How to Build Your Own Trigger for Happiness

What would you say if I told you that you could build a button that, at a push, instantly floods you with the feelings of your choice?

It sounds incredible, but it is possible and anyone can do it. All you have to do is build an anchor, which simply means that you have to do something (almost) each time you feel joyful or at peace. Later, you can invoke that same feeling at demand.

I learned this from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP for short. It's excellent for getting motivated, summoning courage, or whatever you may think of. You can modify it to your own desires. Keep reading and I'll show you how.

Step 1: Build Your Anchor

When I attended a seven-day NLP workshop a few years ago, I learned that your anchor has to be something easy, but not something that you accidentally do. (See also: 44 Ways to Improve Your Health and Happiness)

For example, one of my anchors is wrapping my left index finger and thumb around my right wrist. It can be anything really, but I've found that physical anchors work the best. The way I build my anchors is to touch my right wrist whenever I'm feeling the feeling I want to invoke later.

In the beginning, I also did some simple visualization. Let's say I wanted to create an anchor of happiness. I would simply visualize something that brings me joy, such as being with the people I love or doing what I am passionate about, and I would touch my right wrist.

Step 2: Reinforce Your Anchor

As you're building your anchor, the more you reinforce it, the stronger it becomes. You can look at it as training a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger it becomes. There are many ways you can build anchors. In this article, I am going through the simplest form I know and one that works for me.

Your only mission is to touch your right wrist (for example) whenever you feel happy (or the feeling you want to invoke).

Simple, right?

Step 3: Use Your Anchor

After a short while, you can start using your anchor, and you will feel a surge of happiness come into your body whenever you do.

We are affected by anchors all the time. For example, how do you react to a specific tone of voice that your mother or father uses? That's an anchor. What about when you see your favorite type of food in a magazine and you start to drool? That's an anchor. And when someone hugs you, and you feel awesome? That's an anchor!

These are all anchors that have been created unconsciously, so why can't you create a few really awesome ones yourself?


It really isn't that difficult. I'll sum things up for you anyway, just in case you need a refresher:

  • Determine what feeling you want to be able to trigger on demand.
  • Determine your anchor. (Mine is touching my right wrist.)
  • Visualize, feel great, and use your anchor.
  • Use your anchor whenever you genuinely feel the feeling during the day.
  • Reinforce your anchor as much as possible.
  • Enjoy!

It really doesn't get any simpler than this. Remember that you create anchors all day, every day, so you might as well take matters into your own hands.

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How to Build Your Own Trigger for Happiness

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Guest's picture

This Neuro-Linguistic Programming sounds like late 1940's animal conditioning theory dressed-up with new words.

It is stimple assoc. of a cue (wrist-touch in your case) that has enough salient properties to be noticed with an emotional state (in this case a postitive 'happy' state).

I wonder how much someone charges to teach this as some deep insight into human behavior?

It is analogous to re-casting the old concept of 'Id' as 'inner child.'

Guest's picture

How much is happiness worth to you? Perhaps that's how much they should charge? :-)

It doesn't matter if a concept is new or old - I doubt that there is truly much that is "new" in this world. The question is, "Does it work?"

NLP does seem to work. So, regardless of (and because of) it's simplicity, may I suggest we all embrace it?

Who couldn't use a bit more happiness in their life?

Thanks, Henri, for a great piece! :-)

All the best,