Tapping For All You’re Worth

 

Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Tapping has been gaining a lot of attention in the last few years. I see it on social media regularly and increasingly come across articles where it is being used in programs to assist veterans or help underprivileged students improve their performance in school.

When a friend of mine turned me on to Tapping years ago, we both agreed it looked weird; kind of like having a fit of Tourette’s, only with affirmations instead of cuss words. Here are my take-aways from doing Tapping over the years:

  • It is surprisingly effective. It actually works. It calms me down when I am flying apart with anxiety and it lifts my mood when I am depressed.
  • It is free! Always a win in my book. You can buy books, videos, personalized EFT sessions, etc. to hone your technique, but the basic technique is easy to pick up and free.
  • I don’t use Tapping nearly as often as I could.

So, what is Tapping?

EFT is basically a hybrid of Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. The idea is that by tapping certain pressure points on the body and focusing on how you are feeling, you can calm the nervous system.

Sounds a little touchy-feely hippie, right? But, there are actual research studies that show that tapping works and works rather well. This isn’t your late night health guru spouting platitudes. A 2009 Harvard Medical School Study showed that, similar to acupuncture, tapping significantly reduced arousal of the amygdala, The amygdala is that fun little “fight or flight” part of the brain that, when triggered, releases the stress hormone, cortisol, into our system. Triggers can be practically anything and, for those of us who are stressed regularly , that sucker gets stuck in the “on” position and wreaks havoc. (Seriously? Just slap a “Pick me!” sticker on my forehead!)

Ok…so how do we do this thing?

Most instructions tell you to rate your particular problem of the moment on a scale of 0-10, zero being the least. Quite honestly, I usually skip this part because trying to rate my anxiety level gives me anxiety. I just go with “I’m super anxious!” and move on. The next is to come up with your statement of the problem you are dealing with and a nice little affirmation at the end. Like right now I am using, “Even though I am freaked out about writing an “informative’ article about Tapping, I love and accept myself.”

Once you have your affirmation, it’s time to start tapping and saying the statement out loud. There are eight meridian acupressure points:

  • The sides of your hands (think Karate chop)
  • Where your eyebrows begin near your nose
  • The bone along the outside corner of your eye
  • The bone under the eye
  • The area between your nose and upper lip
  • The area on your chin just below your lower lip
  • Your inner collarbone about an inch out from where they meet
  • On your side about four inches below your armpit
  • The last point is the top of your head.

You start tapping, maybe  5-7 times, with two to four fingers at each acupressure point, starting with the karate chop point, going down from your eyebrows to your side and then ending the sequence at the top of your head, all the while saying your affirmation. Like I said…it looks weird.

There are some Tapping nitpickers out there that stress diligence in how you perform EFT. My advice is to not get hung up on the statement and sequence. In my experience, you can change your statement midstream or miss parts of the sequence. Sometimes I just use one point when I need to be a little circumspect about my tapping. It is still highly effective regardless. Try the karate chop point on your steering wheel in the car when you need to chill from a little anxious road rage. (Eh, let’s not dig into that quarry, shall we?) Some of the best and approachable information on Tapping that I have found is from The Tapping Solution. www.thetappingsolution.com Their Tapping 101 is an excellent place to start.

Any downside?

What I have found the most challenging about this treatment is simply remembering to use Tapping when it is needed the most. There are a million touted uses for EFT from curing disease to creating wealth (Treasure Tapping, anyone?), but most of the studies point to it being the most useful for mental stress like anxiety and depression. However, anxiety and depression are often self-perpetuating engines. The deeper you go, the more your brain resists anything that might pull you out. There have been many times where I have been in the depths and it takes me forever to realize “Hey, I have this in my arsenal!”. Then it takes a bit longer to actually start tapping for all I’m worth. It essentially boils down to making it a habit. It only works if you use it.

So, I have a couple of questions for you: Do you use Tapping? How have you made it a part of bettering your mental health? I am all ears!

Take care and happy Tapping, my friends!

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While the articles are written to inform, entertain and support those who visit the site, the Anxious Artist is not a licensed medical professional and the information on these pages is not intended to replace regular medical care. Research and testimonials may show promising results with alternative treatments for mental illness, but these should always be discussed with a qualified medical practitioner before being implemented.

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