How I Got Into it…
Almost a year ago, I had a huge struggle with anxiety due to a never-ending series of traumatic events. Looking back now, I can see that what I struggled with was so much more than anxiety. It was my ADHD (racing thoughts and brain fog) mixed with a little PTSD (traumatic-event-related stress) topped off with depression and over a million ruminating thoughts that took control of my life. Now that’s a lot of acronyms, but to sum it all up, I was miserable! A dear friend of mine brought over a book about tapping. While I was extremely grateful to her for thinking of me and trying to help, I don’t think I was ready to heal yet. I wrongfully thought at the time that if I took steps toward healing, then it meant I had to become okay with what happened. I wasn’t okay. The book sat on the side table for the next few months as I sat in my misery.
We finally decided to take a trip as a family to Jamaica for some fun and healing. Knowing that I had several hours of driving, airports, and flying, I gathered up all of the self-help books that had been gifted to me! I spent all of our travel time reading each page word-for-word. I’ll later make a new post about the entire Jamaican healing journey and review the books I read. (Here are some of my travel stories) Tapping was the one that had the most significant and immediate effect. As I sat alone one morning on our balcony having coffee, a negative thought took hold and would not let go! I thought to myself, “Oh hell no, not here. Not in paradise!” I did about 5 minutes of a tapping technique, and I found INSTANT relief.
While this has not been the end-all, cure-all for me – it’s most defiantly a tool that has helped tremendously. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, dear friend!
Okay, So what the heck is “tapping?”
Not a new concept, but totally new to me (the book I read was actually published in 2008)! Better late than never!
Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is a simple technique to alleviate trapped negative emotions. It involves using your fingertips to tap the body’s nine specific meridian points (energy points) while addressing your negative feelings, thoughts, memory, or emotions. Scientists and other professionals claim this process can release the negative energy connected to those thoughts, emotions, or memories. It has definitely helped me!
Here’s the specific technique I use:
- I focus on my issue, such as a ruminating thought, bad memory, or simply being angry and hurt for something someone did to me. I rate the intensity of that negative feeling (this is important for later).
- I try really hard to remember what I am grateful for and what I am capable of (this is difficult when I’m in a victim mindset, but I try my best to power through the hopelessness and find at least one thing that I know I’m capable of, or thankful for, or love about myself).
- I then start tapping on my body’s meridian points (beginning with the karate chop point on the side of my hand).
- While tapping the hand, I repeat what is known as the “setup phrase.” This phrase acknowledges the issue while simultaneously acknowledging what I’m thankful for. Here’s an example: “Even though I am experiencing the pain and trauma of (insert memory or thought) and I’m really angry, I deeply and completely accept myself and my feelings.” or “Even though (insert name) did (insert event) and it hurt me, I am beautiful and worthy of love.” A great ADHD example is: “Even though I lost track of time, I accept myself. I am unique and powerful!”
- I then move on to each of my body’s meridian points as I state what is known as a “reminder phrase.” Example: “I am experiencing pain and trauma from this memory, but I can release the grief, and I can experience happiness. The meridian points include the top of the head, eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, and under the arm. I repeat the reminder phrase several times with each meridian point.
- I repeat the entire process 2-3 times.
- I then rate the intensity of the emotion or thought again. If the intensity has not decreased, I begin the sequence again.
Sometimes I tap to address a painful memory, and sometimes it’s as simple as regaining focus on my work after a distraction. This technique doesn’t have to be used for only deep painful stuff. It can be everyday crap like “Even though my kids are climbing the wall and the laundry has piled up, I accept that I am a good mom.”
I am so happy to have found this tool and the specific technique that has worked for me. To me, this technique is all about accepting things that you cannot change, releasing the negative energy connected to those things, and instilling a tremendous love for yourself. I cannot promise that tapping will work for you, but If you’re interested in learning more, here are some resources that I have found helpful:
The information I have provided in this article is of my own personal experience and is not meant as medical or mental health advice. I am not a doctor and I am not making claims that this tool will heal you or even work for you. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please visit your nearest hospital or call 911.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time, day or night, or chat online. Their Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.