In our day-to-day lives, keeping a good flow of positive energy can be essential for a productive, stress-free day. However, as that can be as difficult as the days are random, why not consider a simple yet powerful technique that can serve as a great antidote for anxiety? That’s where Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) may be able to help you.
What are Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
EFT is a popular form of biofield therapy that combines acupressure – to stimulate the body’s subtle energies – with elements of established psychotherapy methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, which is an evidence-based talk therapy that challenges negative patterns of thought about the self and the world in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns.
How to Practice EFT Tapping
In his book Why Vibes Matter: Understand Your Energy and Learn How to Use It Wisely, IONS Scientist Garret Yount, PhD, offers a few steps on how you can practice EFT Tapping in your day-to-day life. Here’s what he suggests:
- Identify the fear that you want to let go of and check in with yourself to see where you are starting, in terms of anxiety level. Give a score to how much stress you are feeling right now on a scale of 0–10, with 10 being the worst or most difficult. Close your eyes and take a gentle breath in and out, slowly. Now take another gentle breath and, this time, pay attention to how deep your breath is. Is it full and going down deep into your belly, relaxed and open? Or is it tight and constricted and high up in your chest? As you continue to pay attention to your breath, tune in to any anxiety that you might be feeling.
- Now begin the tapping. With your eyes open or closed, start off by tapping on your non-dominant hand at the point that is nicknamed the karate chop point. It is below the little finger on the outside edge of the hand. Tap with four fingers of your dominant hand, held loosely, on the karate chop point of the other hand.
- While tapping gently, state aloud or inside your head several times: “Even though I feel so much anxiety about everything that’s going on, I deeply and completely accept myself.” Repeat again with similar language, for example: “Even though this feels so overwhelming, I choose to relax and feel safe now.” And then make a third statement while still tapping, something like: “Even though I’m feeling so much anxiety, it’s safe to let it go now.” You can just stick with this one point, if you like, and skip to step #13.
- If you choose to move on to other points, switch to tapping the karate chop point on the other hand, repeating the statements in #3, and then move on to the face points.
- The first face point is the center of the eyebrows, just above the nose. Use two fingers of one hand (or both hands at the same time). Tapping and breathing gently, while tuning into the anxiety, the goal is to counteract the feelings with the calming signals to the brain from the tapping.
- When you’re ready, move to the second face point, at the very edge of the eyebrows (where you can feel the bone of your eye socket). You can tap both sides, or just one. Take a moment to think about just how overwhelmed you are while you are tapping here. There is so much going on, and that is okay.
- When you feel ready, move to the third face point, underneath the center of each eye – either on one side or under both eyes together. Again, you know you’re tapping on the right spot when you can feel the bone. Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Take a moment to think about just how overwhelmed you are. Say to yourself something like: “It is safe to feel this anxiety,” while continuing to tap.
- The fourth face point is under the nose, just above the upper lip. Say to yourself something like: “And it is safe to begin to let the anxiety go.”
- The fifth face point is beneath the lower lip, above the chin. Tap with two fingers in that little crease, saying: “It is safe to feel this anxiety.”
- The next point is just below the collar bones. Feel for the bone on each side, just below where the neck joins the chest, and tap about an inch below that. You can use all ten fingers on this point. Say to yourself something like: “It is safe to feel this anxiety.”
- The next point is on the side of the torso, about three inches below the armpits on either side of the body. Tap, saying: “It is safe to feel all this stress.”
- The last point is at the top of the head (the crown chakra). Tap there and say: “And it is safe to let it go.”
- End with a deep, slow breath in and out. That was one round of tapping.
- Repeat the sequence as many times as you like and alter the affirmations as you wish as you go.
- To finish, assess your anxiety level and give a new score. Hopefully, the score has decreased. If it hasn’t, or hasn’t decreased as much as you would like it to, repeat the rounds of tapping until it does.
Sometimes we begin to tap to deal with anxiety about a topic. After a round of tapping and checking in, it may occur to us that it is actually a different topic causing the anxiety. In this case, start another round of tapping focusing on the new topic.
The formula for coming up with your positive statement is to identify a problem and make a statement about accepting yourself despite the problem. A common template is: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself.” For example, Garret started out with, “Even though I’m anxious about my daughter driving on the highway in snowy conditions, I deeply and completely accept myself.” After a few rounds, he switched it to “Even though I’m sad my daughter has grown up and doesn’t need me to protect her anymore, it’s safe to let it go now.”
If you would like to learn more about EFT Tapping, the science behind it, and even how our genes play into it, check out Garret’s book (Available on Bookshop). You’ll find great insights and practical tools and techniques to help you attune to your own vibes and learn how to influence them in the wisest way possible.