You might have heard of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) before. Also known as tapping, this is a process where you tap on various points in the upper body to release stuck energy and interrupt unhelpful thought patterns.
The points are along the meridian lines, the energy channels that we talk about a lot in traditional Chinese medicine. If you’re enrolled on our Facial Gua Sha Teacher Training course, you’ll have learnt more about the meridian lines and the importance of allowing energy to flow freely along them. EFT is another technique to unblock stagnant energy.
EFT is also proven to benefit our brains. In clinical trials, EFT was found to alleviate anxiety and depression, improve pain associated with chronic diseases, and reduce the symptoms of PTSD.
I’ve used EFT at various points – in fact, I’ve done my EFT Level 1 training so I’m always thrilled to be reminded of the power of this simple tool to reduce stress and help us process difficult emotions.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I’m passionate about wellness rituals that can easily be integrated into our everyday routines. I’m a believer in the power of daily habits and the difference they can make in our lives.
This is the approach to EFT advocated by Poppy Delbridge, founder of Rapid Tapping, which is based on EFT. Poppy teaches techniques that can be used every day to release self-limiting ideas and help you achieve your goals.
Poppy and I got together on Instagram not long ago for a live session on EFT and how it can be used to reduce stress. If you missed our original chat, you can catch up via my YouTube channel here.
The exercise Poppy took me through was so simple and took just twenty minutes, but it had a noticeable effect on something I’ve been struggling with. In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through the steps we used, so you can try the technique for yourself.
This is an opportunity to step aside from the busyness of everyday life and think about what you want to release and what you would like to call into your life.
EFT is well-known for its ability to help us overcome stress and anxiety quickly. Poppy is also interested in using her version of EFT, Rapid Tapping, to create new possibilities. She uses tapping to move us into the manifestation mindset, shifting unconscious and self-limiting beliefs so we can achieve our goals.
Poppy starts her sessions with some intention setting, which becomes the jumping-off point for the rest of the work.
I’m going to use myself as an example throughout this post to demonstrate what this looks like in practice. Your goals and barriers will look different to mine, of course, so please adapt this as needed to suit your own circumstances.
Start by thinking of a goal you are working on, something you want to manifest in your life, or an affirmation you are currently using.
I chose to work with an affirmation, one I use regularly as an intention for my life. It is “I am happy, healthy, and relaxed”.
With this in mind, take some time to examine that goal or intention and make a mental list of the barriers that might prevent you from achieving it.
In my case, two immediate barriers are being a mother and running my business. Now, I love my children very much and my business is work that aligns wholeheartedly with my soul purpose. But the sheer busyness of being a mother to two young girls and also running a business and managing a team can sometimes get in the way of me being healthy, happy, and relaxed.
As you think of the barriers that are standing in the way of you achieving your own goals, start to notice what emotions come up around them. What feelings do you associate with these hurdles?
The clearest emotion that comes through for me is a sense of overwhelm. Even though I am so passionate about my family and my work, it still feels like a lot sometimes.
Focus in on the Emotions
Once you have an idea of what emotions are associated with your own barriers, it is time to focus on those feelings.
This is something I struggled with for years. I was caught in that toxic positivity mindset, thinking that if I just forced myself always to be positive and push any negative emotions away, positive things would happen.
Moving away from that mindset has been a real focus of mine in the last couple of years. I’ve learnt to sit with negative emotions. I now concentrate on acknowledging them and working through them, so I can clear them instead of squashing them down.
This is also a core part of EFT. It may feel uncomfortable to allow those negative emotions in, but I promise you’ll see the benefits.
Find a comfortable place to sit, with your feet resting on the floor. Cross your hands over your heart and breathe easily. Close your eyes and just spend a few moments noticing the physical sensations.
Now, start to zone in on the feelings, running through the memories, thoughts, and experiences that connect to them in your mind.
You may even notice physical signs of the emotion coming up in your body.
When you have a strong sense of the feelings, open your eyes. Keeping your hands crossed over, bring them up to your collarbones and then start to massage down your chest until you come to places where it feels a bit sore.
