A Great Way to Deal with Yucky Feelings: Emotional Freedom Technique aka Tapping

In advance of the #thx4support event on Thursday I wanted to talk about a tool that has been enormously helpful in my life to deal with yucky feelings (on Triggergiving, I mean Thanksgiving, or any other day).

This summer I worked with a woman whose work with lesbian survivors of sexual trauma involves using Emotional Freedom Technique, colloquially called “Tapping.” I had heard of it before but never really learned about it until Dawn told me about it. She walked me through the basic steps, and honestly it seems so simple it can’t possibly work. But, as my health coach Vic from Heart Beets Holistic said about Tapping, “The neuroscience is there. It really works.”

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So I gave it a shot. And a few months after starting to use it in areas of my life I was finding the most difficult to navigate, mostly money stuff (growing up working poor problems, like scarcity and fear) and residual grief from a break-up, my life in both of those areas has radically improved. I don’t know that Tapping is the only thing that worked but things have gotten better and it’s a great tool so I have been telling everyone I know about it.

Here’s how it works. If you have a yucky feeling come up, you start Tapping. For example, when I feel fear come up about money, my whole insides tense up. My stomach goes in knots and my heart hurts and I just have a total physiological reaction. What I do when I feel that way is I start doing the tapping sequence (and apparently there’s no exact “right” way to do the tapping, but lots of people say starting with the pinky sides of the hands hitting against each other) and naming the emotions that are coming up with me. Then I do the whole tapping sequence and usually end it by saying what I want to release and tapping my head.

The real powerful part of this, I think, is naming your feelings honestly. Even if you believe working with the meridian points is all made-up, being able to name the feelings you’re having is so incredible. We’re taught to swallow our feelings, not express them. So I express my fear that there will never be enough, that I will always be broke, that I don’t have enough money to pay for things, that I won’t be able to live my life as an artist. Then I release them. I sometimes follow-up with affirmations because I like the antidote to fear and insecurity with positivity. (In the foregoing example, “I live an abundant life and the Goddess takes care of all of my needs… I have more than enough to cover my bills and give money generously, etc…”)

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The idea is that Tapping helps you move the trauma out of your body. It’s an energetic release that works spiritually, physiologically and emotionally to acknowledge the trauma response and let it go. I know a lot of people who have worked with Tapping to deal with significant life traumas and it has really helped them. I believe if it can work with people on the really big stuff it can also work on the smaller more chronic issues that block us from our path.

I am a fan of free call-in seminars and I did one in September that was about releasing fear around money. I was so annoyed that I spent an hour and a half listening to this call and the “how” of it was only five minutes about naming your money fears and releasing them through the tapping points. It’s also much easier to learn the tapping points in a video. My favorite how-to video is below. Five minutes with one of my favorite spiritual leaders, Iyanla Vanzant. She has an incredible show on OWN called Iyanla, Fix My Life. I highly recommend it.

Again, it feels wild that it’s so simple.

My yuckiest feelings sometimes come up for me when I’m in transit, especially in the subway. Mostly when I’m moving my mind is going the most rapidly. One time I found myself tapping while on the F train and felt a little weird about it. Vic says that you can tap on just your finger tips because those are meridian points as well, but sometimes I just tap for real anyway because I don’t really care what people think of me on the subway and, honestly, tapping is the least weird of the weird stuff I’ve seen happen on NYC Transit.

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If you’re going to be dealing with hard things on Thanksgiving, Tapping is a great idea to have in your arsenal! I think having a tool box of things that help you stay grounded and centered is a great way to pre-plan for hard stuff. If you’re new to Tapping, maybe sketch out a list of the meridian points to tap and keep it in your purse or pocket and excuse yourself to the restroom to let it out. And don’t forget to follow hashtag #thx4support on Thanksgiving to be part of a whole community of folks supporting one another through the holiday!

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I’m fundraising to support QueerFatFemme.com! If you’ve been touched by the site, please consider donating money and getting a really cool prize! Folks in NYC can give $40 and get gourmet cupcakes made by the Rebel Cupcake Princess, Morgan! These are incredible cupcakes you basically can’t buy anywhere else.

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Morgan, talking about the background of the Riots Not Diets cupcake (a reclamation of past grapefruit diet trauma) at Rebel Cupcake in May. Photo by Gizelle Peters.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I used to do tapping with my therapist/creative guide, and I desperately needed a reminder today! The pictures at the aquarium are lovely, too. 🙂

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