How to get unstuck - even if it feels like ‘just the way you are’

I’ll start by saying that all of this is personal. You will have a lifetime of your own experiences and ways of dealing with them and I have come to believe that no one way is the right way.


I’m here because the interventions in this article have helped me to make the changes I couldn’t come close to in the decades before I found them and I would like to give you the same opportunity.

How do we end up stuck?

Like a lot of us, I had a tricky early life. There was a lot of loss and loneliness and - maybe because of that - quite a bit of risky behaviour, unwise choices and a move abroad that ended in a complete reset. Throughout my teens and twenties, there was another rocky ride while I worked on looking at the aftermath and trying to get things on track - that meant lots of therapy.

All of it was helpful, and all of it gave me insight. It meant that I was able to recognise problematic behaviours and follow the road back to low self-esteem. I was able to plot the map of how I might have come to be there. It gave me time and tools to reflect but some things - debilitating social anxiety, rock bottom self-worth, a sense of being trapped and a persistent feeling of being not good enough - just wouldn’t seem to budge.

I now know that it was because my experiences had formed beliefs which were the foundation of how I saw the world. It's like whitewashing a colour on a canvas. You can paint over it but that colour will always be the backdrop, no matter how beautiful you paint the landscape. Those beliefs were causing problems and they were embedded deeper than I had managed to access.  

What it meant in my life was that I could quickly spiral into anxiety that could last weeks without any obvious trigger. I was highly sensitive to the judgments of others and always took them to heart, I was afraid to step even near to the edge of my comfort zone and I was very much living small. I had changed so much but the world still didn’t feel like a safe, supportive place and my own mind definitely wasn’t. I was living in a constant state of high alert and those feelings had been there so long I started to think it was ‘just me’ and all I could do was learn to live with it. 

The mind-body connection 

And then I found EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique or ‘tapping’ - a complementary therapy which changed everything. EFT has a physical element that was always missing for me, it was that which allowed me to go deeper faster and see the changes I made in session unfold in my everyday life. 

In a nutshell, EFT works through simple tapping on the body and directed language to allow us to access our limiting beliefs and release stuck emotions. EFT uses similar points to those used in acupuncture and we can often physically feel some element of these changes happening.

Think of that person that gets on your nerves or the way your significant other steals the covers - if there is an emotional charge attached to that thought you’ll find it corresponds with a sensation somewhere in your body. That is also true of difficult experiences we have had and the emotions around them that we have stored. The premise of EFT is that if we can feel negative emotion, whatever it is and whatever the situation, there is something stuck to be released and we can start there. 

If you have spent your life using your mind as a universal tool to analyse, understand and resolve every issue (which, let’s face it, is hit-and-miss) it can be very liberating to get out of your own way and let your body lead you. You will often be surprised at what we’re carrying that we have no idea about.  

EFT is an amazing way to let go of the story which might have been all we had up until now. When we think of ‘going deeper’ into working ourselves out we might think of journaling or talking something through with a friend - two things that are an absolute staple of well-being for me - but EFT offers something more. 

It is a way through the circles that you might find yourself going in when you’re thinking or talking about what’s holding you back. Very often, we have created lots of defences in the mind to protect ourselves and those walls remain beyond the point of being useful. This is a tool that creates doors to allow us through them gently. It is very often surprisingly quick, amazingly effective and almost universal for dealing with difficult emotions. 

What can EFT do for you?

There are different ways of using EFT. Once you know the tapping points and how to use language, you can use it to support yourself in tricky everyday situations and to enhance your well-being. When you want to move forward with something long-standing that feels like more of a deep dive there is a lot of value in being guided by a practitioner.

One of the things that I especially love about EFT is that a practitioner is not going to tell you how you should feel, everything is welcome. Accepting where we are is the first step to getting to where we want to be.

I am a practitioner because I know the feeling of banging my head against something that I feel I can’t change for years. I know the feeling of desperately wanting something different but continuing to repeat old patterns, I know the cringe of an unwanted memory coming in that seems to hold the same intensity of emotion that it did at the time or the dread of repetitive anxiety that made my world so much smaller than it could have been. 

What it has meant for me is that I’m calmer in the everyday, other people’s judgements are kept in proportion, and I know myself and value myself more than I ever have. My responses are much more often conscious choices than the automatic reactions that used to rule the way I thought and felt. What makes me feel safe in myself these days is knowing I have a set of tools that helps me know where to start and how to support myself, whatever comes my way. 

Obviously, things still come up for me that I find difficult to deal with but it’s mostly one thing at a time now. I’m not lugging all those old emotions around in a heavy backpack anymore because they had nowhere to go. EFT is about owning them and accepting they are here and that can be uncomfortable sometimes. It’s our choice whether we want to explore our stuckness and we do it in our own timeframe. 

It is my experience though, that so often that choice leads us to greater freedom.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to chat about how EFT might be able to help you, you are very welcome to get in touch or book a free chat. 

Quick facts 

  • Gently tapping on non-invasive points on your body and using directed language.
  • There are gentle, indirect ways of approaching things that you don’t want to talk about in detail.
  • Sessions are always a collaboration guided by you.
  • EFT is almost universally useful for any unwanted emotion.
  • A good practitioner is never going to tell you how to feel. Everything is welcome here, acceptance is part of the process. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Therapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Chester CH2 & Wrexham LL12
Written by Jess Wilkins-Cooke, Supporting you through anxiety & into greater freedom
Chester CH2 & Wrexham LL12

Jess is a fully accredited EFT Practitioner offering bespoke sessions online and in Chester. Jess works with a wide range of issues including anxiety, past events & low confidence and also specialises in sessions with parents, adoptive parents and adult children working on parental relationships. Book a free, no obligation call to find out more.

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