As some of you may know, and as many can relate, I have anxiety. For many of us, our anxiety has largely been exacerbated during this time. While my personal situation during this worldwide pandemic has been truly a blessing, and many are far less fortunate than I, there are still aspects of this time that have put me into anxious spiral. In addition, the conversations around and continued learning of racism and the Black Lives Matter movement has added to a lot of the concern, stress, and anxiety. While all of this is extremely important and I by no means intend to take away from or diminish the responsibility of people in doing this work, maintaining mental health practices and decreasing anxiety so we can continue the conversations we need to be having is also necessary.
In order to help others, you must help yourself.
Throughout quarantine, I have significantly increased daily practices in meditation, yoga, and self care, which have aided in significant overall improvements. However, when I feel a particularly crippling wave heading my way, I have started implementing EFT practices and felt wonderful results for my anxieties.
If you haven’t heard of EFT, I believe it can be an extremely helpful technique, especially while we are distanced in so many ways. EFT, or emotional freedom technique, is a tapping technique to help reduce anxiety. It is based on similar principles to acupuncture and the points on your body that can effect your mood, health, wellness, and more. For me, EFT has been especially enjoyable because it is free, personalized, easy, and requires no doctors visit, therapists office, or prescription. I have not found a prescription that suited my needs and am not actively on a therapy routine, and while I am no doctor and not suggesting anyone use EFT to replace the medications and support systems you need, it has been an easy supplement to my daily mental health routine that is simple and anyone can do.
Here are some basic steps below:
- Start by identifying, if possible, the root of the anxiety
- This can be hard, especially for me when I often have generalized anxiety that I struggle to pinpoint or find triggers of.
- What works best for me is to acknowledge my feelings around the anxiety in the moment, identify any common denominators, and try to use whatever phrase I can come up with to verbalize the problem to myself
- For example, anxiety can come on for me often times when I have been laying on the couch for several hours at a time, binge watching seemingly mindless tv (Gossip Girl, RHONY, or the like) and comparing myself in countless ways to characters or situations I am seeing. I then often realize these feelings come on because I am perceiving myself as lazy, or wasting time or letting my life slip past me, or I am a failure. I often uncontrollably fear I will not amount to “someone”.
- While tapping the side of your hand (karate chop point), repeat to yourself “Even though I have insert problem, I deeply and completely accept myself” three times.
- Following the example above, the sentence I would repeat to myself would be “Even though I am not where I want to be in life, I deeply and completely accept myself”.
- For this and all following tapping, I use my middle finger to gently and repeatedly tap. It is neither fast nor slow, but it is an intentional tapping that I am focused on while I repeat my mantra to myself and go through the exercise
- Then, tap each of the following zones 7 times in this order:
- start of the eyebrow
- outer corner of the eye
- under eye
- under nose/above lips
- center chin
- start of the collarbone
- under the arm
- top of the head
- Repeat steps 1-4 until anxiety reduces
I hope you find this technique helpful for you as we all navigate the pandemic, the worldwide movement, and the difficulties we face in our personal lives. Acknowledging my anxiety, sitting with it, facing it, and accepting ourselves in spite of it is the healthiest way for me to heal it more quickly and for longer periods of time.
If you have any questions about EFT or other practices I am implementing in quarantine, please leave a comment below.
Please know you are loved, supported, appreciated, and needed in this world!