Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as Tapping, is an evidenced-based brain and body technique. This self-regulating tool enables people to physiologically reduce anxiety while neuroplasticity allows for brain rewiring and behavior changes. In simple terms, my workshop attendees learn how to lower the body’s stress response and potentially weaken or even eliminate the power of the anxiety-causing trigger, thus allowing them to remain calm when necessary have clarity when needed. This reduces burnout and makes for a more enjoyable life without the fear and panic that anxiety elicits.
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique Explained
It All Begins with Stress
In the face of adversity, whether it be caused by something we’re afraid of or something we’re merely concerned over – all of these things cause anxiety. It emanates from the amygdala – the part of the brain responsible for emotions, automatic survival instincts, and memory. It tells the body to either fight, fly, or freeze, even when what is causing the anxiety might not be physically in front of us or even make logical sense. It can come as a memory, a reminder, a flashback, or even from those around us.
Having an occasional bout with stress or anxiety is part of life. Everyone goes through it. Scientifically speaking, anxiety is the result of your body’s default response to what your mind deems threatening. Entering into your body’s protective mind frame, you feel your pulse accelerate and your breathing quickens because your body is preparing to face the threat.
There are two different categories of stimuli that cause this fight or flight response: the first is caused by your body responding to something that is right in front of it (i.e. a disagreement with a superior). We call this stress. The second is caused by the thoughts in your head, a.k.a. anxiety.
You’re Constantly Thinking Stressful Thoughts
As stated, a bit of anxiety and stress here and there is normal; however, when stress and anxiety becomes an everyday thing (which is a reality for millions of Americans) suddenly your body is at risk for a host of health problems both mental and physical. If you are stressed or deal with anxiety, it is vital that you recognize it, relinquish it, and learn strategies to reverse it before it is too late.
This is where Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) comes in. EFT is a neuroscience-based technique where you gently tap with your own fingertips on meridian points across your face and upper body helping you to calm down, stop the reaction, and ultimately stop the stressor from ever having an effect on you again.
Stress Has A Chemical Reaction
We know now that anxiety and stress cause the amygdala to send a signal to the brain, telling it to “fight, fly, or freeze.” Two of the main hormones released when this happens are adrenaline and cortisol.
The Knee-Jerk Reaction
Whenever you feel stress, fear, or anxiety, your amygdala is involved. It is also the control room for your emotions. When using EFT, a person is triggered and uses EFT to calm the amygdala. This technique is especially helpful with people who suffer from anxiety disorders and PTSD.
As the trigger happens, the amygdala reacts automatically and unconsciously– most often without a serious threat. The mind still sees the trigger as a threat, but when you tap on these EFT – designated meridian points, electromagnetic signals release, sending messages through your body’s connective tissue, telling the brain, “The show’s over! No fire here!”
Suddenly there are two messages transmitted in the brain – “The show’s over! No fire here!” and there is no longer any need to “Fight, fly or freeze!” The more you tap, the more the first message overrules the second, calming the response from the amygdala. Once the amygdala is calm and the trigger is no longer a trigger, you can function without the stressor affecting you – just as if it never happened.
Whatever the initial trigger, once the reaction from the amygdala is silenced, you still have your memories – EFT is not a magic eraser – but what you don’t have is the the stress and anxiety hormones swirling around in your head. Tapping removes the amygdala’s response from the equation, leaving you with only the memories.