Anchoring Joy

Anchoring Joy

This morning I dropped a plastic glass on my kitchen floor and as it clattered loudly on the tile, I expected my curious canine companion to come padding in and check out the noise. But Scooby-Doo, my wonderful miniature schnauzer had passed away a couple years ago, yet my mind and body still felt the memory of the jangle of his dog tags on his collar and his inquisitive woof.  It made me a little sad, but mostly it made me smile.

Then I remembered other Scooby antics and my smile broadened. There were the nights when my husband would come to bed and Scooby would be laying on his side with his head on the pillow, covered by the blanket. It was our favorite prank.

Scooby loved treats. We trained him to lay perfectly still with a treat on each paw while he waited for the command to “Go Get It” so he could devour them.  His little body would quiver with anticipation as he looked back and forth at the goodies that were so close.  I giggle now thinking about it.

I miss him very much. I miss my parents too and many dear friends and relatives.  We all miss those not in our lives anymore. But I found that connecting to  happy memories keeps me centered and open to experiencing more joy every day.  I choose to anchor those happy feelings.

Here is my recipe for Anchoring Joy.

Take a deep breath and think back to a happy memory.

How did it make you feel?

Warm and cozy?

Giggling and giddy?

Elated? Proud?

Go over the scene in your mind. What were the colors?  The smells?  The sounds. Visualize it in your mind.

Do you have the picture in your head?  Can you feel it in your body?

Take another deep breath as you hold that energy for a moment. Is there a word or feeling that comes up for you?

Say it out loud so that it becomes associated more strongly with the image you visualized.

Now lock it in. The goal is to be able to recall the good feelings and thoughts at anytime by recalling  your word or feeling.

This is called an anchor – a tool used to bring us to an emotional state by associating a key word with a thought or feeling.

The anchor will keep you from drifting away from your naturally joyful state when you are feeling low.

I call out Scooby-Doo in a silly voice from the cartoon I grew up with.  I can’t help but smile.



  1. Daniel Goleman refers to this “self-management,” in his book “Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence.” Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control. He says reactions such as frustration, and overwhelming emotional surges are linked to a feeling of a perceived threat. The “anchoring” you speak of frees us from being as Goleman puts it, “a prisoner of our feelings.” The mastery of this self-awareness will undoubtably lead to a more positive outward presence and create harmony around you.

    • Thanks Joel – I love Goleman’s thought on not being a prisoner of our feelings. We can choose to be joyful, have tolerance, seek peace, and surround ourselves with others that inspire us. That includes our beloved pets!

  2. Such a wonderful process – but also a wonderful choice. So many times we allow memories of those who have passed on to bring only grief. But this process allows the joy to be part of the remembering.

    • A good friend of mine and hypnotherapist, Rene Brent used to offer sessions on grief, but now refers to remembering sessions which reframes the process so beautifully.

  3. Anchoring is such a great technique for accomplishing good habits and feelings.
    Great post… Animals are such wonderful blessings in our lives…

    • Scooby was my first dog and a real blessing indeed Carly. He brought us so much joy! Thanks for reading and sharing!