What is EFT (tapping)?
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. What does that mean? It is an energy technique that helps us find emotional freedom. The major benefit of being emotionally free is to have some distance between the stressor and your reaction to that stressor or to put it more simply to not be a victim of your thoughts. We have millions of feelings and thoughts everyday, most of the time we are not even conscious of these feelings or thoughts or what causes them. Using tapping on a regular basis encourages us to be more aware of these feelings and thoughts and more importantly, how we feel about these feelings and thoughts. And therefore be less likely to react to others in an unconscious way. The aim of tapping is to remove the negative feeling you are having about the feeling and accepting that yourself even though you are having this feeling.
The aim is to calm the nervous system so that you can make a better decision by having more clarity. Tapping calms the amygdala. It is great first aid for the emotions but can work much deeper than that too.
EFT uses the endpoints of the meridians around the body, usually the face and top of the body and sometimes the hands. By tapping on these points it allows your nervous system to relax and it helps us to re-balance & relax. It has been likened to acupuncture without needles.
When we tap we need to tune into the negative feelings that we are experiencing and start tapping on those feelings. In order to move on we need to stop repressing the negative issues, tune into them and accept how we are feeling. Once we work on and remove the negative issues then we can reprogram our neural pathways with positive affirmations. It can be difficult to do this but a great feeling once you can.
The more specific you can be the better EFT works. EFT really requires you to be mindful about your feelings. EFT is useful for many issues but also for past traumas. For traumas it is advisable that you seek a certified EFT practitioner to work with to support you through the work.
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There have been hundreds of studies which show the effectiveness of EFT. It has been found effective for many issues including depression, anxiety, fear, phobias, PTSD, food cravings, procrastination and even physical issues and performance. Research in EFT, shows how it decreases cortisol, it works as well as therapies such as CBT but in a shorter time
How to tap
Setup statement, we state the issue and then we accept it- the acceptance means that we are not accepting the problem and want it to remain as it is, it simply means we accept that we are having these feelings around the issue.
We use 2 or 3 fingers to tap on specific points on the body.
Before tapping, think about the issue that is bothering you, identify the feeling and where you feel it in your body. Tune into it and see how it feels. Rate this issue in intensity in terms of how you feel about it right now from 0 to 10, where 10 is the most bothersome. Next comes the phrase of acceptance of the feeling. We can only move on when we accept or validate a situation or a feeling and this is why this is the first step of EFT. This is called the setup statement. A useful framework to have for the setup statement is something like “even though I have this issue and I have this feeling about it, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. If this feels to strong to say right now you can change it to something less triggering like “I accept myself”. We repeat this statement or a slight variation of this statement 3 times. This might look like
1. Even though I have this issue and I have this feeling about it, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
2. Even though I have this issue and I have this feeling about it, I honour how I feel.
3. Even though I have this issue and I have this feeling about it, I choose to let this go now. It is safe for me to let this go.
Then we move onto tapping around the body points. This is when we focus on the way this issue make us feel, a reminder phrase so that we keep focussed on this one issue. Other issues may come up but try to focus on the first issue and get it to a low intensity before moving on to tap on another issue. Here we may tap on what we feel about this issue, the feeling, why we might feel triggered by it, why we might not want to let it go and how the feeling feels in the body. While we are saying these things, we are also tapping on the points which calms the nervous system down. Once we feel a shift in the feelings we can move on to the positive elements of tapping, saying things like we will be okay, that we can let it go and positive affirmations related to that issue or feeling.
After the tapping rounds have finished, so after at least 2 or 3 rounds, rate the intensity again from 1 to 10 to see if it has gone down. Even if it has gone down only by one point that is great, it may need to be tapped on many times. It may also go up occasionally and that is also okay. It just means that this issue is really bothering you but it might also mean that the issue that you are tapping on is not the exact issue that is bothering you. Or maybe you are not being specific enough. Perhaps you are tapping on anxiety generally, but may be you could try tapping on the anxiety you feel in a certain situation. Just try to tune in and find the specific issue. For example, you could say “I feel anxious about this aspect of this project I am working on right now and I feel I might not have the expertise to do it”.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a relatively new therapy and therefore does not have a huge body of research, but there is a body research which does show its efficacy. Click here to see some EFT research studies.
EFT is not a medical therapy. This information has been written to help individuals understand what EFT is and how it can be used. It is not a substitute for medical care, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder. If you have concerns regarding your mental health state, it is advisable for you to see a medical practitioner or licensed health care practitioner.
The photo is based on a photo taken by Ale Romo on Unsplash.com