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Published on November 22, 2019

What Is the Emotional Freedom Technique And Its Benefits?

What Is the Emotional Freedom Technique And Its Benefits?

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a type of psychological acupressure that anyone can practice on themselves. In fact, practicing on yourself is the preferred method, as this technique is not something done by others, in a way that a massage would be, for example.

By tapping specific pressure points on the body, it is believed that negative energies causing pain (whether physical or emotional) are disrupted, and therefore balance is restored to the physical and emotional body.[1]

The Origin of the Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT has close ties to acupuncture, in that it physically touches on specific points on the body, believed to hold epicenters of energy. With acupuncture, these points are picked with acupuncture needles to alleviate pain, tension, and combat illness. Over the years, however, researchers and healers alike have realized that tapping on these pressure points of the body offers similar results to that of acupuncture.

One such psychologist, Roger Callahan, used the idea to treat one of his patients who was deathly afraid of water. Through the course of her many treatments, all of which proved ineffective, Callahan almost accidentally stumbled into the tapping technique when his patient complained about feeling anxious in her stomach at the thought of water. He asked her to tap underneath her eye, knowing that this location had a direct connection to the acupuncture meridian in her stomach.

Unknown to him, he was building the idea that tapping could ease his patient’s anxiety. That’s exactly what happened – after tapping under her eye, the patient experienced a sudden release of stomach sensation, almost immediately.

To make matters even more surprising, the patient’s fear vanished so quickly and profoundly, that she was able to run to the nearest swimming pool and stand on its edge without the deathly anxiety that used to plague her.[2]

Eventually, Callahan coined the tapping technique as Thought Field Therapy (TFT), where the client would tap specific points while thinking of the problem or anxiety they were struggling with.

Many years later, a student of Callahan’s would take this notion, and add to it elements that we see and use in Emotional Freedom Technique today. Gary Craig, a former student of Callahan’s, added to his teacher’s already widely-used TFT tool. By asking clients to tap on specific points in sequence, and repeat a phrase out loud while tapping each one, he essentially became the developer of EFT; but not without years of foundational work laid down by his predecessors.

How Does the Emotional Freedom Technique Work?

The energy centers of the body can best be thought of as meridian points. These are like energy channels connecting the highways of the body, and therefore connecting us to our sensations – which can often be rooted in physical pain and emotional fear. When these negative sensations come up, they disrupt the balance of the body, and we feel off in some way.

By lightly tapping each of these meridian points in sequence, and repeating how we feel and what we’re struggling with, out loud, we cut the chain of negative reactions and sensations from continuing to plague us.

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Whatever we’re dealing with – whether it’s a bad memory, a struggling relationship, a moment of intense fear – we can use tapping to concentrate on accepting and resolving the negative emotion, so that we can allow the body to restore itself to order and balance. [3]

The video below offers an overview of the tapping points, and their significance in the EFT technique.

How to Find the Right Points

It is generally advisable to tap with one hand (it doesn’t matter which), and specifically with your index and middle fingers together.

Tap solidly for approximately 5-7 taps, but not so hard that you hurt or injure yourself. You want to feel the pressure on the meridian points as you tap; this will come naturally with practice.

The following tapping points are done in sequence every time, and are repeated until the tapping session is over (generally until you start to feel better). [4]

Top of the Head

The first point is on the top of your head, tapping the crown of the head. This can be done with either hand, depending on your preference.[5]

    Eyebrows

    Then, move into tapping the very beginning of your eyebrow, where it’s closer to the nose. Again, this can be done with either hand.[6]

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      Side of the Eye

      Move over to the side of your eye (whichever one), and tap on the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.

        Under the Eye

        Then, move under the same eye and tap the bone directly underneath.

          Under the Nose

          Move down slightly to the area between the bottom of your nose and your upper lip, and tap solidly there.

            Chin

            Then, move down to the area between the bottom of your lower lip and the bony part of your chin, and tap solidly there.

