EFT Tapping – An easy way to restore calm and balance

EFT Tapping – An easy way to restore calm and balance

EFT Tapping changed my life. Well, it was ONE of the things that changed my life!

I first experienced EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy) around 15 years ago after a traumatic event. Afterwards, I felt anxious, lost, and for a few weeks I was physically ill. Within two days of my first session I made an almost complete recovery. Within a week (and after my second session) I felt a new lease of life. At that point, I knew I wanted to learn this technique.

I also used EFT for a positive outcome: I was asked to speak at a conference in the main arena of the EICC (Edinburgh International Conference Centre). No pressure! And it was in front of a brand new group of directors of our business unit. Because I was able to release my nerves, I spoke with confidence and clarity to several hundred people and got amazing feedback afterwards. This experience was instrumental to me becoming a speaker as part of my work.

So let’s delve into it and explore how it can help you.

What is EFT Tapping?

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Therapy, said to be originated by Roger Callaghan as Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Then Gary Craig developed it as a simpler method in the 1990s. It’s a natural, holistic method where you tap on acupressure points to stimulate energy meridians. Chinese medicine and other holistic healing techniques such as acupuncture and shiatsu refer to the structure of these 12 meridians in the body.

What happens in an EFT session?

My main practice with one-to-one clients is coaching: I ask questions in a facilitative style and listen intently to pick up on what might be significant for them. However, sometimes we need something more targeted if someone is particularly distressed, anxious, in pain, upset, or overwhelmed. They may even have low energy, be close to burnout, or feel like there’s no hope.

Firstly, I explain to the client what EFT Tapping is and how it works, and check how they feel about trying it. I then outline the steps of the process:

  • We identify the issue and come up with a short statement we can use and repeat.
  • I ask how distressing it is at the moment, out of 10, with 10 being the worst it could be. This is to get a starting point for us to work with.
  • We begin tapping the hands together in a particular way and repeat the statement 3 times.
  • We then tap round the acupressure points from the top of the head, on the face, and down to the torso. These connect to the meridians whilst naming the feelings and emotions.
  • Finally, I ask the client to take a big deep breath in and out, and imagine releasing the feelings and emotions. Often there is a significant shift in the body and energy. I describe it like blowing the problem away.
  • We usually repeat the cycle another once or twice, checking in on the score out of 10. Sometimes we adjust the statement for how the client is feeling now, if they signal that to me.

If you know me as a coach, you will be used to me working mainly with outcomes rather than spending a lot of time on problems. I’m usually an advocate for “what you focus on, you get more of”.

In contrast, this technique is deliberately different as it involves naming, acknowledging, and releasing the issue. I find it works very well with the majority of clients, with results in 20 minutes or so.

A few people have felt so relaxed afterwards they wanted to sleep. Others have said they feel light and energised. Many feel able to take action or communicate something important, especially when it relates to their needs.

A word about professional boundaries at this point. If we reach the limit of my professional expertise, for example if there is a trauma comes up where I think the client needs specialist support from another qualified practitioner, I will signpost appropriately and make sure they’re ok before we finish. This has only ever happened once (and I couldn’t have foreseen it), but I think it’s worth saying. I have a duty of care to everyone I work with and I follow a code of ethics.

EFT Tapping for day-to-day life

Once you’ve learnt the technique, you have an amazing tool that you can call on any time. You can also use tapping as a form of proactive self-care. I know some people who do it every day to release any tension they may be holding.

It’s great for restoring balance, or if your energy feels a bit ‘off’. I’ve used it myself or with clients for a multitude of pressures in life, e.g. work, financial concerns, parenthood, or other caring responsibilities. It promotes a natural healing process for mind and body. I find it much easier to be compassionate, solve problems, be confident, resilient, and calm by using EFT.

There is a sequence to it, which becomes much easier once you learn it. Hence the title of this post! It can be quite a journey working through the emotions AND it can bring greater ease to life the more you use this technique. I have used it with people from all walks of life from sports to art, science, and senior leaders in Executive Coaching sessions.

Stimulating the vagus nerve

And here’s the science bit… EFT Tapping is a way to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a vast network which runs from the brain to the intestines, unconsciously sending and receiving signals about what’s going on. It’s a vital part of the ‘hardware’ and ‘software’ of the body. And it’s no accident that we talk about what our gut is telling us – it actually IS sending signals, constantly!

I have been reading up on this recently as it is helping me to deal with long-covid symptoms. Things like viruses, daily stresses, world events, and emotional issues can feel relentless at times. Basically, when the nervous system is triggered too frequently, it affects our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which automatically runs things like breathing and digestion. And in turn, it depletes our energy if our system is under attack.

