Anxiety is a complex subject. This video addresses the form of anxiety that is under the surface, but there isn’t necessarily a clear reason for it. The focus of the tapping is focused on reducing anxiety by small amounts without compromising the need for safety that anxiety actually seems to provide.
Have you ever eaten something you had decided you weren’t going to eat or eaten more of them than you had intended? Sadly, it happens to me more frequently than I would like. What usually happens next is the thought “I might as well eat whatever I want because I already blew it.” The tapping exercise below is a good way to help minimize the damage. These words will work for you, even if what you ate or when you ate it is slightly different. Or, you can substitute your own words.
Say this statement and rate the intensity or how true it feels to you on a 0-10 scale (10=very true). “I’m such a failure.” Now say this one and rate it “I already blew it.” Write down your numbers.
Tap on your karate chop point and use the setup statements. Even though I just ate 3 brownies, and they definitely weren’t on my food plan for this afternoon, I choose to love and accept myself anyway. Even though I ate 3 brownies while waiting for my lunch to cook, I choose to love and accept myself anyway. Even though I feel like a failure since I ate those brownies, I choose to love and accept myself anyway.
Side of Eye…I can’t believe it
Under the Eye…I had been doing so well
Nose…This seems like a huge setback
Chin…Its not like I was really hungry
Collarbone…I am actually cooking lunch right now
Under the Arm…I’m nervous that it won’t be good
Top of Head…I’ve made two dishes that I’ve never made before
Eyebrow…That always makes me anxious
Side of Eye…But I’m also excited to see what happens
Under the Eye…I know that I often eat when I am nervous
Nose…But I’ve already blown my food plan
Chin…So I might as well eat whatever I want
Collarbone…There’s no point in controlling my food now
Under the Arm…I’ve already pointed the finger of guilt my way
Top of Head…I’m already wallowing in blame
Eyebrow…So I might as well eat.
Side of Eye…I already blew it
Under the Eye…I already ate something that is on my forbidden list
Nose…I ate way too much of it too
Chin…I might as well go ahead and eat whatever I want
Collarbone…That’s what quitters to
Under the Arm…I’m a guilty and shameful quitter
Top of Head…Ouch! That hurts!
Eyebrow…Sometimes I do give up
Side of Eye…Sometimes I don’t
Under the Eye…I don’t have to give up just because I made a mistake
Nose…I have options
Chin…I have choices
Collarbone…I already blew it might not be totally accurate
Under the Arm…I wouldn’t tell anyone else to give up just because of a simple error
Top of Head…I’m not going to tell myself that right now either
Eyebrow…I can start back on my food plan whenever I choose
Side of Eye…Including now
Under the Eye…This is just a setback
Nose…I can get back on track right now
Chin…In fact,, I am back on track right now
Collarbone…And I can stay back on track if I choose to
Under the Arm…I’ve been back on track for several minutes now
Top of Head…I am feeling better already.
Take a deep breath and let it out gently. Say your original statements again and rate them. Notice any shift you may have made. If the intensity is still higher than a 3 or 4, keep tapping with the above examples or better yet, use your own words. For many people there will be a shift to a slightly different thought, feeling or belief. Feel free to continue tapping on the new thought or write it down for later work.
Meditation is a form of mental discipline. There are many forms and styles of meditation. One is to follow or focus on your breath. Other people may meditate while focusing on an icon or object. Reciting a mantra can be useful for other people. Guided meditation in which one imagines a scene or event can also be used. The regular practice of meditation has been found to be useful in reducing stress, enhancing physical and emotional health, and improving life satisfaction.
It has become common knowledge that meditation masters like Buddhist monks can achieve amazing things through the power of their minds. Now scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have identified the brain area involved. A report in Science Daily revealed that the anterior cingulate cortex that governs thinking and emotion and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex that controls worrying are both impacted by meditation. The activation of these two areas can reduce anxiety ratings by almost 40%. Just think of it – no medications, no side effects, no doctor bills, increased tranquility, and increased wellbeing.
Give it a try. I’ve included a basic meditation exercise for you below.
Following the Breath Meditation.
The complete Wake Forest study can be found at:
F. Zeidan, K.T. Martucci, R.A. Kraft, J.G. Coghill. Neural Correlates of Mindfulness Meditation-Related Anxiety Relief. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2013; DOI: 10.1093/scan/nst041.
Start tapping on your karate chop point. Say these words aloud: Nothing calms me down better than food. Even though nothing calms me down better than food, I don’t like what it does to my body. I am open to learning new ways of calming down. I’m also open to learning more about the things that upset me so that I don’t even need to use food to calm myself.
Side of Eye…When I get upset, nothing calms me down better than food
Under the Eye…When I get upset, nothing calms me down better than food
Nose…When I get upset, nothing calms me down better than food
Chin…When I get upset, nothing calms me down better than food
Collarbone…When I get upset, nothing calms me down better than food
Under the Arm…When I get upset, nothing calms me down better than food
Top of Head…When I get upset, nothing calms me down better than food
Eyebrow…Food calms me down
Side of Eye…But it also is making me fat
Under the Eye…Food calms me down
Nose…And I often need to calm down
Chin…I get upset pretty often
Collarbone…And I use food to calm me down
Under the Arm…It is quick, easy, and painless
Top of Head…Well, maybe not painless
Eyebrow…Being overweight is definitely painful
Side of Eye…It is painful physically and emotionally
Under the Eye…I probably need to learn new ways to deal with my emotions
Nose…Food is quick, but the side effects are long
Chin…I can learn to manage my stress another way
Collarbone…I can learn to calm myself another way
Under the Arm…Even though I have used food to calm myself in the past
Top of Head…I am excited about the possibility of learning a new way
Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. What do you notice in your body? Did anything shift or change? What do you notice in your emotions? If new thoughts and ideas popped up, keep tapping.
