In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become a common part of our lives. Stress can take a toll on our physical and cognitive well-being, from work pressures to personal responsibilities. While several methods are available to manage stress, one technique that has gained significant attention is tapping. Actually known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), tapping is a self-help tool that combines elements of ancient Chinese medicine and modern psychology. This article explores the concept of tapping and its effectiveness in reducing stress.
Tapping is based on the premise that negative emotions and stress are caused by disruptions in the body’s energy system. By tapping on specific acupressure points while focusing on the underlying issue, individuals can restore balance to their energy system and alleviate stress. It is a gentle and non-invasive practice that involves using the fingertips to tap on various points on the face and upper body.
Incorporating Tapping into Daily Routine
To make tapping a part of your daily routine, follow these steps:
- Identify Stress Triggers: Identify the situations or circumstances that commonly cause stress. This awareness will help you target specific issues during tapping sessions.
- Learn the Tapping Points: Familiarize yourself with the tapping points and sequence. Numerous resources available online, including videos and tutorials, demonstrate the proper technique.
- Create Affirmations: Develop positive affirmations or statements that address your stress triggers. These statements should reflect self-acceptance, empowerment, and the desire to release negative emotions.
- Tap and Repeat: Begin tapping on the designated points while repeating your affirmations. Tap gently but firmly, focusing on your thoughts and emotions associated with the stressor. Repeat the process for each identified stress trigger.
- Practice Regularly: Consistency is key when incorporating tapping into your routine. Aim for daily sessions, especially during times of heightened stress. Over time, you will evolve to be better adept at effectively recognizing and managing your stressors.
The Process of Tapping
Tapping follows a systematic approach that involves several steps:
- Identifying the issue: Begin by identifying the specific issue or emotion that is causing stress. It could be work-related anxiety, relationship problems, or any other source of stress.
- Rating the intensity: Rate the intensity of the stress or negative emotion on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no intensity and ten being the highest.
- The setup statement: Create a setup statement by acknowledging the issue and accepting yourself despite it. For example, “Even though I am feeling stressed about my upcoming presentation, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
- Tapping sequence: Using your fingertips, tap on specific acupressure points while repeating a reminder phrase related to the issue. The acupressure points include the eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, and arm.
- Round of tapping: Complete one round of tapping by repeating the reminder phrase while tapping each point about 5-7 times. Take a deep breath and evaluate the intensity of the stress on a scale of 0 to 10.
- Repeating the process: If the intensity of the stress or negative emotion has not decreased significantly, repeat the tapping sequence with a modified reminder phrase until the intensity reduces.
Scientific Basis and Benefits
While tapping may seem unconventional, numerous studies have highlighted its effectiveness in reducing stress and promoting emotional well-being. The technique is believed to work by reducing the amygdala activation, the part of the brain responsible for the fear response, and lowering cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Tapping has been shown to provide various benefits, including:
- Stress reduction: Tapping helps to release emotional stress, providing a sense of relief and relaxation. It helps individuals manage their emotions effectively and cope with stressful situations.
- Anxiety and depression management: Tapping has shown promising results in reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms. It permits individuals to manage the root causes of their emotions, leading to improved mental well-being.
- Pain and physical discomfort: Tapping has been used as a complementary therapy for pain management. By focusing on the physical sensations associated with pain while tapping, individuals can experience relief and promote the body’s natural healing processes.
- Increased self-awareness: Tapping encourages individuals to tune in to their emotions and thoughts. This heightened self-awareness enables them to identify and address deep-rooted issues, ultimately leading to personal growth and development.
- Improved energy flow: Tapping aims to restore the body’s energy balance. By tapping on specific acupressure points, individuals stimulate the meridian system, promoting the free flow of energy throughout the body.
- Improved Cognitive Function: Chronic stress can impair cognitive function, affecting memory, concentration, and decision-making abilities. Tapping can help individuals clear mental fog, enhance focus, and improve cognitive performance. By reducing stress levels, tapping enables individuals to think more clearly, make better choices, and enhance problem-solving skills.
- Emotional Balance: Tapping can help individuals manage overwhelming emotions associated with stress. It provides a safe space to acknowledge and process emotions, allowing for emotional release and greater self-acceptance. Tapping helps create emotional balance by reducing anxiety, fear, anger, and other negative emotions, fostering a more positive outlook.
- Reduced Physical Symptoms: Stress often manifests in physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, digestive issues, and sleep disturbances. Tapping has been shown to alleviate these symptoms by reducing the underlying stress and promoting relaxation. By addressing the mind-body connection, tapping can contribute to overall physical well-being.