Stimulating the vagus nerve is a fantastic ‘antidote’ to stresses and strains on our mind and body. It overrides the fight-or-flight responses – and the longer-term effects of that. Instead, it puts us into rest-and-digest mode which is restorative for mind and body. This is vital for long-term health and wellbeing.

The great news is, there are multiple ways to stimulate the vagus nerve… from breathwork and movement to singing and chanting. And EFT Tapping is a way to get a good dose of this in one go, to help you on your way.

Are you interested to know more? Feel free to book a complimentary chat and we can take it from there (no obligation of course). We can discuss a package of shorter sessions or incorporate this into a personalised coaching programme.

Mindful Living and its place in mental health

Mindful Living and its place in mental health

Mindful living is something that you may hear described differently, depending who you’re speaking to. I find that it’s interpreted or applied in a variety of ways. Wellbeing practices have become so widespread in our daily lives, there are many different ‘flavours’!

I’ll start by explaining what I mean by different aspects:

Mindful living

This a term I use to describe a way of living your life, which is conscious, aware, and present. It’s accessible and follows simple principles. These include tuning in to your senses, practicing gratitude, spending time in nature, and being thoughtful and compassionate with yourself and with other people.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a state of awareness, with quality attention placed on something in an intentional way, without judgement. Contrary to popular belief, it is not ‘clearing the mind’ or emptying your thoughts. It’s simply observing what arises with curiosity, and knowing that thoughts come and go like weather patterns.

Meditation

Meditation is a mind and body practice, and has a spiritual focus for many. Its purpose is to bring about a state of mindfulness, which could be by sitting in silence, following a guided meditation, or a simple activity in a mindful way.

All of these have featured in different cultures and civilisations since the beginning of time. That’s because they work! Human beings are complex and we can train our mind just as we train our bodies.

Why are these important for mental health?

The more you invest time and attention in mindful living, mindfulness, or meditation, the more benefits you will notice. Even in 8 weeks, with consistent practice, the structure and function of the brain begins to make positive changes. Neurons fire differently, and reactions follow different pathways in the brain, known as neuroplasticity.

We live in a world where our attention span, mental health, and wellbeing are challenged by a variety of factors. These include:

  • Our natural fight-or-flight reaction – you know that feeling when a stressful moment hits, or you get a fright? Your heart begins to pound, maybe you’re short of breath, sweating, and so on? Your nervous system is doing what it was designed to do in ancient times. It’s for survival against predators or other threats to life. And research has shown that emotional threats have a very similar response to physical ones, which happens automatically. No wonder life can feel stressful at times!
  • Vast volumes, types, and variety of information are constantly coming our way via the technology we carry with us pretty much all the time. We get a dopamine hit with each notification, for example from social media. And hey presto, it can develop into a habit of mindlessly scrolling.
  • We have a tendency for mind-wandering, which is linked with both of the above. Did you know that a US study revealed that, on average, our minds are wandering 47% of the time? An example of this is when you’re doing a simple daily task and your mind is on something in the past or future, like ‘did I lock the front door?’ or ‘what will I have for dinner?’. The effects of this are even more pronounced when our minds are occupied by more major life events, which could also be creating stress hormones.

The good news is, we can address the adverse effects of these things with tangible benefits for physical and mental health.

However, there are some exceptions such as certain mental health conditions. If this applies to you, speak to your health professional before trying out meditation.

And whether you have a diagnosis or not, please do reach out for help if you need to (which I did). It could be the day you change your life forever.

What mindful living means to me

When I first began to learn about NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), I discovered a level of self-awareness and awareness of others which was far beyond anything I’d encountered before. I found that I was imagining or remembering situations or outcomes vividly through the senses as if it was happening ‘live’ in that moment. From training in NLP, I discovered valuable perspectives which opened doors and built my resilience, and then I found the courage to change my life.

This took a big leap of faith because I’d increasingly found it difficult to balance work and home. My husband’s illness was progressing in devastating ways. Frankly, it challenged my mental health so much I wasn’t sure I would ever be the same again. My husband has been medically retired since 1997, so I felt the weight of the decision heavily and was anxious about the risk to our finances.

After much soul-searching, and a big, deep breath, I took a different path. And what a difference it made.

After working with NLP for a couple of years, I became aware of various parallels with mindfulness. I began to develop meditations and visualisations through reading articles and books on the subject and practicing regular meditation from a variety of sources. I gained a qualification as a meditation teacher. During this time, I also committed to continuing to learn and apply NLP as a way of life, which naturally began to develop positive patterns of thinking and behaviour. Soon afterwards, I also studied Jikiden Reiki, which is a gentle healing modality working with energy.