              Collar Bone

              From your chin, move down to the U-shaped notch directly below the throat (generally where a man would fix his tie); move over to the collarbone and slightly below, where it’s not on the bone itself. Tap this area solidly with either hand.

              Under the Arm

              From your collarbone, reach down under the arm and solidly tap the area even with the nipple. For women, this is the middle of the bra strap.[7]

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                The Outside of the Hand

                Lastly, tap the outside of the hand, slightly below the pinky finger, on the cushion of the side of the hand.[8]

                  What To Say While You Tap

                  Once you know where and how to tap, it’s time to tune into what you’re struggling with.

                  Bring to mind an issue or an emotion that you’re dealing with, and tune into how this feels, and what it is. The more attuned you are to it, versus simply trying to push it away, the more it can rise to the surface to be processed and worked through with the help of EFT.

                  The typical EFT phrase template is:

                  Even though I have this _______, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

                  By filling in the blank as to whatever you’re struggling with, repeat this phrase as you tap onto each meridian point.

                  The benefit of saying this phrase is to not only release it from your physical and energetic body by saying it loud, but also by accepting the problem you’re with.

                  For many of us, denial and dismissal of problems and struggles leads to the festering of that problem, until we’re sick and diseased with trying to keep it all in. What EFT does is give that problem an outlet and a recognition, reminding us that we are not defined by our struggles. In the face of them, we still accept ourselves as we are.

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                  Some examples of phrases that you may use are:

                  • Even though I am scared of this test, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I am scared to be judged, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I am angry at her, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I feel this pain in my body, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

                  How long you tap is entirely up to you. For some, 10-15 minutes is an average amount of time spent tapping. Doing it when you wake up first thing in the morning can help you set the tone of the day, and enter your tasks at hand with a little more space and ease. However, when you tap is still generally up to you.

                  When you’re done, simply sit in stillness and notice how you feel – both physically, emotionally, and energetically. You will likely start to notice a bit more rest and relaxation, as well as disconnect from the problem or struggle that you’ve been dealing with.

                  This is the energetic shift of the energy in the meridian points, and the true magic behind the EFT technique. Come back to it in practice whenever you need it.

                  Final Thoughts

                  The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as Tapping, is an alternative and holistic method by which to tap onto meridian points of the body, to restore balance in the wake of negative emotions or physical pain.

                  By giving your problems a voice and an outlet, and by tapping while speaking, you’re cutting off the negative chain of reactions in the body, and bringing yourself back to homeostasis – all with the simple power of a finger tap.

                  Long rooted in the history and power of acupuncture and Eastern medicine, EFT is a tool free to use by anyone, with healing effects proven to be simple and profound.

                  More Calming Techniques

                  Featured photo credit: Noah Silliman via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Healthline: What is EFT Tapping?
                  [2] Thriving Now: History of Tapping (Including EFT)
                  [3] The Tapping Solution Foundation: What is Tapping and How Does it Work?
                  [4] EFT: Basic Steps to your Emotional Freedom
                  [5] Body Wisdom Nutrition: What are the EFT Tapping points?
                  [6] Harper’s Bazaar: A beginner’s guide to Tapping, a self-help tool to help manage anxiety
                  [7] Hopes Holistic Health: Emotional Freedom Techniques
                  [8] Beth Tuttle: EFT Tapping Points

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                  Aleksandra Slijepcevic

                  Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

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                  Last Updated on December 2, 2019

                  10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                  10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                  Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

                  In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

                  These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

                  1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

                  Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

                  But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

                  Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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                  2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

                  You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

                  The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

                  3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

                  If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

                  Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

                  If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

                  4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

                  Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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                  To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

                  In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

                  5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

                  We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

                  If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

                  Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

                  “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

                  6. Give for the Joy of Giving

                  When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

                  One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

                  So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

                  7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

                  Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

                  Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

                  8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

                  When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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                  So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

                  9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

                  Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

                  It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

                  It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

                  10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

                  There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

                  But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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                  Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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                  Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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