There are only ever 2 MAIN THINGS that I recommend when people come to me looking for help.
It doesn't matter what they need help with! These 2 things combined together work hand-in-hand and do wonders for pretty much every life situation you could face. Those 2 things are Master Your Mind and EFT/Tapping.
Tapping is something you can learn and do at home on your own.
So many people in my community have asked me to share more about Tapping, after hearing me repeatedly rave on and on about how much I love it, and how I partner it together with Master Your Mind for beautiful results.
Finally… I've put together this article for you including my own personal understanding of tapping and my own personal experience using it. This is based on much reading, studying, watching, learning and applying tapping over many years… for both myself and my coaching/program clients.
Let's dive in…
Why I'm Such a Raving Fan of Tapping
First up – there are a few reasons I'm a big advocate of tapping.
It's simple, it's effective in so many situations, it can be used by anyone, it can be (in many cases) quite quick to create some degree of positive change.
But there are 2 other more important reasons that I'll sing the praises of tapping until the day I die! LOL!
First, many healing techniques/modalities that I've seen will create positive changes to a certain degree, but seem to fall over when it comes to really sticky issues. Usually where strong emotions are involved and/or with deeply ingrained belief patterns. Tapping, from my personal viewpoint, is a great tool to also shift those “sticky” issues, as a beautiful complement to all other techniques/modalities. I love that it can be integrated with almost anything else you're doing.
Second, IT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO HELP THEMSELVES. It puts the tool in your hands, so you can use it whenever you want, wherever you want, for the rest of your life.
Seriously… I wish they would teach this in ALL schools! There are multiple great tapping books for kids now, and in some progressive schools they are teaching it to kids!
I Want YOU to Be Empowered to Help Yourself
I started out my coaching and healing journey, like most practitioners, wanting to help people.
One of the ways I did that originally was to learn a particular energy healing modality.
I had clients coming to me to do energy work for them. It was great. But then I noticed something…
The clients NEEDED me.
They relied on me to “do the energy work TO THEM”.
They knew they couldn't help themselves, unless they went and trained in energy healing. And most of them were not the least bit interested in going through all of that. They just wanted to feel better (psychologically, emotionally or physically).
I realized that people kept coming to me with another version of an issue, to get it “fixed” and that this pattern would just repeat and leave them powerless to help themselves.
My mission when I started out as a Transformation Life Coach was definitely NOT to create a community of people who relied on me and needed me to “fix them”.
My mission was to help people to free themselves. True self-help. Enabling people with the insights, wisdom, tools and tips they could use for the rest of their lives, whenever they needed, to be empowered to help themselves.
Sure – we all need other people to help us from time to time. And I myself have relied on lots of wise, incredible healers, mentors, spiritual guides and clinical specialists along the way to leverage me forward. But I've always found the power was in LEARNING FROM THEM, so I could then help myself in future.
In my view, tapping is one of the simplest and most effective tools that people can learn, as a way they can help themselves. That's why I rave about it, and that's why I share it with all my coaching clients, and help them to integrate it into their self-help toolkit.
So let's dive in – and discover all about tapping and how it can help you too.
The Problems We Face
Life can be challenging at times, right?!
The experience of being human is complex!
No matter where we live, what age we are, or our circumstances, life involves all sorts of hurdles that we have to learn how to navigate so we can feel well, happy and free.
Some of those challenges include things like:
- Limiting beliefs
- Negative thought patterns
- Difficult emotions
- Physical pain and health challenges
- Behaviors that cause issues (habits, patterns, addictions etc)
- Trauma from the past that lingers and affects life in the present moment
And as a result of all the above types of common experiences, as human beings we do all sorts of things to try to cope.
We're often not taught how to change our negative beliefs and thoughts, or how to release and reset our emotions in a healthy way. Nor are we taught how to help our body heal, or how to understand and rewire our behaviors, or how to let go of the past so we can be free!
As you probably know, over time, the build up of your past and present challenges (such as those listed above), can become too much. Even when our coping mechanisms kick in, it may still feel like we're sinking under the weight of the challenges.
BUT… is coping the best we can hope for?
Coping is what we do when we don't have any other option or a possible path forward.
The true answer isn't coping so we can survive, but instead healing so we can thrive!
