Self-Care, tapping

EFT Tapping: 10-Minutes to Emotional, Physical or Mental Relief

As Family Caregivers, our days can be hectic, upsetting, frustrating and exhausting as we help our loved ones. In general, we tend to experience a lot of stress, some anxiety and loneliness and possibly even a little emotional instability. Having support from others can help to provide a break from the “routine”, but often that’s barely an opportunity to catch our breath.

I’ve been taking care of both my parents since 2015, and as their physical capacities continue to diminish, the mental and emotional toll I experience is on the rise. I’ve always been a “fixer” or the problem solver. But wrapping my head (and heart!) around the fact that there is nothing I can do to help them improve their health conditions is not easy for me! Dealing with that often gets pushed to the back burner as I am preparing meals, picking up prescriptions or groceries, managing both of their daily medications, and the other (seemingly) hundred or so activities each day. And, when I have a few minutes here and there, I try to sneak in a nap or a walk when I can.

There are a myriad of activities that one can do to help decrease stress: walk, yoga, meditate, draw or paint, are but a few. But how does one address loneliness? Frustration? Anxiety? Anger? Try tapping!

What Is EFT Tapping?

Tapping, also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), is a powerful holistic healing technique that has been proven to effectively resolve a range of issues, including stress, anxiety, phobias, emotional disorders, limiting beliefs, and even chronic pain.

I discovered Tapping almost 20 years ago, and it has been nothing short of life-changing for me! I’ve used it to relieve intense back pain after a fall. I’ve used it to calm my distress when I went through my divorce. I’ve also used it to reduce my daily fears and anxiety of being a single mom. And, as a family caregiver, I use it to alleviate stress, anger and frustration.

Tapping therapy is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. Tapping with the fingertips on specific meridian endpoints of the body, while focusing on negative emotions or physical sensations, helps to calm the nervous system, rewire the brain to respond in healthier ways, and restore the body’s balance of energy. And, you can notice a change in just 10 minutes!

It is an extraordinarily simple technique and can be learned by anyone in minutes.

Tapping is simple and painless. It can be learned by anyone, and you can apply it to yourself whenever you want, wherever you are. Most importantly, Tapping gives you the power to heal yourself, putting control over your day, and even your destiny, back into your own hands.

How Does Tapping Work?

The basic Tapping technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand – a fear, a worry, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, you use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times on each of 9 specific meridian points of the body:

The Tapping Points
  • the “karate chop” point on the outer edge of the hand, on the opposite side from the thumb.
  • the eyebrow, closest to the bridge of the nose
  • the side of the eye: on the bone directly along the outside of either eye
  • under the eye, directly on the bone
  • under the nose and above the upper lip
  • center of chin just below the mouth, right in the crease
  • the collarbone, starting from where your collarbones meet in the center, go down an inch and out an inch on either side
  • under the arm, on your side, about four inches beneath the armpit
  • top of head, directly on the crown

Tapping on these meridian points in sequence while concentrating on the negative emotions engages both the brain’s limbic system and the body’s energy system, encouraging a sense of safety and resolution. And as science is proving, when you change your internal environment – your emotions and beliefs – external changes in your mental & physical health will soon follow.

Things to remember: When tapping, use a firm but gentle pressure, the same as if you were drumming on the top of your desk or testing a melon for ripeness. You can use all four fingers, or just the first two (the index and middle fingers). Four fingers are generally used on wider areas, while just two can be used on sensitive areas, such as around the eyes. Tap with your fingertips, not your fingernails. You can tap one side of the body or both at the same time. The meridian points are symmetrical on either side of the body.

Basic Tapping Sequence

Here’s how a basic Tapping sequence works:

1 Identify the problem on which you want to focus. For example, general anxiety, or it can be a specific situation or issue which causes you to feel anxious.

2 Consider the problem or situation. How do you feel about it right now? Rate the intensity level of your anxiety on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero being the lowest level of anxiety and ten being the highest.

3 Compose a setup statement. Your setup statement should acknowledge the problem you want to deal with, then follow it with an unconditional affirmation of yourself as a person (which will help with the change from negative to positive emotion by the end).

Setup statement example:
“Even though I panic when I think about taking Daddy for another round of chemotherapy, I honor and accept my feelings.”

4 Get ready to begin Tapping!

  • With four fingers on one hand, begin tapping the Karate Chop point on your other hand.
  • Repeat the setup statement three times aloud, while simultaneously tapping the Karate Chop point.
  • Now take a deep breath.
  • Now, tap about 5 to 7 times each on the remaining eight points in the sequence described above, starting with the eyebrow point and ending at the top of the head. As you tap on each point, repeat a simple reminder phrase, such as “my anxiety” or “my panic” to help you mentally focus on your issue.

5 And take another deep breath!

Now that you’ve completed the sequence, focus on your problem again. How intense is the anxiety now, in comparison to at the beginning, before tapping? Give it a rating on the same 0 to 10 scale. Do you notice a shift?

If your anxiety level is still higher than 2 or 3, you can do another round of tapping. Keep tapping through the sequence until the anxiety is gone. You can change your setup statement slightly to take into account your efforts to fix the problem or your desire for continued progress. Example: “Even though I have some remaining anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.” 

6 Now that you’ve focused on eliminating the immediate anxiety, you can work on instilling some positive feelings in its place. This approach is different from traditional “positive thinking.” You’re not trying to obscure the stress and anxiety inside yourself with a veneer of seemingly insincere affirmations. Rather, you’ve confronted and dealt with the anxiety and its corresponding negative emotions.

Having cleared the emotional “dirt”, you can then turn your thoughts to the powerful and positive. That’s what makes Tapping so much more effective than the “positive thinking” techniques that many of you have already tried. It’s not just a mental trick. You’re actually changing your body’s biochemistry and energy into a more positive direction!

Here is an example phrase:
“I am joyful about the positive changes that will result.” Use this positive phrase and go through the same sequence of Tapping points described above.

7 And take another deep breath!
Now that you’ve completed the sequence with the positive replacement emotion, think back on your problem again. How intense is the anxiety now, in comparison to before the positive phrase tapping? Give it a rating on the same 0 to 10 scale. I trust you are feeling better!

Congratulations! You’ve completed your first Tapping sequence.

Remember, ANY shift toward zero is moving you in the right direction and should be celebrated!

In those few minutes of Tapping, you began to calm your nervous system and rewire your brain to let go of the negative emotion, in this case: anxiety. If the intensity is still higher than you’d like, continue to tap along from the beginning. Feel free to be as specific as possible about what is causing you the anxiety. The more you do this process, the more powerful it will be!

Has anyone heard of or tried Tapping before? What has your experience been? Let me know in the comments!


2 thoughts on “EFT Tapping: 10-Minutes to Emotional, Physical or Mental Relief”

  1. Thank you, this technique is a helpful tool which I’ve used before. that said, I’m hoping you’ve been able to make plans for the time when you can no longer reasonably care for your parents by yourself. I’ve come to think that the caregiver’s greatest challenge is taking care of the caregiver.



    1. I agree with your comment that the CGs greatest challenge is self-care. We hear it all the time. We have all the suggestions: walk, exercise, sleep more, eat better, etc, but there are times when that’s just not possible to fit in with CGing. There are non-CGs who can’t even fit it in! Tapping sure helps get me closer to calm and feeling grounded when I really need it. At the end of the day, we all do the best we can.


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