"Anchor Thoughts" and How Teens Can Benefit From Them

Updated on January 31, 2018
MsDora profile image

MsDora—parent, grandparent, Christian counselor—offers suggestions on raising confident, conscientious, responsible, productive children.

If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. - Napoleon Hill

Just as the ship anchor keeps the vessel from drifting into the open seas, so anchor thoughts keep the individual from wandering into unapproved behaviors. These anchor thoughts embed themselves into the mind and without conscious effort from the individual, they influence attitude, speech and conduct.

The ship's anchor keeps the vessel from drifting; anchor thoughts keep the individual from wandering.  Photo by Oxyman
The ship's anchor keeps the vessel from drifting; anchor thoughts keep the individual from wandering. Photo by Oxyman | Source

What if we can help our teens establish some virtuous anchor thoughts to guide their decisions as they take to the open seas of life?

Teens formulate their anchor thoughts by adopting messages they receive as beliefs. Because they often misinterpret messages (from speech and conduct in their space, from media presentations, and even from their own perception of life), it is important to help them clarify the meaning of what they see and hear. The sooner they get it right, the sooner we can trust them to be responsible.

Repetition is a proven method to help inspire them with good thoughts that can become anchors to good conduct. By using appropriate slogans, affirmations, or event themes, teens may eventually adopt them as anchor thoughts.

How an Anchor Thought Works

From her repeated conversations with parents and guidance counselors, a female teen establishes an anchor thought that marriage comes before motherhood. That thought is embedded in her mind.

She is in a relationship with a young man who convinces her that he loves her, and her emotions begin to control her responses to him. One day, he suggests that they surrender to their physical passion and he adds that if she gets pregnant, he will marry her. What he said conflicts with her belief that marriage comes before pregnancy. Her anchor thought pulls her into making a decision which complements the belief she has already established.

Replace Faulty Thinking

Teens in love. Photo by Emilie Hendryx
Teens in love. Photo by Emilie Hendryx | Source

Many errors in teenage thinking have been established and passed on to the detriment of those who believe them. Following are two situations.

  • A male teen is driven by his need for power and recognition. He is convinced, through false messages he received, that his proof of manliness can be measured by the number of girls he seduces. Acting on his belief, he creates emotional disasters for himself and for the girls. It is not enough to scold him or ground him. He has to be taught that there is error in his belief, and then be encouraged to adopt a new anchor thought as a replacement. For example, the proof of manliness is the practice of self-control, and a healthy admiration for girls.
  • A female teen is driven by her need for security. A young man offers to protect her and provide her needs. She has learned, through false messages, that the young man who is kind to her deserves the right to her body. Soon, she receives all she needs, as well as some of what she does not need—various forms of abuse. It is not enough to forbid her to see him. It helps to teach her that there is folly in her belief, and then encourage her to replace it with a thought like, Building my self-confidence will benefit me more than depending on someone else for my happiness.1

Sample Anchor Thoughts

Following are some sample anchor thoughts, under four different headings, which can be powerful in the life of a teenager. Some teens need help putting their thoughts into words, and they can be encouraged to help each other.

Self-worth

  • I’m God’s masterpiece, always valuable to Him.
  • My beauty is to be admired, not exploited.
  • I show others how to respect me by the way I respect myself.
  • I attract people with my personality and wit, not with my body.
  • My self-worth remains intact, no matter what folks think or say about me.

Deportment and Conduct

  • I decide who and what are allowed into my space.
  • Disrespect for anybody is disrespect for everybody.
  • I am careful about the impression I make by my deportment.
  • I intentionally feed my senses with wholesome thoughts.
  • I help other people, being careful not to hurt myself in the process.

Friendship

  • Wholesome friendships offer freedom to grow.
  • If it’s true love; it’s patient.
  • Love supports; neither competes nor manipulates.
  • Teen relationships have no adult relationship responsibilities.
  • Practice zero tolerance for abuse.

Future Plans

  • It is my responsibility to discover my God-given purpose and pursue it.
  • I make a list of my goals and focus on them.
  • I avoid relationships which sabotage my goals.
  • I measure my progress at regular intervals.
  • I have the talent to achieve the success I was designed to achieve.

