As we bid farewell to an unusually stressful year, all of us are looking forward to a fresh start in 2021. But with so much uncertainty still in the air, keeping up with a daily well-being routine will be essential in the coming months.
Healthy routines like exercise, meditation, prayer, mindfulness, breathwork, journaling, and/or soothing rituals add consistency and structure to our lives. When practiced regularly, they can also help us reduce stress and build emotional resilience.
Perhaps you already have a daily well-being routine, or maybe you’re looking to create one in the coming year. Whatever your situation, I strongly recommend you consider adding Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or “tapping” to your list of go-to’s.
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a stress-relief tool that combines elements of traditional Chinese medicine and acupressure with cognitive behavioral therapy. Simply put, it involves tapping on your body’s meridian points while being mindful of your thoughts, emotions, or sensations.
In my experience as a mindfulness coach, I’ve found EFT to be a helpful tool for shifting negative feelings or thoughts, creating positive emotional states, and attaining desired goals. While a certified practitioner will help you get the most out of this method, the basic EFT practice is easy to pick up and do yourself.
Here’s a quick 5-step primer on how to get started:
- Identify the problem: It could be a negative thought, bad habit, or recurring anxiety. The more specific you can be with the problem, the better.
- Rate the intensity of your problem: Assign it a number on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest level of distress and 0 being no distress at all.
- Create a setup statement: This will combine a negative phrase with a positive one. For example, “Even though I am stressed out about all I have to do today, I deeply and completely accept how I feel” or “Even though my to-do list makes me feel anxious, I choose to feel at ease.”
- Start tapping at the hand and move your way out: Repeat your setup statement three times while tapping what’s known as the karate chop point—the outer part of your hand between your wrist and your pinkie finger—using two to three fingers and moderate pressure. Then, tap six to eight times on each of the points in the following order using reminder phrases—brief summaries of your setup statement—as you tap: top of head, eyebrow, side of eye, under eye, under nose, chin, collarbone, underarm. (Here is a diagram of these points.)
- Re-evaluate: After a couple of rounds of tapping, take a deep breath, and re-evaluate your problem’s intensity level. If you can, keep tapping until your distress levels are below a 2 on the 0 to 10 scale.
How to incorporate EFT into your daily routine.
Tapping can be used as a stand-alone wellness practice or tacked onto your existing practices. Here are some examples of how to use it at any time of day.
Tapping is an excellent way to start off your morning on a good note and set positive intentions for the day. I often use it prior to my meditation practice because it also helps me clear and calm my mind in preparation for meditation. Here are some examples of setup statements you can use as you tap in the morning:
- “Even though I have so much to do today, I choose to feel motivated and at ease.”
- “Even though yesterday wasn’t great, I’m ready to start fresh today.”
- “Even though I have a lot on my mind today, I choose to remove any obstacles that stand between me and my inner peace.”
- “Even though there’s so much I have to deal with today, I choose to have compassion for myself and others.”
While setting intentions for your day is worthwhile, sometimes life happens and throws things off course.
For example, something might trigger you in the middle of the day and cause you to feel irritated—even if your morning intention was to be more patient. When this happens, you can use EFT to self-regulate and reset. Here are some setup statements you can use to work through any unexpected negativity, whenever it arises:
- “Even though I got triggered by (name the situation or person) and now I feel (name your emotion), I accept myself and how I feel.”
- “Even though I failed to lead according to my intention and I feel like a failure, I am open to having compassion for myself.”
- “Even though I feel (name emotion) because (this happened), I choose to let it go now and reset.”
Tapping can be very calming, making it a good habit to get into before bed. If I’m doing an EFT practice at night, I prefer to make it the last thing I do that evening. Once you’re lying in bed, if there are any unresolved issues you didn’t get a chance to address during the day, tap on those first. Otherwise, you can tap on variations of the following statements:
- “Even though I have so much to do, I deserve a good night’s sleep.”
- “Even though I feel restless, I choose to calm my mind and body now.”
- “Even though I worry too much, I choose to put my worries and fears on the shelf for now and give my mind and body a break.”
- “Even though I have so many decisions to make and I can’t stop thinking about them, I choose to put them on hold for now and think about them tomorrow.”
- “Even though there’s always more things to do and more things to worry about, I choose to lift some of that weight off my shoulders now.”
Tapping at night can be stimulating for some people. If this is you, instead of tapping on the meridian points, you can simply put slight pressure on them with your fingers and take a breath at each point. For advanced EFT-ers, mental tapping is another good option: Simply tap on all the points using your imagination!
Whether you are considering implementing a new well-being routine or enhancing your existing one in 2021, I hope you give tapping a try.
Originally Published: www.mindbodygreen.com