- Do you sometimes find yourself flooded with anxiety before a first date?
- Do negative feelings about yourself keep you from attending singles’ events where you might meet someone?
- Do you have doubts about being worthy of love by a special someone?
If so, I have a tool that can help. Emotional Freedom Technique – known as EFT or “tapping” – is a gentle tool for helping you regulate your emotions…move beyond your fears…and help you feel more confident in yourself and your ability to choose the right person to be in a relationship with.
Tapping has been described in a variety of ways. Its founder, Gary Craig, calls EFT an “important emotional relaxation process” that allows users to “get to the issues faster and resolve them more thoroughly.” My EFT trainer, Ann Adams, describes tapping as “a relaxation and calming technique that uses acupressure points to modify the anxiety response, foster body awareness and enable positive cognitive shifts.”
I like to use the image of a garden hose to explain EFT to my relationship-coaching clients.
Have you ever tried to water your garden with a hose with a kink in it? It’s practically impossible! But straighten the hose out and there’s no stopping the flow of water!
That’s what EFT can do. It can help you shift self-defeating patterns of thought and behavior, whether they are triggered by momentary events (nervousness about a date arriving to pick you up) or childhood trauma (a parent saying no one will ever want to marry you).
Many healing therapies like acupuncture, acupressure and Chinese medicine are based on the idea that human beings have a life energy that runs along specific pathways in the body, called meridians, and that negative emotions, stress and change can interrupt the flow of this energy. Where acupuncture uses needles (and requires a certified practitioner) to straighten out the kinks in one’s energy flow, EFT utilizes a light tapping motion on key acupressure points to help release whatever is making you feel emotionally charged. You virtually “unblock” your energy so it flows freely again.
So how does tapping work? It is a simple tool you can teach yourself and experience its benefits in about the same amount of time it takes to read this post! With more complicated issues, a practitioner can help you get to the core issue of the disruption.
To use tapping effectively, the first step is to identify the feeling or issue that is bothering you. It’s important to be as specific as possible, e.g.:
I’m overwhelmed by the fact that I’ll be 40 next week — and I’m still single
I’m triggered by my date’s remark that my online photo made me look younger than I do in “real life”
I’m afraid to tell the person I’ve been dating that I want to get married and have children because I’m not sure that’s what he / she wants
Next, you perform the “set up.” To do this, you tap on the “karate chop” point (see diagram below) three times on either hand, saying something like “Even though I am experiencing this (specific negative emotion / issue), I deeply love and accept myself.”
Then tap on the following eight (8) points, repeating your phrase as you do:
- Top of head
- Side of eye
- Under eye
- Under nose
- Above chin
- Under arm
Then simply repeat the same pattern until your negative thoughts or feelings have dissipated or are manageable.
The practice of tapping may feel a little silly at first – but don’t let that hold you back. I’ve been using EFT both personally and in my practice for 7 years with really tremendous results. What’s so compelling about EFT is that most of us use the tapping points naturally to soothe ourselves. Who hasn’t hugged him-or herself or gently patted our chests when we needed consoling?
And of course, tapping isn’t just effective with issues around dating and relationships. It can help reduce cravings for unhealthy food, help integrate traumatic events from your childhood and simply give you renewed energy to face life’s challenges.
If you’re someone who learns best by demonstration, you will probably enjoy this video.
So get tapping! I’d love to hear your experiences — whether you try this technique on relationship concerns or other circumstances in your life. You can share your thoughts by either commenting on the post or sending an email.
Until next time…
Sue DeSanto, LCSW, is a relationship coach with a proven three-month program for helping people gain the clarity and confidence they need to be in a successful relationship. She offers interested singles a no-cost 30-minute strategy session to help them determine if relationship coaching is for them.