When life feels too much, our emotions can feel like the ocean in a storm, drop an anchor. Dr Russ Harris came up with an exercise called Dropping anchor. If we imagine your boat (you) is in the harbour during a storm, the waves (emotions & thoughts) will be intense and rocking your boat from side to side, with the risk of being swept out to sea. In this metaphor we want to drop an anchor, to keep the boat where it wants to be and to allow the storm to pass – which it always does. Both weather storms, and emotional storms. Dropping anchor is also a way to interrupt mental compulsions and to surf out the urge to do physical compulsions.
The exercise is as follows:
A: Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings as an experience you are having.
C: Connect with your body. Move it, notice how it feels, how it moves, feel it.
E: Engage with the world around you and what you are doing. Use your 5 senses to ground yourself in this moment. Get curious about your surroundings. (5 senses: sight, touch, sound, smell, taste). After this take action in the direction of your values/goals/interests, or just what you were doing before the storm.
You can do this in 30 seconds, or 30 minutes. You can also loop through it several times. The choice is yours.
The goal of dropping anchor is not push away our thoughts and feelings, the goal is to make space for them, so that we can choose to redirect our focus onto a valued action.
Next time you feel that storm rising within you, consider dropping anchor to allow the storm to pass, and to give you some more headspace in which to choose what direction you want to head, to make the most of this moment whether the storm is still there or not.
Hope that helps.
Illustration by https://namiralph.com/
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