Is Your Brain Wired For Negative Thinking?
Have you heard of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)? I was introduced to tapping (as it’s often referred to) many years ago, and admittedly, I pooh-poohed it for a long time. I tried it and didn’t really notice any shifts. Until I did…
You see, I’m a nervous flyer. And as anxious as it makes me, I’m also determined to not let that stop me from traveling. After all, I have trails to blaze!
As someone who takes comfort in being in control, the idea of sitting in a metal tube with a stranger at the “wheel” can be the definition of hell for me. I get all sorts of mental clutter piling up — fears, disastrous predictions, and more.
In preparation for a trip I was taking a few years ago, I spent time doing some tapping work with my sister, Cheryl, who, by the way, is a master at facilitating the practice. I wanted to clear this mental and emotional clutter so I could look forward to my adventure instead of dread it.
Through the rounds of tapping (the points are shown in the image to the right), we focused on giving myself permission to feel whatever it is I was feeling.
While that may sound a bit obvious, it hit me at a very deep level. My inclination is to intellectualize away my feelings in an effort to get back in control.
Instead, during this EFT session, whatever I was feeling, we tapped on welcoming in my feelings, saying things like:
“Even though I want to be able to know in advance when every bump will happen during the flights, I completely love, forgive, and accept myself.”
“Even though I hate how long the travel is going to be, I completely love, forgive, and accept myself.”
“Even though I’m already looking forward to being home and I haven’t even left yet, I completely love, forgive and accept myself.”
Then we focused on contradicting statements where you toggle back and forth between what you’re feeling and what’s not true. The idea is to disrupt the old patterns of thought that cause anxiety.
We did this as we moved from tapping point to tapping point:
“I hate this anxiety.”
“I don’t even want to go.”
“I can’t wait for my trip.”
“It’s ok to feel whatever comes up.”
“It’s not ok to be afraid.”
“It’s totally fine being afraid.”
“I love my anxiety.”
And so on.
I felt an incredible wave of acceptance, calm, and love pour over my body. It was as if Little Kerri exhaled completely and collapsed into my loving arms. It was truly magical. My mental clutter quieted. I felt excited about my trip, focusing more on what we’ll do when we’re there instead of being afraid of getting there.
I had an incredibly relaxing flight! When I found myself beginning to manufacture anxiety, I did some subtle tapping on the “karate chop” spot and it helped get me back in check. Even without using any kind of tapping script!
Nearing the end of my vacation, anxiety started to surface as I anticipated the flight home, so I did some tapping on my own. Fearing that it wasn’t going to work since I didn’t have Cheryl facilitating, I let myself be with those feelings first by using statements like:
“Even though I don’t really know the right words to use when I do this, I completely love, forgive, and accept myself.”
“Even though I don’t think this will work this time since I’m not as skilled at it, I completely love and accept myself.”
And what do you know? It worked! And fast — within one minute I felt myself relax.
We often hear the advice to be with your feelings – something I’ve always struggled to do. However, with the EFT approach of stating your feelings, followed by a reminder of my love and acceptance of self no matter what, it feels much more doable and effective.
After all, feelings are not facts. They’re a messaging system. But when we treat them as facts, they clog up our brains and make it incredibly difficult for us to play big in life.
So if you’re like me and avoid uncomfortable emotions, I want you to check out the great video I’ve included at the end of this post. It’s by my friend and New York Times bestselling author, Nick Ortner, and it shares some really cool information about the part of the brain that holds you back, why it’s not your fault if you think negatively, and what you can do about it. (You’ll need to enter your email address to see it, but then you’ll also be signed up for Nick’s awesome, free event.).
In it, he also shows you how you can use Tapping to literally rewire the neuropathways of the brain to create the life you want (it’s been scientifically proven to do so).
It’s so cool! I hope you enjoy it.
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