Utilizing EFT Meridian Tapping to Help Parents Manage Stress and Anxiety for Back-To-School and Beyond
By Deborah Chalifoux, MA, CCC-SLP, MS-Ed, EEM-AP, RMT
The fact is we are facing challenging and changing times, from a health standpoint, from a political standpoint, and from cultural standpoint. With these challenges and accompanying changes, we are facing an extreme amount of fear and stress coming at us from all directions, bringing up a multitude of questions with few answers. What is the best things we can do right now? What’s under our control now? How do we manage our stress and fear?
What is important now more than ever is to find real and effective ways to manage our stress and fear. According to a growing number of mental health care practitioners, the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is one of the quickest, simplest and most effective ways to do so. EFT, also known as Meridian Tapping, was first developed by Energy Psychology pioneer Gary Craig. In this article, I will be introducing you to EFT Tapping, a stress relieving Energy Psychology technique that can help us more effectively handle the pressures of living and parenting in the time of Covid-19, and will provide us with a tool to better handle future stresses, long after over current world crisis passes.
What exactly is EFT or Meridian Tapping?
EFT Tapping is combines the wisdom of ancient Chinese Medicine and meridian therapy (the basis for acupuncture and acupressure) with more modern understandings of how the brain works and how we process and store memories and emotions. EFT is a simple and easy-to-use process where you tap on specific meridian acupressure points, while tuning into stressful thought, beliefs and feelings and speaking about them. This unique combination helps shift your physical and emotional energy in the direction of relief… towards feeling really good. In addition to boosting your immune system, utilizing this process will help you stay out of the fight-flight-freeze response so you can make clearer and better decisions for both you and your family’s health and well-being.
How do I begin to use EFT for my own well-being, and that of my family?
It’s been said often enough, “put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child.” By learning and using EFT for yourself, you will begin to release emotions, fears, and beliefs that keep you stuck in a cycle of reactivity, lack of control, overwhelm and stress. The end result is calmer, cooler more collected parenting in general. Taking the time and steps to heal yourself first primes you to help your child heal THEIR stress and anxiety.
The basic technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand: a fear or anxiety, a bad memory, or any other aspect around an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, use your fingertips to tap 7-10 times each on 9 of the body’s meridian points described and shown below. Tapping on these meridian points while concentrating on accepting and resolving the negative emotion will access your body’s energy, restoring it to a balanced state.
1. Karate Chop Point (side of hand)
2. Inner Eyebrow
3. Side of the Eye
4. Under the Eye
5. Under the Nose
7. Collar Bone
8. Under the Arm
9. Top of the Head
The Basic Steps to an EFT Tapping Sequence:
In the steps below, the general example of “anxiety” is used, but the phrases can be altered and applied to any issue desired.
Step 1: Name the problem clearly, directly and truthfully, while being aware of any physical sensations such as pain, nausea, butterflies, etc. and where in your body you are feeling them. Ex. “I am feeling extremely anxious right now. I have a big knot in my stomach and I feel like I can barely breathe.”
Step 2: On a scale of 1-10, what is the distress level, or how bad is the problem? 0=calm or absent, 10=volcano. Ex. “Right now, my anxiety level is about an 8.”
Step 3: Speak a “Setup phrase” three times, while tapping the Karate chop point (the fleshy side of the hand). Ex.: “Even though I have this anxiety, I accept myself anyway.”
Step 4: Using two fingers, rapidly tap each of points numbered 1—10, 7-10 times each, starting from point 1 (top of head) and ending with point 10 (top of head). While tapping each point, say a keyword or phrase that helps keep your mind focused on the issue. Ex. “This anxiety…”
Step 5: Do more rounds of tapping as needed, checking in on your distress rating after each round. If your distress number has lowered but not a 1 or 0, do another round of tapping, starting again with the Karate Chop point. This time, change the Setup Phrase in Step 3 to: “Even though I am still feeling some anxiety, I accept myself anyway,” and use the reminder phrase in Step 4, “this remaining anxiety.” Repeat until your level of distress is optimally at 0 or 1.
Step 6: Often after tapping a little on a specific issue, we move to a different aspect of the problem. If you find your thoughts shifting to a different aspect of a problem at any point, shift to the new issue. For example, if you are feeling a general sense of anxiety but can’t pinpoint why, as you tap, your issue might shift to something like the following: I am worried that I might get sick.” Or “I am scared that my children aren’t safe at school.” Or “I am overwhelmed because I have to take care of my children and my parents.” Begin tapping through Steps 1-5 for this new issue.
REMINDER: If you are experiencing extreme trauma or distress, please find a skilled practitioner (see resources below) or find a therapist experienced in trauma to help you heal before attempting to tap on your own.
More to Explore with EFT Tapping
Provided below are links to sample scripts and video demonstrations you can use for EFT Tapping for stress and anxiety, and more on how you can use this amazing technique for any other issue you may be experiencing. It is my hope that you will be able to use what you’ve learned about the Tapping to help you and your family get through this inordinately stressful time with more grace and ease, and that it will help free you to create new and more effective ways of responding to whatever life throws your way in the future!
⦁ Learning to Tap Resources
⦁ Tapping for Stress and Anxiety
⦁ Tapping Resources for Covid19-related Anxiety
⦁ Find a certified EFT Practitioner
Find a Certified EFT Practitioner (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology)
” EFT is a simple and easy-to-use process where you tap on specific meridian acupressure points, while tuning into stressful thought, beliefs and feelings and speaking about them. This unique combination helps shift your physical and emotional energy in the direction of relief… towards feeling really good!”
Debbie Chalifoux: EEM-AP, RMT, MA, MS-Ed, CCC- SLP
Aka – Mama’s Speech- Energy Healing Guru