How to stay calm in heated situations using a resource anchor

How to stay calm in heated situations using a resource anchor

Have you ever lost your temper and done things that you normally wouldn’t do? Or maybe you’ve been in a position where you can’t find the right words to calm a heated situation down? Perhaps you’ve lost perspective on something and got emotionally “hot headed”.

You will probably agree that we can normally make our wisest decisions when we are able to stay balanced and calm. Knowing how to stay calm in heated situations can also allow us to communicate better and improve all our relationships too.

In this article we explain how to set up a resource anchor to help you to stay calm in any heated situation. Resource anchors can help us get back into a better emotional state at any time we choose.

What is a resource anchor?

The term “anchor” comes from the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (or NLP) and refers to the link between an external physiological trigger for an internal state. So, for example, the sound of a crying baby may trigger a state of alertness for a new mother or seeing a sign for your favourite take-away brand can trigger you to think about food/feel hungry!

There are countless examples of anchors in our life that end up changing our state and associated behaviour. Anchors can come in the form of visual, auditory or kinaesthetic stimuli (sight, sound or touch).

Anchors can work for us or against us. For example, if we have associated pain and hurt to seeing someone (e.g. an ex-husband) we can be conditioned to feel the pain and hurt (or change our behaviour to avoid it) when we see them before they have even spoken! However, if we understand anchoring, we can use it to our advantage too.

A resource anchor is a deliberately created physiological link between an external trigger and a resourceful state. The resourceful state, for example, is one where you feel confident, empowered and/or calm.

How to set a resource anchor

When we set a resource anchor, we first need to choose a stimulus. We want to be in control of when the stimulus is applied so usually a resource anchor will be kinaesthetic. We will link a stimulus applied to a part of our body with a feeling of confidence, empowerment and/or calm.

When you are choosing a part of the body, it is best to make the stimulus unique and easy to apply. For example, although it is a relatively easy anchor, try to avoid a stimulus like clapping your hands – this is because we clap our hands often in many different situations and the anchor will become “diluted” over time. We are looking for something unique to link the stimulus to a certain state so choose something that you don’t normally do. You could choose something like pressing your ring finger and thumb together on your left hand. This is easy to apply and also does not draw attention to you when you are using the anchor to remain calm in heated situations.

There are three basic ways to set a resource anchor, which are shown here in order of effectiveness:

  1. Set an anchor when you are in the resourceful state. This is the most powerful and effective way of setting an anchor – however you are not necessarily in control of these moments, so it is likely that you will need to set your anchor using option 2 below. So, next time you are feeling great, happy, calm (or whichever resourceful state that you want), at that moment, set your anchor by touching your ring finger and thumb (or your chosen anchor) together for a few seconds.
  2. Set an anchor using memories of times when you were previously in a resourceful state. This of course can be done at any time and is the way most people set resource anchors.
  3. Set an anchor by creating the feelings of confidence, empowerment or calmness.

When setting a resource anchor, it is also important to “stack” it. What this means in simple terms is repeat the process of setting the anchor several times before you use it. The process of stacking an anchor will make the anchor stronger and able to overpower any un-resourceful states we might find ourselves in. So, if you are working on creating a “calm” resource anchor, each time you find yourself naturally feeling calm and centred, press your ring finger and thumb together.

We suggest stacking your anchor a minimum of five times and ideally as many as time will allow. If you are using option 2 above, we suggest using many different memories to reinforce the anchor most effectively.

When to use a resource anchor

Once you have stacked your resource anchor you are good to go. Whenever you feel emotionally challenged you can trigger your resource anchor to “collapse” your disempowered state. Simply press ring finger and thumb together, and you should find yourself feeling calm.

Remember however that every time you rely on your resource anchor you are diluting its effectiveness. For this reason, it is sensible to stack your resource anchor regularly by going back to empowering memories or better still setting your anchor when you are already in the empowered state.

La Crisalida life makeover programme

If you are looking to make a significant transformation in your physical, emotional or spiritual life, we at La Crisalida Retreats run a life makeover programme. More information is available by following this link. At the retreats it is also possible to get life and transformational coaching subject to availability.

You can contact us at for more information and to check availability.

Enjoy using resource anchors to stay calm in any heated situation!

About the author

John is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. He is a life and success coach, Transformational Coach and a master trainer in NLP. He leads our life makeover programme as well as overseeing the retreats.