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Dropping anchor: A practical guide (ACE)

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

By Sarita Pokharel & Ashma Bhattarai

What is dropping Anchor?

Dropping anchor is a very useful technique used for handling painful thoughts, emotions, memories, feelings, desires, and senses effectively, switching off auto-pilot and focussing in life, grounding and calming the self in a difficult situation, obsessing and worrying, engaging the self in the task you are working on, promoting self-control, and as a trip switcher for addictive, compulsive or problematic behaviours.

What is involved in dropping anchor?

Three major things that involved in dropping anchor are:

1. Acknowledging our thoughts and feelings (A)

Kindly acknowledging whatever going inside us such as feelings, emotions, memories, urges, and sensations, and observing the inner world continuously with self-respect.

2. Coming back into our body (C)

Bringing yourself back and connecting yourself with your own physical body. We need to find our way to connect ourselves to the physical body. Some steps that can be helpful to bring ourselves back to the physical body are:

  • Slowly pushing our feet hard into the floor.

  • Slowly straightening up our back and spine; if sitting, sitting upright and forward in our chair.

  • Slowly pressing our fingertips together

  • Slowly stretching our arms or neck, shrugging our shoulders.

  • Slowly breathing

We are not trying to escape from the current situation. We just trying to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, continue to acknowledge their presence and at the same time, come back into and connect with our body.

3. Engaging self into the work what we do (E)

In this stage, we just focus on the activity we are currently involved in. We can do anything about this according to our choice. Being present in the current situation plays a vital role in this. There is no hard and fast rule for this and may include:

  • Engaging in what we are doing.

  • Looking around the room and notice as many things as we can see.

  • Noticing 4 or 5 things we can hear.

  • Noticing what we can smell or taste or sense in the nose and mouth.

  • Noticing what we are doing

All three skills (ACE) are equally important to drop our anchor. These skills help in handling flashbacks, panic attacks, chronic pain, and many other mental issues. Regular practice of ACE skills and self believe plays an important role in dropping anchor. Furthermore, regular exercise, meditation, engaging self in different activities, self-motivation, Mindfulness, and positivity in life helped people to relieve from different mental health issues.

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