Tapping that is an excellent way to remove some of the most insistent inner critic statements that are playing in your head. It is a simple, effective tool somewhere between hypnosis, meditation, and acupressure that was first used by Roger Callahan, PhD, in the early 1980s. Callahan called it Thought Field Therapy (TFT). One of Callahan’s students, Gary Craig, developed a similar system of tapping that he called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
Since then, tapping has been widely recommended as an effective technique to remove energy blocks. Recently the American Psychological Association (APA) granted continuing education credits for psychologists to study tapping, also known as energy psychology. Tapping is widely used by energy medicine practitioners such as Donna Eden and other professionals, including Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician (DO) and natural health practitioner.
Tapping moves the energy associated with a belief, releasing it from the body. When you tap, you say the belief aloud to bring up the corresponding emotion in the nervous system. Then you tap what we call “meridian points” to reset the system. Each meridian point is at the end of a nerve channel in the body.
Tapping sends a shockwave down that channel that clears out the emotion residing there. When the emotion is gone, your mind no longer attaches to the belief.
Suddenly your mind is free to re-process your emotional response, turning a negative into a positive. I know it might be hard to believe, so hang with me for a moment, and try this for yourself in the following exercise. Seeing—or in this case, feeling—is believing.
Before you begin tapping, you’ll rate the strength of a belief. After a round of tapping, you will rate it again. Zero on the scale corresponds to zero emotional responses in your body when you say your belief or tell your story. Ten signals a strong emotional reaction. You’ll continue tapping until you’re down to one or zero on the scale.
After tapping out the negative, you’ll tap in a positive replacement feeling. Once your system is at a neutral point (one or zero on the rating scale) you can charge it up with some empowering, joyful energy and beliefs, which allows you to attract the positive life experiences you desire.
Before you start the tapping exercise, let’s go over a few details. First, you’ll choose a particularly painful theme or phrase from your inner critic dialog—one that’s not serving you well. Then, you’ll recall some of your childhood or young-adult experiences associated with this belief. You’ll use this negative experience and all the emotion attached to it as your base tapping experience. You’re bringing up not-so-good feelings, but this is actually how you clear them from your system. During the exercise, you’ll also speak these memories out loud; this enables you to relive the experience with all the rich, though painful, emotions you felt at the time. And while you’re focusing on these negative thoughts, you’ll be tapping gently and rhythmically on specific parts of your body.
Let’s say that one of your most insidious inner critic statements is, “I’m too fat.” While reflecting on this statement, you’ll remember an incident in seventh grade gym class when some of the other girls were giggling and smirking in your direction. You overhead one of them say, “She’s fat as a pig.” You were devastated. Although you may not have been fat at all, the words stuck, and they implanted so deeply in your psyche that you began a diet immediately. To this day, you have never liked your body and have always felt fat. Use this or like phrase from your own inner dialog in the following example.
Exercise Tapping to Release Emotional Pain
For this exercise, you’ll need a quiet space where you can be alone for a while.
- Pick a really painful phrase from your internal dialog to work on. On a scale of zero to ten, with ten being the highest, rate the strength of the emotion attached to that belief. Write that number down.
- Now recall an incident or situation associated with this belief. Evaluate what happened, who was there, how you felt, and the emotions you experienced that day. State the negative belief aloud, bringing up all the associated emotions.
- Now start tapping the meridian points as you tell the story. Tap five to seven times on each of the points in the following order:
- eyebrow at the inside corner of your eye
- the outside corner of your eye
- under the eye
- under the nose
- center of the chin
- inside the collarbone, close to the larynx
- under the armpit
- the crown of your head
- go back to the eyebrow point and start the sequence again
- If you get confused about the order, don’t worry; just keep tapping any of the meridian points in any order. It doesn’t matter whether you tap fast or slow, hard or soft. Just find your own rhythm and let the story flow.
- As you tap, talk about whatever comes to mind about the belief you’re focusing on. Remember how you felt, the thoughts that ran through your head, the decisions you made. Speak the story as if you were telling your best friend what happened that day.
- Take a moment to rate your belief again. Give it a rating between one and ten. If your belief registers higher than a one, do another round of tapping. Your story may shift as you continue tapping. The “I’m way too fat” story might morph into statements such as “I’m not good enough,” or “No one likes me.” That’s fine, just let it out. Getting to your core issues is like peeling off the layers of an onion. Rate your feeling again after this second round.
- Keep tapping the meridian points until the story feels complete; it could take five or six rounds of tapping—perhaps more. Continue with as many rounds as you need, until the negative belief—in this case, “I’m too fat”—releases. You might feel an actual shift in your body as your negative belief releases.
- After you feel you have tapped out the negative, it is time to tap in the positive. Review your name web for some positive phrases. Bring to mind the feelings associated with the positive phrases. Some examples might be, “I love my body just the way it is right now, today” or “I am perfect just the way I am” or “I accept this new, positive belief with joy and appreciation” or “I love the calm and peace that I feel now.”
- Do a couple more rounds of tapping with this positive affirmation using the same sequence of meridian points. This will fill your system with affirming energy and solidify the positive energy in your system.
It might take several subsequent tapping sessions to shift a negative belief because there are many layers to the beliefs we hold. Even if you tap it down to a zero one day, you may wake the next day and experience a higher rating than the day before. That doesn’t mean that the previous tapping didn’t work. What’s happening is that the next layer of negativity, fear, or lack is surfacing. To have life-transforming results from tapping, it’s important to be diligent and patient. You truly can tap out the negative and tap in the positive.