Tapping Exercise – Nothing calms me down better than food

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.

Eyebrow…When I get upset, nothing calms me down better than food

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.

Did anyone bring the marshmallows?

glowing campfireI 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 picture of marshmallows toasting to make s'moreschoice.  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.

kitchen sink with running waterSaturday – 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.

  1. I really am an optimist.  However, just because I am an optimist doesn’t mean I don’t feel unhappy or frustrated sometimes. Being an optimist just means that it is my default viewpoint.  Both tapping and conscious choice restored my balance.
  2. Looking for the blessings in your life is important. Unless you look for them you might miss out.  It would have been easy for me to focus on the inconveniences of the day but I know it would not have been a good thing for me or anyone else.
  3. I can tolerate more than I sometimes think I can.  I don’t usually like surprises or anything that disrupts my daily routine.  This event was a disruption but I actually bounced back rather quickly.

I hope I don’t have a fire again.  I hope you don’t either.  But if we do, think about marshmallows.

EFT and the Fear of Heights

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…

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.

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

Limiting beliefs are those thoughts, sometimes conscious, sometimes not, that keep us from doing the things we need to do to reach our goals.  For example, when I was growing up I wanted to be an astronaut.  That was at the beginning of the manned space program and whenever I would mention that I wanted to be an astronaut I would hear someone say – girls can’t be astronauts.  That is a limiting belief.  It kept me from trying to become an astronaut.

Not all limiting beliefs come directly from an outside source.  There was a time when I also wanted to become a doctor.  I knew that I had to take physics and calculus in order to go to medical school.  I didn’t believe that I could do well in those subjects in spite of the fact I was a straight A student.  There was no logical reason to assume I couldn’t pass those classes but my belief that I couldn’t kept me from actually trying.

History is full of limiting beliefs.  The world is flat. That belief kept people close to home so that they didn’t fall off the edge. A limiting belief is anything that keeps you stuck right where you are.

The good news — they are just beliefs, not facts.  We can challenge our limiting beliefs.  Tapping is a great way to do that.  Believing that I can’t pass physics is a belief. Deciding that I don’t want to put in the work that physics would require is a choice.  Being in a position of choice is “where it’s at” if you ask me.

Book Review – Energy Tapping: How to Rapidly Eliminate Anxiety, Depression, Cravings, and More Using Energy Psychology

Energy Tapping: How to Rapidly Eliminate Anxiety, Depression, Cravings, and More Using Energy Psychology by Fred P. Gallo and Harry Vincenzi was one of the first books on Energy Psychology (EP) that I read and I’m delighted to have re-read it again several times.  In addition to being a great introductory text for EP work and tapping, this book has features that truly set it apart from many other books in this genre including a chapter about energy toxins, a great description of the beliefs and their impact on feelings and behaviors, and perhaps the best chapter anywhere on psychological reversal and self-sabotage.

Beyond the basics of how to do tapping, the authors provide easy to follow instruction and numerous case examples so that the reader can feel confident in addressing a variety of emotions and situations. The page formatting and easy to understand graphics add to the experience and the ease of use. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their life circumstance. From a seasoned health provider to the lay person, this book has something to offer.

Tapping Video: Good Things Are For Everyone

Verse 8 of the Tao Te Ching begins this way :

The best way to live is to be like water

For water benefits all things and goes against none of them

It provides for all people and even cleanses those places a man is loath to go

In this way it is just like Tao

(from Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition by Lao Tzu with translation and commentary by Jonathan Star)

This tapping was inspired by that verse.  I interpret this to mean that good things are to be shared by everyone, from the highest to the most lowly.  Gulp! That means that good things are even for people I don’t like.  I have had to tap on that one more than once, and truthfully have a long way to go. This video is to get you started with this difficult life practice.