This is where tapping comes in! It's a wonderful technique to help support healing at all levels by reducing stress response and activating calm.
A Solution – EFT Tapping
I'll tell you right now, when I discovered tapping and gave it a proper go… I proclaimed, “Where has this been all my life?!!”
Seriously… I had seen and done almost everything in terms of personal growth. That's because I'm super passionate about exploring myself and life. And, because at times I've been seeking answers to free myself – from stress, anxiety, fear, past memories and physical pain.
I'd done personal growth programs, clinical psychology sessions, traditional mind management techniques, hypnosis, energy healing, spiritual practises, meditation and more.
And all of those things are awesome and super helpful, but NOTHING has ever blown my mind like tapping has.
And not just because of how it helped me. But because it's been instrumental as a tool that has helped coaching clients achieve better results for themselves.
Tapping is like the thing that makes all other approaches better! Tapping can be used on any topic, for any issue, in any situation, with anyone. It can complement whatever other approaches you might be using. Simply add tapping to your self-help toolkit.
EFT Tapping – What is it?
The official name for tapping is actually EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).
Tapping is a common nickname as it refers to the actual process of using our fingers to “tap” on particular meridian points on our body. We'll talk about the actual tapping process (what and how) in a moment.
But first, where did EFT come from?
How it Originated
So EFT as it's officially called was sort of “stumbled upon” in the 80's when a psychologist was working with a client who had a long standing intense phobia of water.
When the client explained something about their phobia as being an uncomfortable pain/feeling they were having in a certain body part, it prompted the psychologist (Dr Roger Callahan) to think “outside the box”.
He had been studying chinese medicine and learning about meridian points on various parts of the body, and how meridian points are used for acupuncture. He got the client to tap repeatedly on a particular meridian point to see if it would alleviate the issue in their body. The result shocked both of them.
Not only did the tapping release the uncomfortable physical sensation, but the client no longer was afraid of the water! After years of intense therapy for her phobia, all of a sudden something shifted.
Dr Callahan went on to create the original form of tapping, which was known then as Thought Field Therapy (TFT).
Later, a man called Gary Craig, who had worked with Dr Callahan, went on to refine the technique and created Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). This system of EFT (commonly called “tapping”) is now used all over the world.
It is still considered by many to be “new age” and alternative, but there is an ever increasing body of research and results that support the effectiveness of tapping in helping people to reduce stress response, create calm, and more effectively create positive changes in what they believe, think, feel and do.
And ultimately, as with all things available to us in this world, I encourage you to make up your own mind about tapping and the value it might offer to your life, by trying it for yourself.
Who Can Use It?
Everyone, including you! It is easy to learn and simple to use.
So long as you are capable of taking personal responsibility for your wellbeing, choices and actions, and how you use tapping, then it's a wonderful technique to learn and start using.
Many people learn it online and apply it self-guided. And for more difficult, complex, challenging issues sometimes people reach out to experienced tapping practitioners who help guide individuals through the tapping process (this is particularly appropriate and definitely strongly recommended where serious issues are involved, including trauma).
The great news is… no matter where you are and who you are, you have access online to free tapping resources to learn all about it and to use in your daily life if you wish. And, if you need support from an experienced practitioner to guide you through more complicated issues, there are tapping experts worldwide. You can simply search in your local community to find someone in-person on-the-ground to support you, or online support.
IMPORTANT – Tapping is not a replacement in any way for the care and treatment provided by professional mental health practitioners or medical doctors. It is a complementary approach. If you are under the care of any health professionals (including but not limited to psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, counselors or doctors) it is strongly advised that you consult with them first regarding how tapping might fit with your needs. If you are struggling with your health (mental, emotional and/or physical), tapping is not a substitute for seeking advice and support of registered healthcare professionals.
How Does Tapping Work?
While tapping may seem to have taken the world by storm over the last few decades as a simple and powerful self-help technique to support peace and wellbeing, it is based on Eastern principles that have been around for thousands of years.
You're about to discover how tapping on meridian points on your body creates an effect that has some similarities to the long-standing practises of acupuncture and acupressure.
Your body has channels of energy flowing within it, called meridian lines.
Gary Craig, the founder of the original EFT, suggests that:
“… the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body's energy system.”
