Anxiety? Drop Anchor

There are times when we get overwhelmed with emotions or when anxiety can take us over.  We can get so caught up in our thoughts that it’s almost impossible to do the things we want or have to do and we then lose touch with what’s important. At times like these, we can use a great grounding technique called Dropping Anchor.

This technique comes from ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) practitioner and trainer Dr Russ Harris.  I use it a lot with clients in our sessions; as a result, they know how to use it whenever they need to.


You can do this anywhere, anytime no matter how you are feeling!

Drop anchor whenever you feel anxious and an emotional storm turns up with all the difficult thoughts, memories, feelings, emotions, urges and sensations that go with it.

Anchors can be anything in the present moment that’s not part of the storm; your senses, the movement of your body and your breathing, as well as anything in your surroundings.

How to Drop Anchor

  • First sit in a chair with your back straight and your shoulders back and down. Put your feet flat on the floor and push them into the floor.
  • Take your time and reflect on your 5 senses:
  • Feel your feet on the floor and inside your shoes. Feel the weight of your body in the chair and your hands on your lap or by your sides. What else can you feel?
  • Press your fingertips together; gently move your elbows and shoulders.
  • Take a moment to notice and acknowledge that there are things that you are struggling with and there’s pain with the struggle. You can acknowledge the type of pain if you know what it is; You could say to yourself: Here’s anger, here’s anxiety, here’s sadness, here’s emptiness………
  • What can you see? You can have your eyes closed so you might see different colours depending on the light. Or, what can you see around you? You could concentrate on colours or shapes.
  • Listen to the sounds around you. Notice what you can hear.
  • Can you smell anything?
  • What can you taste? What you’ve eaten not long ago? Your toothpaste?  Any other tastes?
  • Notice that there’s something painful that you are struggling with and at the same time notice your body in the chair, press your feet down into the ground, press your fingertips together and look around you again.
  • Lastly, take a moment to stretch and move your body.

Check in again

So, at this point, you can ask yourself if you have more control over your actions now. Are you less caught up in the emotional storm? Are you less hooked by your difficult thoughts and feelings?  Is it easier to engage with your surroundings? To be present, to focus?

What’s the aim of dropping anchor?


Dropping anchor helps you to achieve three things…

  1. To get present
  2. Regain control of your actions
  3. Engage in and focus on what you are doing.

Therefore, dropping anchor is not used to distract you away from your anxiety. This grounding technique helps you to turn inward with openness and curiosity towards your struggles. Consequently, you can get out of the state of overwhelm and back to the present moment.  By dropping anchor you will be able to take back control of your actions so that you can refocus on doing what matters.

Holding you steady in the face of anxiety

During the middle of an emotional storm, you can drop anchor to hold yourself steady while the storm passes.



Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher

Hello, I’m Eileen Fisher. I’m an indoor and outdoor therapist and nutritionist. I offer counselling and psychotherapy for both individuals and couples, as well as nutrition advice and support around disordered eating.

Leave a Reply