I tend to be an optimist, but sometimes I have a hard time seeing the silver lining right away. Thursday morning started as any other day. I got up and showered, fed the dogs, made my breakfast, packed my lunch for work, then went into the laundry room to check the dogs’ water bowl. I know many people walk through their mornings in a haze, but I literally walked into the haze during my morning. The room was filling with smoke. In less that a minute the smoke detectors started blaring and smoke started filling the house.
Skipping to the end of the story – everyone is fine and the house is intact. But a lot happened between the smoke and now.
Our boiler malfunctioned (another long story) and was burning a hole through the floor beneath it. If this had happened after we had left for work we wold likely have lost everything. I made it to work, although smelled like smoke) and Scott stayed home, assessed the damage, and went to work on the repairs.
At work I alternated between anxiety and gratitude that this happened while I was at home. Fast forward to Friday – no hot water and the house smells like a campfire. I decided I had a choice. I could either focus on how inconvenient it was to not be able to take a hot shower and how smokey my house smelled or I could close my eyes and imagine cooking marshmallows for s’mores over the campfire. I chose the latter.
Saturday – still no hot water. My natural optimism was returning and by Saturday afternoon I could finally wash dishes again. Wash dishes? I have never looked forward to washing dishes in my entire life. Perhaps that is optimism taken too far.
Looking at everything that happened from this vantage point revealed a few lessons.
I hope I don’t have a fire again. I hope you don’t either. But if we do, think about marshmallows.
Does that statement scare you a little bit? It did me. I noticed that statement in Jump Ship, a book by Josh Shipp. I’ve mentioned this book in a few different posts. What the author was speaking about was getting real with yourself about who you are. He considers this an essential task for becoming successful in life. The question one must ask is “who am I?” The answer needs to be honest.
The question isn’t very difficult, but the naked answer sure is. When you first consider the question you may have some ready-made answers like “I’m a mom”, “I’m short”, “I’m Caucasian”, or “I’m a doctor.” I would argue that these are just the roles you play. Other people come up with answers that include what other people have said about them like “strong-willed”, “efficient”, “lazy”, or “beautiful.” That may not be who you really are either.
To help with confronting your naked identity Shipp offers these questions:
I’d like to offer a few more:
You might be wondering why this is so important. Consider this. Suppose that I want to make chocolate cupcakes. I have my ingredients all lined up to make them. Unfortunately the canister labeled sugar actually contains salt. What will happen to the cupcakes? You can be sure that I’ll be unhappy with the end product. In life the same thing can happen. If we do not see ourselves with accuracy – confronting that naked identity – it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get the end result we desire. We must know what “ingredients” we bring to the table.
So, if you dare, confront your naked identity and get “cooking”!
My first introduction to tapping (aka The Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT) used acrophobia as the target. It was a great option given the high prevalence of height phobias. According to Wikipedia, acrophobia is an extreme or irrational fear of heights. Because we were in southern Florida, an amazingly flat area, it wasn’t possible to truck us of to some mountainous area and we only had five minutes to spend on the technique. Instead, the leader had us all stand up on some very rickety folding chairs. I’m not particularly acrophobic, but I am afraid of public embarrassment and falling down would surely trigger embarrassment. Many people in the audience did report a dramatic change in their height phobia within only a few minutes of tapping.
In my psychology training I have learned about many techniques for addressing phobias including exposure, desensitization, flooding, and medications. It is usually very difficult, if not impossible to talk someone out of their phobias. Exposure, desensitization, and flooding really do work. What most people don’t like about these techniques is that they take a fair amount of time and agony in order to see the results. One extremely positive feature of tapping is that the relief is often rapid and relatively painless in comparison to the more commonly used therapy techniques.
When using tapping to address acrophobia you can focus on the thoughts, feelings, or behaviors and make a huge impact. Many people report heart pounding, breathing difficulty, and sweating in reaction to their phobia. Tapping on the meridians while focused on any of these sensations will help to decrease the discomfort. It can be effective to tap while in the terrifying situation, imagining the situation from the safety of your own living room, or looking at a picture that triggers thoughts of the situation.
You can also tap on the automatic thoughts that happen while experiencing or visualizing the situation. These may be thoughts such as “I’m going to die”, “I’m going to fall”, or even “This fear is irrational.” No thought is too trivial or too ridiculous to tap on. Remember, phobias are irrational by definition.
Some people develop a fear of heights in response to a situation in which something bad happened to them or in response to something that happened to someone else that they learned about. This could be a childhood prank in which someone acted like they were going to push you off of a bridge or a news report of someone falling off of a roof. If these events remain stored in your energy system for any length of time a phobia can develop.
One of my favorite tapping techniques is continuous tapping while having a conversation with yourself, or someone else, about the things that have happened in the past. You can include a description of the event, the sounds, the smells, and the thoughts in your head in the conversation while you are tapping.
Does the thought of skiing on a tall mountain make you shudder? Does looking over the side of a tall staircase take your breath away? There is no need to suffer. Claim your emotional freedom and learn to tap. Click HERE for a video to get you started.
Yes, but…Those words can derail us in so many ways. This applies whether the words are said to us or whether they are part of the little voice in our own head. These words can hold us back from going for our goals. Tapping can make a difference and neutralize the yes, buts….from the past, present, and future.