Continue to massage these spots while you describe the feelings and physical sensations that came up for you. You can speak out loud, even if you are on your own – sometimes it helps to articulate things in words.
For me, when I focus on that sense of overwhelm, I feel a shortness of breath and a heaviness in my head. I also have this sense of rushing – my thoughts speed up, my breath speeds up, and I feel like I need to move and speak faster.
Give the intensity of this feeling a score out of 10, where 10 is the most intense.
Acknowledge and Validate the Feeling
The next step is to name and validate how you are feeling, ideally out loud. You can use a different form of words, but a helpful format to use is the one Poppy gave me, with my answers in brackets – substitute these for your own responses:
“I feel [overwhelm]. I feel it in my body as [quickness and shortness of breath] because [I like to achieve a lot in my day and sometimes I take on too much].”
Sit with that for a moment. Allow it to be OK. Say to yourself “I choose to love and accept myself anyway and it is possible for me to [your goal/affirmation – e.g. be happy, healthy, and relaxed].”
Using all your fingertips, begin tapping between your eyebrows. After a few seconds, move to your temples, then your cheekbones. Move down to the sides of your chin and onto your collarbone, then up to the crown of your head.
Return to your eyebrows. Keep tapping through these points as you continue to validate your feelings out loud. Speak slowly, clearly, and with confidence.
The exact words you use will depend on what you are feeling and what you hope to achieve. Poppy had me repeat phrases after her. I’m giving you that script here so you have an idea of what this looks like – don’t forget to adapt it to your situation.
“All this overwhelm, shortness of breath, so much to do.
And I’m always motivated.
But sometimes that can be difficult for me and it makes me feel tired.
All these goals I have make me feel tired sometimes because I’m a human being.
Sometimes I’ll get tired and overwhelmed.
And even though I don’t like that much, I know it’s OK to take a break”
Continuing to tap, start to refocus on your goals or affirmation as you speak. Again, here’s an example from my session with Poppy:
“I know there’s a possibility that I can feel happy, healthy, and relaxed.
I choose to feel happy, healthy, and relaxed.
I choose to feel happy, healthy, and relaxed.
I choose to feel happy, healthy, and relaxed.
This is my choice.
And I choose to accept myself no matter what.”
Cross your hands over your heart again and take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Bring the emotion you were working with back up, as you did at the start. Notice if it feels different from before.
This step aims to reinforce the realisations from the first part and embed them in your subconsciousness.
As before, tap your fingertips over the energy points, starting with your eyebrows. As you do, speak out loud and describe how you are feeling now. What realisations have come up for you?
For example, I had a little voice saying that it would be OK if I slowed down a bit, so this became the focus of the sealing in part. We used “I can go slow and still achieve” as a new affirmation and I repeated it as I did the tapping.
Finish again by crossing your hands over your heart and taking a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Now, revisit the emotion again and give it a new intensity score. Hopefully, your number will have moved down the scale. Mine went from a 6 to a 2.
Using EFT Daily
I’m always amazed at how quickly EFT can shift feelings that seem so deeply embedded. But the process does need revisiting from time to time.
The technique we’ve gone through here only takes around 20 minutes. But you don’t even need to go so in-depth every time. Poppy recommends starting by doing some tapping first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.
Notice how you are feeling and what is coming up from your subconscious. Sometimes we feel emotions in the body instead of being able to articulate them in our thinking brains.
Acknowledge how you feel. Then run through the tapping.
You can do this any time that difficult emotions come up for you, helping you work through them and make space for new possibilities to grow.
If you want to dive deeper into EFT, Poppy shares techniques live each day at 11.11, over on Instagram. And she’s also launched her Club of Possibility, a community of people working to optimise their wellbeing and personal growth.
Of course, all this tapping is also great for boosting the circulation of your skin, which is why we use tapping a lot in Face Yoga too. For more Face Yoga techniques, follow me on Instagram, check out my YouTube channel, or explore the resources in my shop.