NourishDoc: Hello, everyone, and happy Thursday. Well, resilience, Stress Management is the keywords. We all need it during these uncertain times. Guess what? EFT, the emotional freedom technique, can help us, and this is the first thing we’re going to talk about this for this particular concern with Ann, an EFT tapping expert who focuses on helping people like us to manage our stress effectively. Welcome, Anne.
EFT Expert Ann: Well, thank you so much. I’m honored to be here, and thank you so much for the opportunity.
What is resilience?
NourishDoc: Thank you, so let’s start understanding resilience. What does it mean when we use our resilience?
EFT Expert Ann: Well, resilience is the capacity to recover a tough situation or a difficulty quickly or, yeah, maybe more gracefully, and resilience is something we all have within us. I’m sure that we all have that we are born with this resilience, and we go through tough times in our lives, and that can be something as harsh as a war. It can be something like an abusive relationship. It can be something like a breakup or something like getting a bad grade in school.
So a tough time is very subjective to who perceives it, and I like to use it always in terms of trauma. So if you have a little T or big T trauma, it does something to your body; you hold the stress that you have experienced in that body. You have around certain topics, you keep having a stress response in your body, it’s like programming that you’ve downloaded from that traumatic event, and our mind or our body reacts then, and having like a tunnel vision when you’re stressed out.
You have a problem, and you only focus on it, and you can’t find a solution. We stay in that tunnel vision when we are not overcoming our traumatic events. We then create depression, anxiety, or health issues because we have formed a belief system that something is unsafe. Our brains are trying to protect us from reliving that event to keep that response from the brain to a minimum or to delete this way of thinking or our brain to work that way.
We want to be resilient, and that’s when tapping can help you to overcome the situation, not to create PTSD or to come out of your post-traumatic depression, to come out of anxiety, to come out of a belief system in a way that is really effective and so easy to use. So EFT is very helpful to get you resilient after you have been through some tough times. Whether that tough time happened yesterday or has happened, I don’t know; thirty ago, it doesn’t matter if tea is equally effective.
How is EFT effective?
NourishDoc: Okay, so that’s good. So let’s understand how EFT help and works and the research behind it, and then we can go on to some small demo from you on resilience; what are the tapping points?
EFT Expert Ann: I’d love to. So tapping the emotional freedom technique, I’d like to explain it in two ways. One way is how I use the energy because EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, is a technique. It’s like acupuncture without needles. What you do, it’s, it’s the combination of traditional Chinese medicine, so acupressure, and modern psychology, and we combine by tapping, instead of using needles, I tap you because this is one of the points, but instead of using needles, you use your hands to just gently tap on those points.
You stimulate a meridian, so an energy point in your body that then releases blocks in your body. The idea of traditional Chinese medicine is that everything is energy. That’s even based on quantum physics by now. Suppose you experience negative feelings like worry, fear, shock, trauma, etc. In that case, it is a disturbance in your energy, so your energy isn’t running properly anymore. You rear the energy by tapping on these points or sticking needles into those specific points.
What I like to explain, and if you’re more into the scientific lingo, what happens is that by tapping on those certain points on your body, you’re sending a calming signal to your amygdala. Your amygdala is part of the brain that is the stress manager, let’s call it the stress manager, and that area in your brain sends out cortisol, the stress hormone.
When you tap, your cortisol level is lowered. That’s proven scientific now. Over the last decade, more and more research has been done, and brain scans are coming out where you, for example, use tapping for food cravings. So, it’s not only for traumatic events that you use but also for things like quitting smoking, quit sugar, quit whatever you want to, they have brain scans in which they scan your brain, and it’s activated when you see certain foods after just eight sessions of tapping, your brain wasn’t activated anymore.
So you’re rewiring your brain and your body, and I like it because you’re using your body to add to positive affirmations sometimes talk therapy doesn’t work. After all, what you do is talk about the same event over and over or talk about things. Nothing changes because we need to use our body to change something in our lives to change patterns to get out of trauma; our body is part of it. Using the body and those energy points is a great way to integrate it all.
EFT vs. Acupressure
NourishDoc: It’s fascinating; it’s like acupressure, right? Acupressure is also the same thing, but in this case, you are also tapping, like you’re saying, and maybe it’s using the top therapy simultaneously. Do you want to explain the difference between acupressure and emotional freedom technique?
