Anxiety sneaks up when you least expect it, at what feels like the worst possible time. It keeps you up at night, hinders your ability to function, and causes all of those tell-tale mental and physical annoyances, like racing thoughts, pounding heart, irritability, queasy stomach, and sweaty palms. But until we find a healthy way to deal with our exaggerated thoughts and worries, it’s not going away anytime soon.
Elements Behavioral Health says, “40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety—roughly 18 percent of the nation’s population. Of those 40 million people, almost 7 million of them suffer from GAD [General Anxiety Disorder], with 15 million suffering from social anxiety disorder, 14.8 million suffering from major depressive disorder, and 7.7 million affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.”
And what’s usually the remedy for anxiety? An unfortunate, yet often necessary, Band-aid in the form of a prescription, or worse yet, a cycle of self-medicating with alcohol, recreational drugs, or some other detrimental habit used to cope.
Fortunately, though, there’s hope on the horizon in the form of an all-natural, lesser-known technique referred to as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), or tapping. EFT comes highly recommended for use by individuals with varying degrees of anxiety, as well as dozens of other conditions. With roots in the energy psychology realm, and taking cues from the healing process brought about by the Chinese meridian system, its founder, Gary Craig, believes “EFT tapping often works where nothing else will.” A powerful statement for such an innocuous technique, the procedure, which is related to acupuncture, yet uses no needles, actually relies on a two-part system in order to aid its users in finding relief.
The first part is that we must practice mindfulness by tuning into our thoughts. Craig’s Official EFT site says, “All you do here is make a mental note of what ails you. This becomes the target at which you ‘aim’ the EFT Tapping Basic Recipe.” It goes on to provide examples, such as an embarrassing moment that happened recently, or one rooted in childhood, a physical ailment, or anxiety over a situation that hasn’t yet happened. “As you will learn later,” says the site, “trying to combine issues in the process will compromise your results.”
The second part involves tapping on specific meridian points with your fingertips. Believed that anxiety and other conditions are often brought about by energy disruptions, EFT aims to balance those disturbances through stimulating the energy pathways at certain points along the body. Some of these points include the top of the head, eyebrow, side of the eye, and the area at which your sternum, collarbone, and your first rib meet.
Pointing out the differences between EFT and acupuncture, the website says this: “You may be aware that acupuncturists study and use over 300 meridian points on the body instead of the mere handful that are used by the EFT Tapping process. Further, unlike EFT, acupuncturists associate each of the energy pathways with body organs (kidney, stomach, spleen, etc.) and emotions (anger, fear, sadness, etc.). We are not denying the validity of this approach, but we are ignoring it. EFT Tapping represents a different use of these pathways that allows someone with no formal training in Chinese medicine to realign disruptions on their own with a simple process.”
As an introduction to the EFT process, it would be difficult to include everything you need to know without compiling an online encyclopedia, much like the one you can already find at EmoFree.com, Craig’s Official EFT website. However, you should be aware that there are a few additional steps you’ll need to acquaint yourself with, making it five total, in order to master your anxiety with tapping. Fortunately, they are addressed in great detail there, plus, it says, “once memorized, each round of it can be performed in about 30 seconds.”
Easy to learn in a matter of minutes, you can “bring” this technique with you everywhere you go, since it only requires your body and mind to be present. There’s no need to lie down or draw attention to yourself (which we know can be an even greater trigger of anxiety for some), and EFT is completely customizable and flexible, as it can be done anywhere--at your desk, on an airplane, the bathroom, in your car, etc.
Excellent for use by individuals of any age, including children, after mastery, EFT may provide you with a long-lasting, drug-free coping mechanism minus the nasty side effects. In fact, Craig believes in EFT so steadfastly, he says “it can bring complete or partial relief in about 80 percent of the cases in which it’s tried, and in the hands of a skilled practitioner, its success rate can exceed 95 percent,” leaving select users with permanent improvement, and others with the power to eliminate returning symptoms quickly and effectively.
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