Some quick tips you can try for yourself

Here are some of the things I do, which are simple day-to-day adjustments.

  • Practice being in the present moment. Simply focus on exactly what is happening, and be aware whether you’re focusing on what you intended (or not!). Start with a few times a day for a minute or two, and then do it more often and for longer. If you notice your mind wandering, gently guide yourself back. Be kind – it does not help if you tell yourself off!
  • Tune in to your senses – Whether you’re out in the woods or standing at a bus stop, notice what you’re seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and even tasting. This cultivates a quality of awareness which gently trains the mind to be more focused. It’s also a great technique for reducing anxiety as it gives the brain and the mind something else to do.
  • Leave your phone in another room in the evening, on silent (if you can). Allow yourself a quick check once an hour or every two hours. Put it somewhere other than the bedroom overnight. Some people tell me they need it for an alarm: I use a sunrise alarm clock which feels far more natural. It can also be used as a light box over the darker months.

You can even jot down some notes or use a journal, if you like. This can be helpful to notice and appreciate your practice developing over time.

In my book ‘Roots for Growth’ I expand on nine principles for mindful living. I may run a few posts about these on my Facebook page or Instagram if you would like to follow me there. I also write about personal experiences which have significantly shaped my life, and share professional insights on a variety of subjects around how we think, beliefs we hold, and how to follow our own wisdom to navigate through life.

And if you would like to experience a meditation, visit my resources page for some examples. Do remember that it may not be easy right away. If you notice your mind wandering or struggle to sit still, simply notice, and gently guide your attention back. Noticing in itself is a sign of success, and will ultimately support your mental health and wellbeing by investing in a consistent practice. Mindfulness practice has even been linked to improved memory, less likelihood or severity of chronic health conditions, and youthfulness… I’m still waiting for the benefits of that one :-)!

If you would like to chat about how all of this can help you, feel free to book a discovery call. My coaching sessions often include tailored meditations to settle into the space, or to close off at the end. I bring meditations and mindful practices into development programmes and workshops as well. I’d love for you to get the benefit of this!

What happened in the silence in between

What happened in the silence in between

I began this year with great gusto, buzzing with a sense of adventure and with all sorts of things planned. The kind of self development I found was quite different from what I’d been seeking, but probably even more valuable.

Planting Seeds in the New Year

January lived up to all my expectations with an uplifting workshop on ‘Planting Seeds’ with a group of wonderful women who I’m also fortunate to call friends. We talked about setting intentions, set them down on paper in a variety of creative ways, and coached and encouraged each other to bring it to life.

I like to join in with these things too, when we are working in a small group, so I drew a big globe and plotted on the map where I was planning to go this year, with playful illustrations of what I would do when I got there. First up was India at the end of January, which was a fantastic experience once again and I wrote about it in my blog about Feeling at home wherever you are.

Things changed

And then I caught another virus straight after I got home and was stopped in my tracks again. Little did I know that I would still have chronic fatigue months later. I haven’t even been able to write, as I can’t seem to find the words.

It can be hard to stay connected and motivated when my mind and body is running on empty, and I have often felt frustrated at ‘sitting around doing nothing’.

And yet, that’s not really true. It’s a story I’ve been telling myself at times, being naturally fed up as it’s been 3 years now, on and off, since I first became ill. When I read this quote from Mozart recently, I felt a warmth spreading from my core…

“The music is not in the notes, but the silence in between.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Inwardly I said a big “YES” and breathed a sigh of relief.

In the time that it has been necessary to rest and apparently ‘do very little’ I have also been doing profound inner work, as I feel a deeper layer of myself has begun to emerge. Despite not being at my best at times (nowhere near it!), I hold a solid belief that this is part of my path which will fundamentally influence the way I live and the type of work I do in future. And that is important to take my time over.

Here are some examples of what’s been happening in the ‘silence in between’…

Personal Reflection

I have taken time to notice how I think, and what patterns and words I use relating to my health, becoming aware of what helps and what holds me back, consciously accepting and letting go of how I wish things were. For example I have been very aware of my tendency to focus on others over my self, and my habit of finding a silver lining in everything, which I now understand can be detrimental over the long term. I have invested in coaching and holistic therapies which have been a lifeline when I have felt adrift at times. I have had lots of lovely messages and offers of support from friends too, but I have just not been well enough to make plans, far less meeting up.