So while it's very obvious that you get TRIGGERED into difficult emotions by things going on around you or within your own mind, the way EFT (tapping) works is by acknowledging that the real underlying issue is the disruption that takes place within the body's energy system. So to create emotional freedom, we have to learn how to reset that energy in our bodies.
How do we reset that energy?
Well, along these meridian lines of energy in your body, are meridian points. These meridian points are simply places on your body where the energy flows past. And, by stimulating those meridian points with tapping (literally tapping with your fingers on specific points on your body), you are creating a change in the energy inside your body!
But HOW does it actually create that change?
In the simplest way of describing it…
When we stimulate the meridian points on our body with tapping, our body sends a calming message to our brain.
You see our brains have a gland called the amygdala. Crudely put, it's job is to manage our fear/stress response. I personally think of it like a switch. When it's “on” your brain and body go into fight/flight mode. When it's “off” your brain and body go into relaxation response.
It's a great little gland! Because when we're actually in danger or under threat, and we SHOULD be fearful, that amygdala gland helps us to get ready to flee or fight. It helps us to appropriately take care of ourselves. That function in our brain is awesome.
The common example used to explain it's purpose, is this little gland is what helped the primitive human save themselves if they were being chased by a tiger! The fear response would kick in, meaning… get ready to fight or flee!
But, what is NOT awesome is this… modern day life is so challenging, that SO many things trigger us into fear/stress response, and our little amygdala glands are “on the job” constantly alerting us to “danger”.
But we're not truly or literally under threat yet our brains and bodies react as if we are!
- An upsetting memory from the past comes to mind = fear/stress response.
- A difficult logistical circumstances in our life right now (money, job, relationships, health scare) = fear/stress response.
- Limiting beliefs and negative thoughts that drag us down= fear/stress response.
- Difficult emotions cycling over and over, causing more and more upset = more fear/stress response.
So we need a SIMPLE WAY to help our brains and bodies to understand we are not in danger, that there is no real threat, and that it is okay to be calm.
We want to do this so we can get freedom from our emotions, in order to have healthy, balanced, flowing energy inside our bodies… all of which leads us to be our best selves in day to day life. From calm we are more capable of making good decisions, taking effective action and living our best life.
But How Does Energy in My Body Relate to My Actual Issues?!
With any challenge in your life, it can be boiled back down to your emotional response to that challenge. And one big word… STRESS!
Remember all those types of common life challenges we talked about at the top of this article, well let's look at each one and how your emotional response to those challenges and stress plays a BIG part…
No matter what happened in your past that you want relief from, it's an emotional shift you're seeking.
No matter what is happening in your present, it's emotional relief you're seeking, at least so you can be calm, composed and effective in whatever action needs to be taken to create positive change.
No matter what your limiting beliefs and negative thoughts might be, they create difficult emotions. While there are lots of powerful ways to change your beliefs and thoughts, and they are highly effective, sometimes the flow on emotions can be so strong that they block your ability to create complete and lasting change in those belief and thought patterns. So releasing those emotions is often a gateway to breaking through when it comes to changing “sticky” ingrained beliefs and thought patterns.
No matter what your behavioral habits, patterns/tendencies, you are always in some type of emotional state when you make choices, behave that way and take action. Your emotions often incline you toward those choices and behaviors, or in some cases they DRIVE you. It's like you're on auto-pilot and playing out your pattern even though you consciously don't want to. Your emotional state isn't conducive to helping you make good choices. Sound familiar?
No matter why is going on in your physical health/body, have you ever noticed that when you have something “go wrong” in your body, it rears up emotions? You get worried, stressed, fearful, anxious or frustrated. And on the flip side, have you ever noticed that when you're having intense difficult emotions, or sustained uncomfortable emotions over time, that sometimes your body starts reacting in strange ways?
So in all ways our emotions are a vital part of every challenge we face. Whether it's a challenge in our own beliefs/thoughts, or a challenge in our body, or a challenge in our life situation.
(NOTE: This doesn't mean that emotions are the only issue to address when facing the above types of challenges. But they are a vital component to address to support healing and positive change).
So your actual life issues are triggering emotions, and emotions are energetic…
Emotions are E-Motion…. ENERGY IN MOTION!
When you have emotions, the energy in your body changes.
If you're caught up in difficult emotions, the energy in your body is disrupted.
