Six years ago I felt so overwhelmed and stressed when it came to writing. I had no idea about what to write. I felt anxious every time I sat down at my computer. I started to wonder if I’d ever get back into my creative flow.
I didn’t know where this writer’s block was coming from. But I knew two things for sure… I was tired of feeling this way and I needed help.
You know that saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will come”? Well, it certainly came true for me. My amazing soul sister aunt listened to my troubles and then introduced me to a simple, easy-to-use process.
It’s called Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping. Or EFT for short. It’s free. It’s easy to learn. And I can attest to how effective it is.
Once I learned how to do this technique and practiced it, I felt so much better. Empowered, even! I found that inspiration for writing came to me with incredible ease! Plus, using EFT helped me understand the root cause of how I developed Writer’s Block. It helped me regain my creative spark and release the root cause at the same time!
If you struggle with writer’s block, I would encourage you to try EFT. It’s an effective tool for addressing creative issues and it can help in so many other areas of your life, as well!
What is EFT Tapping?
The healing concepts of Emotional Freedom Technique have been practiced in Eastern Medicine for over 5,000 years and focuses on meridian points. Meridian points are like highways in your body that energy flows through which help balance energetic flow in the body and maintain health. If there is an imbalance, like a traffic jam, ailments can develop.
Similar to both acupuncture and acupressure, tapping uses a set of techniques to stimulate the body’s meridian points. This releases stagnant energy (like stress) and restores energetic balance within your body. It’s done by physically tapping your fingertips on them as you talk about the current negative emotion you are feeling – fear, anxiety, a memory, etc.
While learning about EFT, I became curious about where it originated as well as when it started to be educated and practiced in the West. And of course, my inner student accepted this challenge of the opportunity to research this.
Let’s blast to the past as we take a deeper dive into the history of EFT expanding in the West!
A brief history of EFT
It was in the 1960s where scientist and Chiropractor, George Goodheart Jr., learned about acupuncture through Felix Mann’s research on acupuncture meridians. As Goodheart used his fingertips to find the painful areas of his body, he tried tapping on the meridian points with his fingers. This began his exploration of how the meridians are connected with certain parts of the body as well as illnesses within the body.
Through the years, several scientists continued to follow Goodheart’s work as well as discover additional avenues of holistic healing. This includes psychologist Roger Callahan who also studied applied kinesiology with Goodheart’s group.
As a 30 year specialist in cognitive and behavioral therapies through psychotherapy, it was the year of 1979 with a patient named Mary, where Callahan experienced a “lightbulb moment”.
For years, Mary had struggled with extreme fear of water. They made several attempts with every anxiety reduction remedy to the best of his ability for a little over a year. The next session would make all the difference.
Mary shared with Callahan the key concept of when her stomach ached. This was when she was around water and when she simply thought about water.
At this moment, he remembered that one of the meridian points for the stomach was right on the cheekbone. He asked Mary to tap on that specific area. After tapping as directed on the area, she experienced so much more than relief.. she realized the fear she had was completely gone!
Amazing right?! But how did it happen just like that?
How does it physically work?
When we feel stressed, it can show up physically as a response to the stressor. This is commonly referred to as fight-or-flight response in the sympathetic nervous system.
Physiologically, when you are feeling anxiety or stress, the amygdala (the part of your brain that works with stress) sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the area of your brain that regulates breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood vessel function.
This area receives the signal, activates the sympathetic nervous system and communicates through autonomic nerves to your adrenal glands. The glands then produce the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) into your bloodstream.
Tapping sends signals to the amygdala that reduce the stress and negative emotion you feel in both the emotional and physical planes. It also helps restore balance in your energetic body.
While investigating how EFT physically works, I discovered that its effectiveness is backed up by numerous scientific studies. Here are a couple of examples of the Evidence-Based studies that I found:
- According to research by Rogers and Sears, the effectiveness of EFT was tested using randomized controlled dismantling. Students were randomly assigned to an EFT group or a sham group. They found incredible differences in stress symptoms where those in the EFT group experienced 39.3% stress reduction as compared to the sham group experiencing 8.1% stress reduction.
Now that we have explored how EFT physically works and the science behind it.. what are the steps to do it?
Steps to use EFT:
There are multiple meridian points you can tap on to get your desired results, including the meridians in your hands and wrists. For our purposes, we’ll review the most common which are in the featured image.
- Rate on a scale of 0-10 the emotion(s) you are feeling (let’s say overwhelm and stress with Writer’s Block). Level 10 would be the most overwhelmed and stressed you’ve ever felt.
- Use two to three fingers from one hand to tap on your karate chop point on other hand, repeating what is called the Setup Statement.
- Ex: “Even though I feel [overwhelmed and stressed], I choose to deeply and completely love and accept myself”.
- You may repeat this twice more adding the phrases “I choose to deeply and completely love, honor, accept and forgive myself and anyone else who has contributed to this feeling.