EFT Expert Ann: So, the acupressure, I mean, tapping is acupressure, what we do is, we focus only on a couple of points, I mean, there are lots of meridian points, and what we do, I’ll show you quickly the points that we use, so that’s the first point the side of the hand point, this is where you tap.
You, yeah, you do it right. You tap like this; you can use what I like to say is you use your fist, and then you get two fingers up, and then you tap. This is a bigger point; you can use more hands; the pressure you use would be if you were in a concert and there’s a two-meter guy standing before you. You want attention saying, A, mate; I can’t see anything. That’s the pressure you would use. So, some pressure. You don’t want to stroke yourself. You want to use some pressure.
But you don’t want to punch yourself. So that’s what you do, and this is one point. This is the setup point. This is the point at which we tune into the topic. Hence, we talk about it a certain topic and something important. At the same time, if you do a session like this, we will talk about something negative because we are being honest with ourselves, maybe for the first time. We are ourselves how devastating the situation is, how we are not feeling well.
So we are talking, which might sound counterintuitive when you want to improve yourself; we all want to be a high vibe; we want to be talking positively, but those negative feelings stay in us anyway, and if we are not clearing them out, it’s like having a pile of crap like and then sprinkling some sparkle on it, you still have the pile of crap there. Let’s get rid of crap and then put the sparkle on top. By tapping and talking about the negativity, you clear those blocks.
You calm your nervous system and your amygdala around this topic. So you are rewiring everything. That’s why we talk about negative things. So I often need to correct this question. Don’t say negative. Oh my God. No, don’t, and this is why this is for the first time in your life; we are being honest with ourselves. We are acknowledging it, and we say that even though this happens, I love and accept myself. Even though this situation is going on, I forgive myself and maybe the other person or whoever has contributed to this situation.
So we love, accept and forgive ourselves despite a negative thing or situation despite the trauma. Maybe if you’ve done something wrong, you want to forgive yourself even though you’ve done that, you love, accept, you forgive yourself, so yeah, we are, we are, we are accepting, and we love ourselves because that’s the base of so much. You don’t just say it by tapping on it; it really goes into your subconscious mind. So the next point I take, I like taking my glasses off for this, is the top of your head. I like doing both hands, but you can use either; it’s fine.
The next one would be between the eyebrows. Then it’s the temple here, and each point has a meridian to it like it’s connected to some point and some emotions and some like anxiety, guilt, some feelings; I’m not going to go into what that is; we have a workshop about that. The next one is here, and the next is under the nose. The next one is under the lip, on the chin, where is like the little, what is it crested? The little dip. The next one is the collarbone. It’s like an inch below your collarbone, and then here, this is where your bra line would be if you’re a woman. So, at the rib cage, I like to use this one as well, the wrists, and that is one round of tapping, and that’s it.
NourishDoc: It’s amazing what our own body can do has the ability to heal us, right? By doing simple techniques, this is just a fascinating technique that we all need to learn about.
EFT Expert Ann: So, and people say, well, if it was only that easy. So, let’s come on. Let’s tap. Tap with them, that’s what I do, and they see the results and often immediately. It depends on what you work on sometimes; you do have to tap a few times. Sometimes, you have to work on a topic repeatedly, whatever it is we’re working on; sometimes, it’s like a can of worms, you have to open more things, but it helps with limiting beliefs or eliminating them.
You have anxiety around something, and if you have an actual anxiety attack or a panic attack, tapping without even saying anything, even just if you say, even though I have this feeling, even though I’m anxious right now, even though I’m freaking out, I love and accept myself. It works. Give it ten to 15 minutes, do this tapping, and see how you feel. Yeah.
NourishDoc: Now, fascinating. This is a quick 10-minute session that we bring daily. Today’s session was to help us manage stress and improve our resilience, which we know we need in today’s certain times. With that, thank you so much, Ann, for being with us and everyone else for your support. Stay tuned. We are developing our app, workshops, and a very affordable platform where you can learn about all these things in more detail. Anything else you’d like to add, Ann, before I wrap up?
EFT Expert Ann: No, thank you so much for inviting me.
NourishDoc: All right, thank you, and have a great weekend.
Finding effective techniques to manage and reduce stress is crucial in increasing stress levels. Tapping, or the Emotional Freedom Technique, offers a unique and holistic approach to stress reduction. By combining elements of ancient Chinese medicine and modern psychology, tapping enables individuals to address and alleviate stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions. With its ease of use, tapping can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, providing a valuable tool for stress management in today’s demanding world. So, why not try tapping and experiencing its potential for transforming your well-being?