc) it becomes automatic and they don’t need to think about it anymore.
So when you want to make a change in your behavior begin to look for
anchors that are tied to that behavior. As soon as you sit on the sofa
do feel that you need to eat, if you get in a fight with your spouse
do you feel like you need a drink, when you see that the clock says
12 PM do you feel that you have to eat regardless of if you’re hungry
or not. Becoming aware of your anchors will greatly improve your
chances of success in making a change.


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