- Begin tapping a few times on each meridian point starting with the inner eyebrow and talk about the feeling(s) you are experiencing.
- Continue in the same fashion with the following meridian points ending at the top of your head.
- Repeat the cycle 4 times. Ending the 4th cycle with the question “what if I can choose to feel safe right now and let this all go?”.
- In the next round, continue the cycle with these statements that help shift perspective and inspire positivity. Including “what if I am already safe and am doing this (writing) correctly?”
- Repeat the cycle as many times as needed until you can feel little to no intensity to the emotion(s).
- Take a deep breath and notice how you feel with the scale of 0-10. Notice how the original rating may have dropped from what you previously felt.
For me personally, I started using a guide via YouTube channel Tapping with Brad Yates (highly recommend!) while doing EFT tapping. This helped me significantly! I soon discovered that I felt I could practice it on my own without a guide.
I realized that thinking about the feeling and scenario where I felt incredibly overwhelmed at the computer and using my own personal phrases about it while tapping on my meridian points helped me feel better even faster!
After I rated my overwhelm and stress level as a 7 of 10, I used my karate chop point and then proceeded with the points outlined in the diagram above.
While I tapped my karate chop point, I used the following statements:
Even though I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I choose to deeply and completely love and…
- Accept Myself
- Honor Myself
- Honor, accept, and forgive myself
for feeling this way and anyone else who taught me to hold on to these feelings.
At that point, I would start at the inner eyebrow and work my way to the meridian point at the top of my head. All the while, talking about how I was feeling and exploring the feeling helped me find where the root cause of it came from.
I learned that the stress and overwhelm I was feeling came from the thought that I was not good enough to write and that I would do it wrong.
This was a HUGE lightbulb moment for me. So much that I began to cry. At first it was the shock of this truth in the awareness that hit me.
I had always enjoyed creative writing in school, however somewhere along the way (in high school) I developed this thought and belief that even though I enjoyed writing for fun.. I would never be as good or as fast as anyone else. This included the authors whose books I had enjoyed so much.
When I continued to tap, I adjusted what I said and proposed the two life-altering questions:
- What if I already am good enough to write?
- What if I can choose to let go of all the stress, concern and worry of doing it wrong?
As I tapped, I continued with all the reasons why I could write well. Especially because writing unleashed my creativity and brought me joy!
I noticed that my tears of shock had transformed into tears of gratitude!
Wrapping up my tapping session, I declared:
- I choose to let it go completely at a cellular level
- Letting it go from all the way back in my past
- Letting it go from all the times that I was told, shown and told myself that I couldn’t or shouldn’t write
- I let it go from all the deepest roots and original cause
- I let it completely go in body, mind and spirit
I took a deep, cleansing belly breath and checked in with how I felt. I felt so much better – centered, at peace, shiny and new!
I realized that this made all the difference! I went from feeling overwhelmed and stressed at a level 7 of 10 to not feeling stressed or overwhelmed at all sitting down to write at my computer!
From then on, if I began to feel any stress coming up about writing, I knew that I can use EFT to help let it go (cue the “Let It Go” chorus from the famous song in Frozen!)!
When I use EFT today, I primarily use my karate chop point and don’t use the other points on my face, collar bone or side unless I feel it’s needed! I learned this is just as effective for me as using the more common points.
I find myself in awe with the understanding that our bodies are incredibly intelligent. Our bodies can literally show us what is wrong and how we are feeling.. even if our minds haven’t caught up yet. It’s so amazing that with EFT, we have the power to literally heal ourselves right at our fingertips!
As the sayings go, “through pain, comes growth” and “the pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered is an opportunity for growth”. And this is so true for me!
The writer’s block that I experienced was a beautiful opportunity of growth for me on so many levels. Was it challenging to experience? Oh absolutely. Did I learn from this experience? I most certainly did… and I’m grateful for it!
Now moving forward with writing, I find it’s best to take one step at a time. EFT is a beautiful tool that I use as needed with writing and in so many other areas in my life. I’m so grateful that I found and released the root cause of what disrupted my creative flow!
As human beings, it’s incredibly important for us to be kind, have compassion and have patience with ourselves as we are simultaneously a masterpiece and a work in progress. It was Audrey Hepburn that said, “nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
I know through my experience with EFT, I can dissolve writer’s block and write with ease! If I do have any moments in writing where I find myself stuck, I use EFT to help me rediscover my creative flow and inspiration in this art! My heart sings, dances, and I am filled with joy doing what I love!
I encourage you to practice EFT and share your experience in the comment section below!
Evidence-Based Practice References
Bach D, Groesbeck G, Stapleton P, Sims R, Blickheuser K, Church D. Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019 Feb 19: 24 (2515690X18823691). Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6381429/.
Rogers, R., & Shears, S. (2015, November). Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for Stress in Students: A Randomized Controlled Dismantling Study. focusedhealthyfamily.com. http://www.focusedhealthyfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/College-Student-EFT-Study.pdf.
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