The other night as I was tucking my younger son into bed he snuggled up to me tighter than usual and asked me to tap on him. Tapping, also known as EFT (emotional freedom techniques) is a form of stress and anxiety relief that I have shared with my kids. My boys are ages 15 and 9 and while tolerant of mom’s “energy stuff” they’re not necessary enthusiastic volunteers.
When my son asks for tapping I know something is up. Thinking back on the day I asked him a few questions and we pinpointed an incident where he had inadvertently watched a scary scene of a movie at a friend’s house. That imagery was coming up now and he was feeling scared; a perfect time for tapping.
EFT combines the ancient practice of acupuncture with present day energy psychology science resulting in a very effective emotional first-aid tool.
EFT is practiced by tapping gently with two or three fingers on points on the hand, head and upper body while tuning into negative feelings, emotions, sensations, or beliefs. Tapping on these meridian endpoints (acupressure points on the body’s energy system) has been shown to reduce the release of stress hormones and calm the amygdala, the part of the brain that assesses threat. Essentially tapping sends a message throughout the body that all is well, disengaging us from the stress response.
Try this basic recipe for yourself. Start by tapping on the karate chop point and tuning into the issue by saying to yourself, “Even though I’m feeling (insert emotion) I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” or “Even though I have (this problem) I’m learning to love and accept myself.” Whatever statement feels intuitively right for you in the moment is perfect. Continue tapping through the points on the head and upper body, maintaining focus on the emotion or problem until you feel some relief.
Tapping is a great tool to share with kids. I had a fabulous time teaching it to Peace Village campers last summer. Young kids take quickly to moving energy. A little tapping goes a long way. Kids can learn to tap on themselves. You can also surrogate tap for your kids (tapping on yourself while tuning into your child’s issue). Schools are beginning to use tapping in the classroom with great results.
In my son’s case the other night I tapped on his points for him, reminding him to take slow, deep breathes. “Even though you’re feeling scared, you’re an awesome kid and everything is going to be okay.” After three to four rounds he was fast asleep.
Karen is a founding organizer of Columbia Gorge Peace Village. When not sharing practices for peace with our kids at camp or in our teen programs, she can be found at: Mindful Parenting Tools and Whole Family Energetics
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