Final Thought

Selecting wholesome thoughts from among the 50,0002 we receive every day can be challenging but it is not impossible. Here is a good anchor thought to adopt which can help with the process.

  • “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”3

Teens who accept this message as a belief will be careful to guard their senses, especially of sight and hearing, in an effort to control their thoughts. Prayer and meditation will help them focus, and adult encouragement will help them succeed. Good thinking can be a way of life!

References

1. van Warmerdam, Gary: Pathway to Happiness, Emotional Security ©Pathway To Happiness LLC (visited 08/17/2014).

2. Mind-Sets: Accelerated Success Conditioning, Thoughts © 2011 www.mind-sets.com.

3. Holy Bible: New Living Translation, Proverbs 4: 23, © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Dora Weithers

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      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Vocalcoach, I appreciate your visit and your comment. Thanks for sharing your cleaning and anchoring process, and for the votes.

      • vocalcoach profile image

        Audrey Hunt 3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

        For me, meditation and prayer begins the process of emptying my mind - kind of a 'cleaning house.'

        Then, I replace erroneous thinking with supportive, virtuous 'anchor thoughts.' This inspiring hub is good for all of us at any age to follow. Thank you so much. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Mathi, good to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your observation and your encouragement.

      • mathira profile image

        mathira 3 years ago from chennai

        MsDora,

        Unless you anchor your thoughts your mind runs wild and there can be no civility and decency in this world. The utter bloodshed you see in the world today is because these violent people do not have an anchor to their savage and inhuman thoughts. The need of the day hub!

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Elizabeth. You encourage me.

      • epbooks profile image

        Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

        Very unique hub with a powerful message. I enjoyed this!

      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Audrey. Thought control is self-control, the experts say--good for us who are willing.

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

        Such an interesting article! I like the idea that teens--and all of us--can change our thoughts then change our behavior!

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Flourish. Your last statement is a great summary for the idea.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

        The anchor thoughts concept is awesome and your examples are even better. Teens need guidance and they need positive messages to tell themselves. The messages we tell ourselves guide our behavioral choices.

      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Mona, you amuse me. Thanks for your very kind comment.

      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Kaili. That Napoleon quote is in itself a great anchor thought.

      • grand old lady profile image

        Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

        Excellent advice. The phrase "Anchor Thoughts" clearly explains why these thoughts need to be kept in the mind of the teenager. Wish I read this 10 years earlier. But then, you hadn't written it then. I ramble. Great hub, Ms. Dora:).

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 3 years ago from Canada

        Fabulous article. Voted up and more. And I love the quote from Napoleon Hill...says it all.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Devika, you're right about the challenge of raising teens. Instilling anchor thoughts is half the battle. Thanks for your comment.

      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Truth, anchor thoughts are the appropriate remedy for negative conduct, but they don't happen automatically. I appreciate your observation.

      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Doris. Teens are on my radar right now and I just want to see us the older ones, bring the best out of them.

      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks, Nell. So many people become parents before they figure out themselves, let alone know what to do with the children. However, the wise can always learn.

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Teen love sounds so great and new. One shows their character from a young age and in this way life has a different perspective when older. Raising teens can be challenging for many parents if they don't know how to apply their thoughts.

      • truthfornow profile image

        truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

        There is so much negative in the world that it is a good idea for the development of anchor thoughts that are positive, especially for young people who are impressionable and easily influenced by others.

      • Doris Dancy profile image

        Doris H. Dancy 3 years ago from Yorktown, Virginia

        Wow! What an outstanding hub that teaches so many valuable lessons. Thank you for sharing something so powerful, useful, and easy to begin implementing with teens.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

        This is wonderful, its something all parents should read before they have children, we don't realise when we are young and having children that how we act, what we say and the words we use to teach them are so important, wise words, and thanks, nell

      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Teaches, God bless your parents and others who are as responsible. Thank you for sharing.

