Can tapping help anxiety?
“Over the years I’d worked on the trauma, but this horrible feeling still clung on and I decided it was time to completely release myself from the past trauma. “It worked. That’s all I can say. Ever since that day I’ve not been able to recall that nasty feeling in my stomach. That person no longer has control over me, and it’s liberating.” The idea of being able to tap away a problem is an enticing one, and I knew the quest to be free of anxiety is my white whale. We began our session by talking about anxiety, and specifically how I was feeling there and then. Charlie asked me where I could feel anxiety in my body (in my torso, mainly my chest), how it felt (fluttery, like butterflies), and where my anxiety levels were on a scale from 0 to 10 (about a four). Charlie then showed me the first tapping point, the outside edge of my palm. We tapped this and repeated a ‘set-up statement’ to get us in the right headspace. We repeated it three times before our first round of tapping. Starting at the inner eyebrow we tapped, moving to the outside of my eye, under my eye, under my nose, my chin, under my collarbone, under my arm and finishing at the top of my head. Following Charlie’s lead, I repeated simple phrases about feeling anxiety while I tapped. After this, we paused and did a quick breathing exercise. Charlie asked me where I was on the scale (down to a three) and where I could feel the anxiety in my body. To my surprise, it had moved. I could now feel the ‘fluttery’ feeling in my throat, ears and head. With a nod and a smile, Charlie explained that tapping moves sensations around the body and this was a good sign – it was on its way out. We did another round, and this time I felt like I was going into a meditative state, feeling utterly relaxed by the end of it. I wondered if this would be the end of the session but no, Charlie wanted to take things deeper to truly unpick whatever it was my anxiety was clinging on to. As we talked, I explained some deep-rooted fears relating to anxiety, stress and its relation to work. And so, we tapped on this. Stating the problem so clearly feels counterintuitive, but by repeating the statements I became almost desensitised to them. By the end, I wasn’t totally released of anxiety, but Charlie said the deeper issues often took more work. Before bed that night, I did another round of tapping myself. When the alarm went off the following morning I waited for the inevitable anxious feeling in my chest to rise… but it didn’t. So, do I think tapping has taken away my anxiety completely? Not yet. I don’t believe my journey with anxiety is over, but I’m excited to add tapping to my anti-anxiety toolbox and see where it takes me.I tapped on a ‘feeling’ I got in my stomach if anyone ever mentioned my abusive ex’s name.
Try this at homeIf you haven’t got time for a full round of tapping or you’re in public and want to be discreet, use a couple of fingers to tap the inside of your wrist, moving to the inside edge of each finger (where the nail meets the skin). Say the problem you want to tap on with each point out loud or in your head. Repeat until you feel calmer.
This article was originally published in Happiful Magazine (July 2020). You can order print copies online, or read the e-magazine for free on the Happiful app.
Find an emotional freedom technique therapist
All therapists are verified professionals.