If you want freedom from those emotions, you need to reset the energy in your body and RELEASE STRESS. And tapping helps with this, by signalling your brain/body to calm.
What is the Tapping Process?
Tapping is a combination of this ancient Eastern approach to energy, combined with modern psychology.
The process of tapping involves naming a specific issue you're experiencing, talking about it in a methodical way, while simultaneously using your fingers to gently tap on a sequence of meridian points on your body.
The team at The Tapping Solution have done a wonderful job of pulling together important information about tapping. They are my “go to” resource for all things tapping.
And here is what I've seen in my own experience personally with tapping, as well as observing what coaching clients over the years have experienced…
There is a difference between simply talking through an issue, creating perspective changes and action plans, VERSUS talking through an issue while also tapping, releasing the emotional intensity and stress response, resetting the energy in the body, cementing the perspective changes, and then following through with action plans!
Why is that?
Well, a research study showed that a 1-hour long tapping session generated an average level of cortisol reduction (a hormone secreted when the body is under stress) of 24%. In the research trial this compared with no significant cortisol reduction in the subjects who underwent 1-hour of traditional talk therapy.
If you're interested in reading more about scientific research, I found this online article below was helpful in my own journey of understanding. It satisfied my nerdy mind which always looks for evidence and asks, “Why? How?!”
So, you might be itching to get into this tapping thing you've heard so much about.
And it's important to learn the basics before you get started.
In my experience, the people who say they don't “get” tapping, it doesn't make sense to them, or they don't get the results they want, are usually the people who haven't learned the basics properly.
The technique can pay you back if you give invest a little bit of time upfront to understand it.
Once you learn it, it's a tool for life! And that tool is in your own hands.
Listen to Jessica Ortner from The Tapping Solution in this short video below to learn about these tapping points and how they are used in the tapping process.
The Basic Process
While there are different ways to use the tapping to effect results, based on the unique context of an individual's needs, there is a basic tapping process that holds true as the core foundation for anyone starting out with tapping.
Remember the CORE PURPOSE – We tap on the meridian points on the body while focusing on/talking about the problem and associated difficult feelings, and it sends a calming signal to the amygdala in the brain, which helps to reduce and release the emotional intensity.
- Identify your Most Pressing Issue (MPI) that needs releasing (the issue and how you feel about it). Be very specific.
- Now notice how strong that feels in your body/mind. How intense is it on a scale of 1-10 (1 being lowest, 10 being highest)?
Then start the tapping sequence as below…
(1) Tap on the karate chop point of your hand while saying this Set Up Statement 3 times – “Even though I _______________________ (insert your MPI), I deeply and completely accept myself”
(2) Then you will tap on the 8 other meridian points in the order below, while repeating a reminder phrase about the issue e.g. “this anger I feel” or “this stress I'm going through” or just talking to yourself generally about the issue, venting/vocalizing any thoughts and feelings you're having about it. Normally this equates to tapping about 6-8 times on each meridian point. (You can tap on either the left or right side of your body, whatever feels comfortable)…
- Inside of the brow (where eyebrow begins)
- On outside of the eye (hard area between eye and temple)
- Just under the eye (below the soft tissue, on the bone)
- Under the nose
- Under bottom lip (crease of the chin)
- Just below collarbone (just below and to the side of the u-shaped bone at the base of your neck)
- Side of body under the arm, a few inches below armpit
- Crown of the head
Continue tapping through the 8 points listed above, while repeating a reminder phrase about your issue until you begin to feel some relief and more calm.
(3) Pause, take a deep breath, and ask yourself again – in relation to my Most Pressing Issue (MPI), how do I now feel? How intense is the emotion? Rate it 1-10 again. We aim to reduce intensity down to a 2-3 out of 10 rating or lower. If you rate it a 4 or above, continue tapping using the above process.
(4) Once your intensity has dropped to 2-3 or below, we finish this round of tapping by continuing to tap around the 8 points on the body but instead now we focus on saying new and empowering perspectives which pave a positive path forward. For example, “I choose to let this go now”, “I am willing to see this differently”, “It's safe to let this go”, “I love and accept myself”, “I choose to be calm and at peace”… or any new statement that feels good to you.
