Tapping goes by many names: Tapping, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Meridian Tapping, Energy Tapping, Touch and Breathe etc… By any name Tapping represents a body of work based on the belief that every behavior, pattern or illness is a manifestation or representation of stored, stuffed, or un-dealt-with emotions (like trauma, regret, resentment, fear, anger, etc…). Tapping is a way of altering the underlying emotions through touch intervention and thereby permanently changing the behavior.
How to Tap
Sometimes talking about a challenge out loud is the best way to get to the real issue. As you talk out whatever is bothering you, Tap. Remember to Tap the whole time. Include all thoughts that come up. It’s all relevant. Sometimes finding an issue is like trying to find an annoying rattle or squeak. You go through a process of elimination and when you find it, you are then able to assess the situation and correct it. But you have to isolate it from all the other noises first. Here are the tapping points. They are the same on both sides so it doesn’t matter which side you use. Tap firmly but not too hard! In the alternative, you can hold a tapping point while taking a deep breath. For your convenience, I have recruited husband Will (he’s a real trooper!) to pose for “Willustrations”. The Sore Spot (not pictured): It’s called the “sore spot” because it is usually sore. It is a junction of your lymph system (responsible for the immune system) located on your upper chest about where you would pin a medal or broach. Rubbing these spots vigorously also helps release stress. You’ll know it when you find it. It’s good to rub this point while repeating your set ups a few times, it prepares your system for what is to come. It helps focus all of you in the same direction. Here are the Tapping points – you can click on the picture for a larger view. 1 – Top of the head 2 – Inner tip of the eyebrow, on the bone 3 – The bone on the edge of the outside of the eye
4 – On the bone directly under the eye 5 – Between the upper lip and nose 6 – Between the bottom lip and chin 7 – On the soft spot under the collarbone, kind of close to the throat 8– On the side of the ribcage directly under your arm 9 – On the outside of the hand about an inch below where your fifth finger starts – also called the “karate chop” point 10 – On the insides (side closest to the thumb and body) of the finger at the edge of the nail bed, on the corner where the white half-moon shape is located. Even though I only show two fingers here, it works on all of them. These points are great to use when you need to be covert!
When tapping, remember to:
- Rate your feelings for the issue (even if you’re not sure of the issue, you’ll have a certain level of frustration, confusion, etc…) from 1-10 before you start tapping
- Keep tapping until you are at zero intensity.
- End all tapping on a positive note.
Ex. “This whole stopping smoking thing makes me want to SCREAM!” would probably be a “10”.
- Try to say your set ups out loud, even if it’s just a whisper. It doubles input (you hear yourself both in and out of your own head)
- Tap on one issue at a time! When you’re doing the “free association” thing, go with whatever comes up – even if it seems to be unrelated.
- Setups are art!!! The right setup can bust through tough beliefs quickly – the wrong one can leave you flat. If you are tapping something and get bored, finish up on a positive note and rework the setup. Go for juicy! This is a powerful and exhilarating process – have fun with your setups and say what you mean!! Don’t worry about being polite! If you need to “let loose” DO IT! If you need to use expletives, just *@#&! use them!
- Make your set ups as specific as possible and, if you can, in affirmative language.
Ex. “Even though I feel confused about what to do now…” As opposed to “Even though I don’t know what to do now…” This helps because your brain likes clear directions and when a negative is used it has to identify the negative statement before it can identify the opposite and know what it’s supposed to do (this is also helpful in communicating with people).
- When possible, make your statements about YOU and things obviously under your control
Ex. “I feel so mad I can’t think straight” rather than “Even though so-and-so is a weenie and I hope (s)he goes down in flames.” In other words, try to focus more on your reactions and your feelings.
- When you create the affirmative side of the setup, use language that is punchy for you and gets your motor revving. I have used “I choose”, “I expect”, “I give thanks for”, and “I want”, among others. Use what works best for you!
- If you are Tapping in a structured way and find yourself missing points or misstating the set-up, do the round over until you get it right (not necessarily in a row or even the same day) – it’s a clue that the issue is stubborn (keep tapping on it!)
- If you start yawning, laughing, feeling funny – it’s OK, it may be your way of processing. I know I’ve made a shift when I start yawning!
- Pay attention to your thoughts while Tapping. The sounds and visions that come at this time are often clues!
- You might require extra sleep while your mind shifts and shuffles the files.
- Sometimes you will see changes immediately (like I did once with sinus headache). However, bigger, older, or more deeply ingrained beliefs may take a while to shift enough to be obvious in your reality and/or behavior. Trust that the process has begun. Relax – it’s happening.
- If you are in public or cannot comfortably tap, you can hold one of the tapping points and breathe deeply while you focus on the issue. This is called Touch And Breathe (TAB) and it seems to work as well as Tapping.
How & Why it works: Most of the time, people are aware of how a problem shows up in their lives but not the root cause of it. I’ll use stage fright as an example because research statistics show that more people would rather die than speak in public. Often, the fears people have about public speaking are rooted in unpleasant memories. Find the memory and solve the problem by changing the way you feel about the experience emotionally. Tapping helps you change the memory of the experience by adding new information to it.
Research done at New York University may offer another clue about why Tapping works to change the emotions attached to memories.
The research shows that memories can be permanently altered by adding new information. They found that when a person is actively experiencing the symptoms created by a memory (in our example stage fright), they can add new information to the experience and change it. Tapping may work because it stimulates the autonomic nervous system while the person Tapping is focused on the unpleasant memory that causes the stage fright. It might override the physical and mental tension in the body that is activated when a person thinks about an unpleasant event or experience. In that respect it could be a manual kinesthetic (touch) interruption of the thought pattern that leads to the negative response (stage fright).
Tapping while you think of pre-negotiation anxiety or any other emotion that might get in the way of your success actually changes your subjective experience of the emotion. When you tap you add new information and lessen the impact of emotions on your “mental game”. If you are preparing for a public speaking engagement, tap on the nervousness and anxiety. If you are about to take a major certification exam, tap for recall, nervousness, and fear of failure. More to come on Tapping – stay tuned!
Cheers and Happy Negotiating! Nancy Hand, JD, NLPT