Do you sometimes find yourself overwhelmed with frustration, confusion or anger and not know how to come back to a “neutral” baseline?
Many of my clients at Canada Career Counselling find that it can be tricky to know how to self-regulate because they were never taught. There are many ways to calm the nervous system but what if you had access to one way that takes under 5 minutes?
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping is a method stemming from Chinese medicine utilising acupuncture points (also known as “energy hot spots”) and instead of using needles, EFT uses finger tapping. It’s a tool that is now used in mental health to help people balance disrupted energy by expressing repetitive movements and phrases for grounding and neutralising one’s emotional state. EFT has proven to help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, depression, and anxiety (Fox, L. 2013).
There are 4 steps with EFT tapping:
1. Identify the issue you’re stressed about.
Start with a physical pain in your body like back pain or a headache. The issue must be specific. You can also pick a mentally stressful thought, such as feeling pressured because of a deadline or being overwhelmed from a job loss.
2. Rate the intensity of how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10.
Make a mental note of how strong you feel about the situation: 10 is the most intense, 1 is very low on the spectrum. This helps monitor any progress at the end and helps facilitate emotional awareness.
3. Begin with the set-up statement and tap the 9 points of your body (see image below).
While tapping on specific points talk aloud in a loving way:
“Even though I __________ (State problem. Ex. “I am stressed about this deadline”) I still love and accept myself.”
Repeat this sentence 3 times on each tapping point of your body. See the image below for reference to the 9 tapping points. Use both your ring, middle and index fingers to tap on each point. Remember, it’s not about any fancy language, it’s about being honest with how you are feeling and bringing it up to address it.
- karate chop
- top of head
- side of the eye
- under the eye
- under the nose
- beginning of the collarbone
- under the arm
4. Rate the intensity of how you feel about your situation on a scale of 1 to 10 and compare how you felt a moment ago.
It looks a little funny when you do it but it’s powerful when it comes to changing how you manage your stress response. When tapping, you are sending signals to your amygdala (responsible for the fight or flight system) and communicating to yourself that you’re safe and okay, despite this stressful problem. In turn, this helps neutralize any judgement you may have about your problem and rewiring your brain to feel calmer when faced with everyday stressors.