Summary of the Process
BEFORE – Preparation
- Name your Most Pressing Issue and be as specific as possible
- Rate it 1-10
- Say your “Set Up Statement” 3 times while tapping the karate chop point on your hand (Even though I __________ (insert issue), I deeply and completely accept myself)
- Repeat a reminder phrase about the issue over and over as you tap through the 8 body points, venting it out (I call this “tapping out the negative”) until the issue/emotion reduces in intensity down to 2-3/10 or below.
- Once the intensity has reduced, start to repeat new perspectives about letting go and moving forward as you tap through the 8 body points (I call this “tapping in the positive”)
My Emotional Intensity Isn't Reducing, I'm Stuck!
While this rarely happens that you would have no relief at all, on the occasions it does, it's usually because of a couple of reasons.
- The issue that you're tapping on isn't really the issue that you're most upset about in that moment. Something else might be going on and you'll usually be able to roughly pinpoint the true issue if you ask yourself, “What's really bothering me most? What am I thinking about right now?” If you don't have an answer to these prompts, you're probably going to feel frustrated! So, tap on that! As this will often help you to get calmer and get clarity.
- Or, sometimes another reason you may not get relief is that the issue you're tapping on is too general and you're not being specific enough. For example, “I'm stressed” might the issue you've been tapping on. Whereas, the real issue in specific detail might be, “I'm stressed out because I don't have enough support from my family and it's like no one cares about me.”
OR – If you do get some relief from tapping on the issue, and the emotional intensity rating 1-10 does reduce down, BUT it still isn't as low as 2-3 out of 10 rating, simply do another round of tapping on the same issue, updating your Set Up Statement to reflect where you're at. For example “Even though I still feel some remaining _______ (insert the emotion) about ______ (insert the issue), I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Other Issues Start Coming Up…
While in the middle of tapping on one specific issue, or after you've finished a round of tapping on an issue, and you're getting some relief from that issue/emotion, you might notice other new distressing things arise!
For example – other thoughts, worries, concerns, difficult emotions, upset, memories, insights, issues start to creep into your awareness.
This is very common and to be expected.
Sometimes tapping is little bit like peeling back the layers of an onion – as each round of tapping completes it's like removing a layer, and uncovering something that lays below it. So it's very possible as you tap on an issue and resolve it, new issues might arise. Sometimes those issues will be things you are already aware of, sometimes they will be completely new things you haven't clearly seen or voiced before.
If another issue does arise in this way (while you're busy tapping on something else, or just after you've finished a round of tapping), then either begin tapping on the newly arising issue next, or simply keep a list of what is coming up, and work through them one by one.
To start tapping on the new issue, simply follow the entire tapping process again from beginning to end (starting at point 1 above “Even though I _________________(insert new issue/emotion) I deeply and completely accept myself.”)
I'm Worried I'm Doing it Wrong
At first the above process can feel a bit awkward or confusing, simply because it's new.
But if you follow along the process and vocalize the issue while tapping, you're doing great!
It's a bit like riding a bike, once you get used to how to do it, it becomes second nature 🙂
Don't worry too much about what to say. People often get very concerned that they aren't saying the “right” things, and worry that the tapping won't work for them.
But you'll always have something to say, by either a) repeatedly saying what is bothering you, repeating the reminder phrase about your most pressing issue over and over again as you tap or b) just letting yourself talk out the issue with whatever comes to mind.
I Don't Want to Focus on My Issue, Isn't That Reinforcing Negativity?
Some people find it difficult to voice what they're really thinking and feeling when it's of a “negative” nature, because of fear that focusing on it will only reinforce it and make it worse.
The self-help industry is pretty well known for saying “don't focus on negativity, focus on positivity”.
But tapping is the time when you absolutely 100% want to name the issue, vocalize it WHILE simultaneously tapping on it (so you can reduce the emotional intensity and signal to your brain/body to be calm in relation to that issue). This is done as a TEMPORARY focus in order to create relief, before moving on to vocalize positive new statements to complete the tapping process.
Sadly, one of the issues people have is that they try to be positive, while not addressing the root cause “negative” issue. And as such, in some situations, they simply don't get results.
If you are tapping while talking out the issue (per above) you are not going to reinforce negativity. You are going to help your mind and body to release the issue.
