Monday, April 22, 2024

Stress Relief with EFT tapping

Anna was running late. She had to drop off Sam at the nursery before dashing to work for 9 am, which meant she had to look presentable before leaving the house. Sam had other ideas. He felt like looking out of the window and didn’t want to brush his teeth. And he certainly wasn’t going to wear THAT shirt his mum had picked out. Anna was very frustrated, worried she was going to be late, worried she was going to forget something, worried she was being a really bad mum by getting cross with Sam.

Sound familiar? Think of the last time you felt your stress levels rising. Maybe for you it was triggered by being stuck in the traffic, having a difficult phone conversation, or misplacing your house keys. What did it feel like in your body? Maybe you felt your face flushing, or alternatively felt all the blood run out of your head and face. Probably your heart started to beat faster and your breath became faster and shallower.

All of these are the body’s reaction to a stressful situation – it’s the famous fight, flight or freeze response. The sympathetic nervous system is engaged and various ‘stress biochemicals’ such as adrenalin and cortisol are released into the blood. These cause the physical changes in your body that you feel when you are in stress.

When stress becomes chronic

But this wasn’t the only thing going on for Anna. She was also caring for her seriously ill mother, and also rather worried about her relationship with her husband. He just didn’t seem that interested in her anymore, or was that just her imagination because they were both so busy? As well as the daily small incidents which switched on her sympathetic nervous system, this background chronic stress was continually triggering the release of stress chemicals into her body. At the end of each day she wasn’t able to wind down, fully relax and feel happy with her life, because – well, there were all these other problems to think about. Her parasympathetic nervous system was never able to play its rest and digest role, which would have enabled her body to heal and countered the stressful feelings with ‘feel-good biochemicals’ such as serotonin and endorphins.

Many of us are also in some kind of ongoing situation that causes us to feel chronically stressed, whether it’s trying to get ahead in our career, going through a divorce, or looking after a new baby with no help. Often several different stressful events occur one after the other, and much of the time we just have to get on with the day without processing what happened. The sympathetic nervous system is continually switched on and the stress chemicals continue to flood the body. If we don’t (or can’t) take any action, then we feel worse and worse and eventually the body may become physically ill, or we may become depressed or have panic attacks.

What if you could stop this process in its tracks, talk to you body in terms that it understands, and release the stress from your body as and when it happens? What if you could switch off the sympathetic nervous system and switch on the parasympathetic nervous system within a few minutes? Welcome to EFT tapping!

What is EFT tapping?

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a method of tapping on certain acupressure points on the face, body and hands while we focus on stressful feelings. It has a powerful calming effect. The physical stimulation tells the body in a way it can understand that it is now safe. It enables the body to discharge the stress, switch off the sympathetic nervous system and switch on the parasympathetic nervous system. Research suggests that stimulating the acupressure points tells the brain that all is now safe, and this is evidenced by falling cortisol levels. Studies have proven that levels of cortisol can decrease by 43% after only one hour of EFT tapping[1].

How to do it

A simple version of EFT tapping can be done by yourself and takes only a few minutes. Here’s how:

  • Tap with one, two or a few fingers on each of these points in turn.
  • Tap about 10 times on each one (don’t count, it’s just a guide).
  • Tap hard enough to feel it but not so hard you hurt yourself.
  • Tap both sides together or just one side.
  • You can tap as often as you want throughout the day.
  • Each time you tap, go through all the points by turn 2 or 3 times.

The tapping points

  • Side of the hand.
  • Start of the eyebrow by the bridge of the nose.
  • Side of the eye (temple).
  • Under the eye, on the bone.
  • Under the nose (feel you are tapping on your gum).
  • Under the mouth (feel you are tapping on your gum).
  • Collarbone points: find the points of your collarbones and tap on the hollow below and to the side. Under the arm (a hand’s breadth under the armpit, on the ribs).
  • Top of the head (in the centre)

Emotional First Aid and Increasing Resilience

This ‘no-words tapping’ is ideal to use at a moment of stress, for example, Anna could have used it when Sam was refusing to put on his shirt and she was getting late for work. It can interrupt the stress response in the moment, enabling us to feel calmer and more in control and able to think rationally, take a step back from the situation, and maybe find a solution. Think of it as emotional first aid.

I always recommend my clients use no-words tapping in between sessions with me, as regularly as brushing their teeth. It is a really good habit to get into, a kind of ‘emotional hygiene’ that can gradually re-train the body and neurological pathways and enable you to spend more of your day in the rest and digest state rather than habitually being on high alert. In this way, when stressful events do occur unexpectedly during the day, we have greater emotional resilience and are less likely to be overwhelmed.

If you incorporate EFT tapping into your daily routine, it will be there as automatic behaviour next time you need emotional first aid. How amazing to have a simple stress relief tool quite literally at your fingertips!

[1] https://petastapleton.com/group-eft-tapping-results-in-43-reduction-in-cortisol/

I help women with anxiety, however that manifests – whether sleep issues, poor digestion, panic attacks, relationship struggles, comfort eating, and the rest. My passion is to explore how we can deepen and accelerate our spiritual growth with tools like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

I support women to feel calm, empowered and connected to their life path and purpose through one-to-one sessions and group workshops.

I am also committed to providing free content and services and spread EFT tapping to everyone who could benefit, through my videos and free group tapping sessions.

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