Saturday, June 26, 2010

Using Anchors to Change Your Birth Experience

Anchors are one of the most powerful tools. I was really shocked when I learned about them, because they are all around us and we don't realize how we are accidentally being affect by them or affecting others with them, for better or worse. Anchors bring a person back to a certain state (good or bad or in between) instantly. We use them in hypnotherapy, but a person doesn't have to be hypnotized to create or be affected by an anchor. In my upcoming training for birth professionals I will be teaching how to use anchors to empower, calm and relax your clients instantly. I will also be showing how to unwittingly avoid doing the opposite--creating stress, triggering old traumas, etc. For today I want to briefly explain anchors and how they may help or hinder us at birth and in motherhood.

An anchor can be:

Kinesthetic - such as a touch on a certain place on your arm

Auditory - such as a song, or a tone of voice

Visual - such as the sight of a certain image, a wave of the hand in a particular manner

Olfactory- such as the smell of a certain deodorant

Gustatory - such as the taste of salt water

How many times have you heard a song on the radio and your entire mood shifts. For me, Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" takes me to unfathomable states of silly bliss, while Sunshine on my Shoulders does the opposite.

There is also a certain smell of garbage and body odor that reminds me fondly of New York City. If a person strokes my hair, I feel safe and happy. These are all associations that were created in a certain state, and so when repeated, can create that state again.

If you want to create an anchor for happiness, just think of a time when you felt extreme bliss overflowing your heart. Now blow that feeling up and make it twice as big. Now look at the art work on the right side of this blog. Now every time you look at that piece of art, you will feel bliss. Ha. Okay, here is a better one that you can do anywhere: when you feel that feeling of bliss, touch a spot or your body, or perhaps bring your finger and thumb together. Memorize the exact spot and pressure. Now when you want to feel that same feeling of happiness, perform the anchor and you will begin to notice that your state changes.

I do this with my yoga students all the time. I have them feel powerful and then when we do the keep-up exercise, I fire the anchor for power.

I had a huge realization today about anchors and care providers. I have been going to my midwife for well woman care since my daughter was born, and for some reason, every time I go into her office, I become emotional and cry. I saw her this week for my annual visit and I was actually feeling fine, but as she was talking to me, she dropped her voice tone a little bit, and when she did this, I completely fell apart. It took me two days of depression to realize that it is because she unintentionally triggered a state in me that was my state 4 1/2 years ago. It was a much more emotional, stressed out state than I am in now.

This was a huge revelation for me, because I loved her as a midwife, but now I see why I could not use her for a subsequent birth.

I have been thinking about the idea of orgasmic or ecstatic birth and what circumstances allow a woman to have that experience. Some people scoff at the idea of dimming the lights and bringing candles to a birth, but you can begin to see why details like that might matter. I am a huge home birth fan, but I can see why birthing centers or hospitals might be the best choice for some women. Perhaps their home has been broken into and doesn't feel safe. Maybe they have never been to a hospital for an illness and so don't associate it with sickness or emergency. On the other hand, if a woman does, what can she do to clear this association?

There are ways to clear anchors and give people the option of choice about how to feel in certain situations. One is meditation, if a woman is willing to do it--but there is another way that is quite rapid and would be a great tool for the doula or midwife or doctor to know how to use. I will teaching this and much more at a workshop I'll be publicizing soon.

I'd love to hear any experiences readers would like to share about this.


  1. Wonderful points and interesting revelation you found out about yourself and your midwife.



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