If You Get Confused, Keep It Simple
Often when an experienced tapping practitioner is guiding a tapping session, you will see in videos and programs that they are very clever at guiding a person through vocalizing their issues, releasing it, seeing it differently and saying empowering new perspectives to finish off the tapping round.
That's awesome! However, when you first start out tapping on your own, doing self-guided practise at home, it's easy to get lost in thinking you have to be do it “right” like the experts.
When in fact, the truth is that you can simply “tap out the negative” by repeating one simple reminder phrase of your issue over and over again (e.g this anger I feel, all this anger, I'm so angry, this anger I feel) and then once calmer you finish off by repeating one simple positive statement to close (e.g I let this go now, I'm letting it go, letting all this anger go now, choosing to let it all go).
Once you get familiar with the Set Up Statement used at the start (while tapping on the karate chop hand point) and the location of the 8 body points, you can easily tap on anything at all.
Set up, tap out the negative, tap in the positive!
The Facts that Made all the Difference for Me
When I REALLY “got” tapping and understood it's power, it was because I finally understood 1 really important thing about why it works.
I share this point with you below, in case it helps you too.
Tapping doesn't just help to release emotions about an issue in the moment when you're tapping, as temporary relief. It helps to create a lasting shift – for emotional freedom.
After all, it wouldn't be that helpful if we had to tap on an issue every time it came up and we only got relief in that moment, waiting for the next time that issue rears its ugly head!
Instead, here is what research suggests is likely to be happening, regarding WHY tapping helps us to truly be free of an issue…
Not only does tapping help the brain and body to calm in relation to a specific issue (by sending a signal to the amygdala gland), but it also apparently has a helpful impact on another part of the brain called the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is where we store memories, past knowledge, experiences. So when we talk about an issue, while tapping at the same time, and our amygdala responds by reducing our stress response to that issue, our hippocampus “records” that the issue has been raised and talked about WITHOUT a stress response!
This trains our mind to a “new normal” in terms of how we have responded to this issue. We now have recorded experience of thinking about and talking about this issue without the same emotional intensity involved.
When you're starting out with tapping, here is what I always highlight as helpful tips to remember…
- Don't get caught up on “am I doing it right?” 🙂 If you're talking it out and tapping and you feel some emotional relief at the end, you're doing great.
- Allow yourself freedom to say whatever comes up in your thoughts and feelings while you're tapping!
- Always speak the words out loud (not inside your own mind).
- Follow the process and practise it for a couple of weeks (e.g set a little project for yourself to tap every night for 5-10 minutes on whatever issue feels most pressing that day). Doing the tapping regularly when you first start out helps it to become familiar, and then it's much easier to remember the process anytime you need to use it.
- One issue is one round of tapping. Focus on ONE issue at a time.
- Be really specific with that issue. e.g avoid tapping on big umbrella issues. Instead drill down to the individual aspects. (e.g “I'm afraid” is not as specific and useful as “I'm afraid that I'm not good enough at my new job and I fear losing my job”)
- See it through to the end, don't stop part way. If you start a round of tapping and don't allow yourself to complete it, you don't get the full benefit.
- List all the individual “aspects” of your issue/s, and tap on each one. If you release each aspect, you get greater results. For example, the umbrella issue might be stress at work. The individual aspects of that issue, and you would tap on each one separately, might be stress at work because of someone bullying you, plus at the same time having stress at work because the workload is too high and management don't seem to care, plus worry that your stress levels from work are affecting your health, plus tension in your relationship at home because you're always staying late at work to try and keep up with the workload. The more you drill down to individual issues/emotions, and address each one, usually the quicker you get relief.
- Be organised and methodical – keep a list of the issues you want to tap on, write down the ratings 1-10 before and after tapping on each issue, and check off your progress as you go. It not only helps you to keep track of what you're doing, but also it is gives a sense of great personal satisfaction!
- Be proactive to clear your list of past/existing issues you know you want to have emotional freedom from (making time in your routine for tapping. Remember – tapping can only help you if you prioritize doing it).
- If anything else new arises in daily life that is troubling you, tap right there in that moment to address it in real-time.
- A great guided Tapping resource to support you (just tap along!) is “The Tapping Solution App” created by the Ortners from The Tapping Solution. You can download the App and get started right away with 30+ free tapping meditations.