Tapping 101 – the what, the why and the how

Tapping is a technique that is used to calm the mind and reduce anxiety. The idea is simple. First, you focus on a specific negative emotion or situation in your life. Then you tap on 12 meridian points on your body for about 5-7 times. By tapping on these points, while concentrating on releasing the negative emotion, your body’s energy will become balanced again and stress is released.

My experience with tapping

I admit, it sounds a little weird at first and I was highly skeptical that tapping would do anything for me except make me look like a giant fool. But scientific studies have actually found that tapping on specific meridian points in the body can reduce an emotional reaction (often fear or stress) to negative situations. In short, it can thus relieve us from anxiety, stress, sadness, depression, grief or any other upset we might be experiencing.

I have used tapping for a few months now and can honestly say that 9 out of 10 times it works. Just a few rounds of tapping are enough for me to relax. Nowadays I use tapping on a weekly basis for a clear and calm mind. As with any mindfulness practice in life, tapping is not a magic pill that will make everything in your life better. But to my great surprise, I have found that tapping has helped me so much in returning to a calm state of mind when I am feeling overwhelmed. It is also the perfect practice for a little pick-me-up during a stressful day at work.

How to tap

First, you need to identify the problem you want to focus on. It can be a specific issue or negative feeling, or just a general feeling of anxiety, boredom or depression. Tapping can also be helpful for relieving headaches. So when you experience a headache, you can make the headache your point of focus. Youcan try to reflect more deeply on the issue or feeling by assessing the intensity of the feeling. For example, is the anxiety quite mild or very strong?

1. Affirmation

Once you have reflected on your anxiety or negative situation, you compose a statement that consists of two parts. First, you by acknowledge the problem or feeling and then affirm an unconditional acceptance of who you are. An example of such a statement might be: ‘Even though I am very anxious right now, I deeply and completely accept myself’.

2. Set-up tap

Then you perform the setup tap. With four fingers (it doesn’t matter which hand), you tap four fingers on the outer edge of your opposite hand while repeating your statement three times. Then you take a deep breath…

The taps should be firm, but gentle using only the soft parts of your finger.

3. The tapping sequence

After the set-up rounds, you perform a full tapping sequence using two or four fingers (again, it doesn’t matter which hand), tapping 5-7 times across the following points.

Inner corner of the eyebrow
Outer corner of the eyebrow
Under the eye

Under the nose
The crease between the chin and lip
The collarbone
Underneath the arm, near the armpit
Top of the head

The video at the beginning of section 3 explains perfectly how to perform a tapping sequence from start to finish.

You can perform a few rounds of this tapping sequence until you find an emotional release from the negative emotion or anxiety. If the tapping doesn’t work for you straight away, don’t try to make it work. Try a few rounds of tapping and see if it releases any emotion. If it doesn’t, that is okay. Worrying about the tapping will only add to your stressed state. Tapping should be an easy tool to reach for when needed rather than a go-to cure for everything.

More often than not, I find release and calm from tapping, which is why I highly recommend giving it a try. It is one of the many techniques I have added to my self-care repertoire that I like to pull out when I am feeling particularly overwhelmed or even just a little foggy in the brain.

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