Self Development: Learning how the mind, body, and nervous system works

Studying the science has greatly helped me to understand why I have been so unwell and not hold blame or shame, or feeling I ‘should’ be better by now. I have also read incredibly insightful books including ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Bessel Van der Kolk and ‘No Bad Parts’ by Richard Schwartz on the fascinating topic of Internal Family Systems (IFS). I have done some deep work to embrace difficult emotions and welcomed aspects of myself which have long been buried or ‘exiled’ as Schwartz calls it.

Reading about nature, flowing with the seasons, ancient traditions, and modern philosophy has been a mind-opening adventure. And I’m certainly not done yet.

Modelling how other people have recovered

Online and in a variety of books, there are accounts of people who have recovered fully from chronic fatigue and post-viral symptoms. These publications highlight how they think, what they believe, and what they do to make progress. I am taking small steps forward from what I have learned, and although it will take time, I am feeling a renewed sense of hope.

Seeing clients again

I have loved opening up my diary to see clients, just a few at a time and I am very careful about giving the experience and quality of attention they have come to expect, as well as managing my health and energy levels.

Other opportunities for learning and self development

As well as being one of the most challenging periods in my life, this has been (and still is) an opportunity to re-evaluate and open up to a new level of awareness. I have invested in self development. I have enjoyed getting to know myself in my 50th year, and although it has not been at all what I expected it has been so enriching and enlightening.

So, there you go… I seem to have gone from being stuck for words to pouring out several hundred of them in one go! It feels good to connect in this way again, although now I am ready for a long rest!

I will be opening up for another couple of one-to-one clients in August, either for Executive Coaching or Personal Development coaching, so please feel free to book a discovery call if you think you’d like to snap up one of the slots.

In the meantime, I am wondering what this blog has opened up for you? Are you curious about your own development and the ‘silence in between’?

Au revoir for now, and I hope it won’t be too long til I am back posting again!

Treasures below the surface

Treasures below the surface

Did you know, I work with a variety of methods to support my clients?

It’s never ‘just’ a coaching session… I’d describe it as joining the client in their world and exploring the full depth of their experience.

Energy – sometimes I notice subtle shifts, other times I use structured modalities like Reiki or EFT (Emotional Freedom Therapy/Tapping). This can have a profoundly healing effect, and I think it’s one of the reasons why so many people say they leave feeling ‘lighter’, both physically and emotionally.

Body Wisdom – how often do you notice an instinct… a gut feeling… a voice in your head… a feeling of resistance… or maybe something else comes to mind? Often this wisdom becomes more noticeable in hindsight. By working with an experienced facilitator you can tap into the infinite resources of your inner knowing, without having to wait for hindsight. And once you do, it’s amazing how your curiosity, awareness, and intuition develops!

Space – a fascinating technique called ‘clean space’ offers spontaneous wisdom by using the space around and within us to bring new awareness in a very short space of time. It’s one of my favourites!

And I often work outside, in nature, as the environment can bring some really interesting, spontaneous signals to pay attention to.

Timeline – a powerful NLP technique (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which is a way of exploring how we relate to our experiences in context of time, gain unique learning, and connect with resourceful experiences in the past, present, or even the future. This can be stepped out on the floor, drawn on a piece of paper, or simply by closing your eyes and drifting to a point in time.

Metaphors – these pop up from our unconscious mind with an uncanny knack of providing solutions, insights, confidence… and much more! Since I learned how to work with metaphors I have found so many useful resources within myself and with my clients… and had a lot of fun doing so too!

Language patterns, habits, and beliefs – what we say to ourselves and others, and the beliefs we hold, can significantly shape our experiences. Learning what helps and hinders us can bring lifelong benefits to wellbeing, relationships, leadership, parenthood, work… or any other aspect of life. With this awareness and choice we can live more consciously, embrace challenges and opportunities, and bring the best of ourselves to those around us.

Meditation – as a qualified meditation teacher I tailor guided meditations to individual clients, offer classes and events on mindfulness, and record complimentary meditations on all sorts of topics like gratitude, breathing, body scans, and visualisations.

Creativity and writing – Over the years I have developed ways for clients to get into the flow of their creativity through drawing, writing, speaking, photographs, crafts, and meditation. Whether it’s in a group setting or individually, working with creativity can boost energy levels, create a sense of deep connection, and bring a fresh outlook to challenges and opportunities. And now a variety of creative interests are woven into my work.

It’s had such a profound effect, I even wrote a book and created an inspirational card deck from scratch!!

All of these gifts have been generously shared with me, and I love to share them with my clients.

A treasure box came to mind for this post as it represents treasures which are buried, waiting to be discovered or remembered.

What treasures are waiting to come to the surface for you?