By Jonny Say
'Dropping Anchor' is a tool created by Russ Harris from Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and it is useful for when you feel overwhelming and strong emotions.
This is a practice I use quite frequently in our Morning Mindset sessions on MobGroup Live.
When we are feeling these strong emotions, it can feel as though we are being thrown around in stormy seas, and have little control or grounding.
This 3 stage process, allows us to drop an anchor, get control of our body & actions, become present & focused and keep connected to other people in the presence of difficult emotions. This helps us to feel grounded, reduce the tendency to act on ‘automatic pilot’ and we can take effective steps to improve our situation. There are 3 key parts to dropping anchor:
1) Acknowledge Thoughts and Feelings
Notice and name how you are feeling, in a non-judgmental way
2) Connect with your body
Adjust your posture, move your arms and legs and gain a sense of control over your actions.
Difficult emotions tend to freeze us into inaction or push us to fight or flight mode, so getting a sense of control and grounding in the body is so useful. Even just take a few deep breaths and straighten your spine if you are around other people and can’t stretch and move more fully.
3) Engage with the world around you and what you are doing.
Focus on your senses.
Start to take note of sounds you might hear, smells, the feel of a breeze perhaps, and if you have closed your eyes, begin to notice your surroundings again when they reopen.
Engage in the activity you are doing or the people you are with. Become task-focused and when your mind gets distracted, gently notice and come back.
You can repeat these stages many times if you are in a strong emotional storm.
Try this next time you feel a little uneasy or overwhelmed, if you would like a guided practise, here is a link to a clip from Morning Mindset!