Why positive anchoring is good for you and why I am a fan of Vans.

Shoes: Vans, Trousers: Jacqueline Young, Top: H&M, Jacket: Tally Weijl (this season)

“Love anchors the soul”

I’m a huge fan of Vans. Not because they are very comfortable and go well with many of my outfits, but because I always wear them when I am on holidays. You can imagine that I’m already in a good mood by just putting them on. They function like an anchor for me (and this is not a sailing term!).

Anchoring is something we all use in our lives, simply because there is too much information for our brain to process.  In order to deal with that huge amount of information we delete, distort and generalise information, such that it suits us and our vision on the world.

Anchoring falls into that last category, generalisation. It means that when you see, hear, feel, smell or taste something that you have previously linked to certain actions or feelings, you react on that specific signal instantly. Take stopping for a red traffic light for instance. You see a red light and you instantly stop. Imagine you would think every time you drive your car: “Hey, that traffic light is red, what shall I do?” There is a direct link between seeing the light and your action. In the case of my Vans, I feel happy the moment I put them on, since I have worn them on so many happy occasions. There is a direct link between putting on my Vans and my good mood.

You can make use of this function of the brain in your communication. Teachers often do so and also for non-teachers it is very useful. Read on to find out why and how.

Wearing Vans in Venice

Why use anchoring?

Anchoring makes your communication more effective when used wisely; the communication with yourself and with others. Let me explain: Every time you experience something positive or when you reach a certain goal you set (small ones count too!) and you anchor it, you can relive this positive or proud feeling.

Let’s say you have set the goal of eating only one snack a day. The first day you manage this, you literally tap yourself on your shoulder. You do this every time you have only eaten zero or one snack. Now, if one day you feel not so motivated to stick to your healthy schedule, all you have to do is tap yourself on the shoulder to get that positive feeling of having reached your goal of the day. Trust me, it will change your mindset and thus make it easier to stick to your own rules of snacking!

Some examples of anchoring

Storytime in Copenhagen. (notice the Vans)

Some examples of anchoring teachers often use: When a teacher always sits on a certain chair (or desk) when telling a story, the pupils will automatically get into a listening mood as soon as the teacher sits on that chair or desk. Teachers putting a finger on their lips will make their pupils go silent (we all know what seeing that gesture means and we react on it intuitively). Writing homework consequently the same way and on the same board will make their pupils take out their agenda as soon as the teacher starts writing on that specific board. These are all examples of anchors that make the communication between teacher and pupils easier.

Wearing Vans while sightseeing in Zeeland

Some examples of positive anchoring from my own life (apart from the Vans):

  • Putting on a specific cd with romantic music when I prepare a romantic meal for my husband and me. We played this cd many years ago when we cooked and enjoyed a super romantic dinner, so even when I hear one of the songs from that cd on the radio or in a shopping mall I feel instantly “in love“.
  • Opening a bottle of (alcohol-free) bubbles when there is something to celebrate.
  • Writing in my thankfulness diary makes me feel positive and happy.
  • Doing a specific walk with my daughter each year. When she was 4 this was a highly challenging walk for her and made her super proud. Doing the (now easy) walk brings back good memories and that feeling of being able to handle a huge challenge.
  • Deliberately putting on the pearl ring that belonged to my grandmother and mother, both sweet and strong women, when I feel I can use a power boost.

So how to anchor?

When you want to use a positive anchor, just link a positive feeling to a certain gesture, certain music, certain objects, certain smells…Whenever you want to get that feeling back, all you need to do is use that anchor.

  • When I want to feel romantic, I can put on that specific CD.
  • When I want to get in a positive mood, I can pick up my diary.
  • When I want to feel strong, I can put on the ring.
  • When I want to feel happy, I can put on my Vans.

Just do it

I hope I have inspired you to reflect about anchoring and how to use it. Maybe you already know what you want to do. Maybe you suddenly realise how many anchors you have already  (un)consciously set. When you want to share your ideas and/or results here, I would be very happy to read them in the comments section below.

Where anchoring can take you…(posing in Potsdam)

Thanks for reading have a Vantastic weekend.








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  1. It reminder me of Pavlofs dog. Haha. I think I have said it before, but I admire teachers who are able to teach their children more then just the usual. More about life! Happy weekend Lieske.

    1. Interesting to find out which anchors I already use and which I can use in my job as a teacher gymnastics and in my daily life.

      1. I know. At the end of the school year you start thinking about next year and what you’d like to do/change with your classes. A perfect moment to reflect on anchoring too. Which one do you already use and where are more options to implement anchors to facilitate communication and learning? I am doing the same at the moment (great minds think alike, right?!). Love, Lieske

  2. This was a very useful post. I am wonderu at the moment how to keep the perfect weight I reached with my braces in. These braces make sure I have limited eating time (max 2 hours a day divided over three moments). When the braces have done their work, I desperately want to keep this weight. Which then depend solely on my willpower. I will anchor the good feeling of not snacking in between these 3 moments. So thank you for providing me with an aid.
    Furthermore I love your red jacket.

    1. Thanks for letting me know this blogpost has offered you an additional idea to keep you weight. I am sure you will manage just fine, since you seem a woman who knows what she wants and then goes for it! Thanks for the compliments on my red moto jacket. I love it very much myself too (never thought so when buying it – way out of my fashion comfort zone). Love, Lieske

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