      • MsDora profile image
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        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Ologsinquito, I am in total agreement with your observation. Thanks for your input.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Sheila, God bless your parents and others like them who took the time to instill good anchor thoughts in the children. Thanks for sharing my hope for this hub.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

        I agree with your thoughts on this topic, Ms. Dora. Good character starts at an early age. Thoughts are what mold us, knowing which ones anchor us for good results in important. I am so thankful for parents who instilled good values in my life and taught me faith keeps me strong. Blessings. Voted up++ and sharing.

      • ologsinquito profile image

        ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

        This is very good advice on raising children. If they don't receive moral guidance at home, it creates a rather frightening situation. They need to be taught right from wrong, and that there are some absolute truths.

      • profile image

        sheilamyers 3 years ago

        Awesome hub! I never heard of the term "anchor thoughts", but I'm happy to know my parents helped me learn many of these lessons early in life. I hope this hub helps other parents do the same for their children.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Jackie, I like the idea of a double anchor. Thanks for your valuable input.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Word, thanks for your comment. Looking forward to your hub on that verse. I'm grateful for you, too.

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

        If we just knew how to double anchor these thoughts and decisions they would "prefer" to stick to. Too many temptations and too bad they can't have a peek at possible bad results; but guess that is what makes us individuals and no one is gonna decide for us; huh? Some very good and realistic points you make Dora. ^+

      • word55 profile image

        Word 3 years ago from Chicago

        This is an excellent article for teens as well as anyone else Dora, I know for a fact that if anyone (male or female) is anchored in the Lord or where's the armor of God daily then there would be no way to violate a that person. That's how God's plan for any person is set up to work. Men that need to deal with several women or conquer their bodies lose in the long run. And like this scripture says, 1 Corinthians 6:18

        Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. I will explain this scripture soon, in a future hub for a clear understanding. Thank you for looking out for the teens. However, I'm all grateful for you.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Denise, thanks for your valuable observation. I appreciate your support.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        James, glad you stopped by and left a comment. Thanks for your input.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Bill, because we are programmed so early, we have to learn to replace faulty thoughts and beliefs when we can make sense of what we learned. Challenging but possible! Thanks for your input.

      • denise.w.anderson profile image

        Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

        This is an awesome way to help our teens adopt core values that will guide their decision making process. Just calling them "anchor" thoughts gives the understanding that they will help us when the storms of life rage around us. When teens have standards like this to follow, they are able to make decisions that are for the best long-term.

      • James-wolve profile image

        Tijani Achamlal 3 years ago from Morocco

        Great article.Wise lady.Cute saying: The ship's anchor keeps the vessel from drifting; anchor thoughts keep the individual from wandering.

        I will always remember this.Thanks for sharing! Voted up!

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

        I was reading a book the other day, and it said that the most important lessons learned are learned in the first six years of life. Those lessons will guide our lives for the rest of our lives. That's a bit frightening to think about....we are so programmed at such an early age. Anyway, very interesting food for thought here.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Eric, getting them right at some point is better than not ever getting them right. There are so many of us who learn later than sooner. Thanks for sharing.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Faith, I can always depend on you to add to the godly perspective. I appreciate that about you, and happy to have you in my HubCircle. Thank you.

      • MsDora profile image
        Author

        Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Frank, thanks for your encouragement. Just hoping the teens themselves will benefit.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        A wonderful article with a powerful message. I have spent a lifetime trying to remove the bad anchor thoughts. If only I got them right the first time.

        I hope every parent reads this.

        e

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

        Excellent hub here on anchoring the thoughts of teens! I hope your message here goes far and wide to all parents of teens and to teens themselves.

        Our minds are the main battlefield for the enemy who loves to whisper those false imaginations into our minds, even as adults. But if we can establish the thought pattern at a very young age, that is the key. As God tells us in His Word, we are to think on those things that our true, lovely, worthy of praise and so on. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

        Voted up ++++ and away

        God bless you. In His Love Always

      • Frank Atanacio profile image

        Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

        what a lesson via hub.. this will help so many teens..who have low self esteem.. who have very little friends.. who want to find the right path to futures.. I like the simplicity, and the references from the bible to help bridge thoughts..MsDora.. a useful hub you have here bless you

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