Holidays are coming!
Forget Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, nothing says ‘Christmas is here’ to me like the Coca-Cola ‘Holidays Are Coming’ advert. When you hear the unmistakable sleigh bells or see the beautifully lit wagons sweeping around the country roads, what feelings does this invoke in you? Maybe it’s panic because you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, or dread as you think about the complexity of Christmas day plans or it may simply fill you with pleasure rooted in the familiar magical sounds and the memories of childhood. Either way, I’m pretty sure it stirs up some feelings for all of us.
This advert is a brilliant example of an NLP process we use to build confidence called Anchoring. It’s the process of associating an internal response (the emotions we experience) with an external trigger (in this case the advert). If you’re one of the lucky ones who see or hear this advert and immediately think of the joy of Christmas and all it entails, then imagine being able to tap into that feeling of joy whenever and wherever you want. It’s really powerful.
Children learn this process for themselves from birth, many babies immediately attach the feeling of comfort to an external object, usually a piece of cloth or a teddy bear. For those of you who are old enough, you will remember Linus from ‘Peanuts’, never seen without his blue blanket. This is a very natural instinct, safety is one of our primal needs and the security blanket is aptly named.
In a study carried out at the University of Wisconsin by Richard H. Passman and associates, they concluded that children who have a bond with a security blanket or similar are more likely to positively cope with difficult situations, even when a parent is not present. They went on to say that additional positive benefits included helping children adapt to new situations, assisting in their learning, and allowing them to adjust more easily when facing difficult or stressful situations.
Anchors can come in any form. It may be a security blanket for toddlers or, for older children, it could be something more subtle they can pop unnoticed in their pocket. For those of you who have followed the progress of my book series ‘The Feelings Basket’, you may know I have just embarked on the creation of finger puppets for this very reason. It enables children to anchor positive feelings and memories to the ‘Feelings’, enabling them to invoke these fantastic confident feelings on demand.
So, when you see your child twiddling, twisting or fiddling with a piece of material, the edge of their top or their hair, ask yourself what feeling are they invoking by doing this, why are they searching for that additional security and how can you help them to gain it?
For more information on how to teach your children the brilliant skill of Anchoring (with or without the use of a security blanket) sign up to our members club.