EFT: Fact-for-all or Fad-for-all?

When it comes to self help, I really only have one main rule I live by: “As long as it doesn’t cost me a crazy amount of effort or a gazillion dollars, as long as it doesn’t come with the risk of injury or death, I am willing to try it.” If it literally can’t hurt to try, not in any physical, emotional or financial way, why the fuck not?! I mean, if you don’t have anything to lose, it’s worth a shot, right?

I heard about EFT through Gala Darling, who champions for Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) regularly on her website and in her series of Love&Sequins podcasts. Short explanation: It’s a way of tapping on your energy nerves (meridians) that can fix shit that’s going on in your mind, soul and body. From daddy issues to acne to fear to anything.

Gala herself has made amazing progress in many areas using EFT, not just in terms of emotional healing but also curing herself of asthma and eating disorder. If you want to read about it, click here and here. It explains EFT and her experiences, and I like the last link best.

I always tread carefully around these type of claims, especially when it comes to medical stuff. Despite my reputation as self help nut*, I am somewhat of a sceptic. Tapping a little on your body while saying something nice to yourself? Does that work? Even with my Law of Attraction believin’, this EFT sounded like a bunch of hooey to me at first. Which is why in all my years of fucking around with self help and spirituality, I hadn’t used it yet.

But after a couple of Reiki treatments and an increased sense of it, I do believe in energy and that it is inside us. So I wanted to see if EFT really has any effect. See, I am always willing to be proven wrong. That’s the great thing about being open-minded: You don’t have to be right.

So during my holiday in Croatia, I decided ‘to tap’. On problems, issues and such. Whenever I was feeling fat, a little nervous over driving, stressed over eating unhealthily I ‘tapped on it’. I always faithfully followed the tapping points and thought the whole verbal “Even though I think my stomach is bloated and I feel fat, I completely love, forgive and accept myself.” I didn’t do it aloud because I could only do it in the washing room buildings and I didn’t want fellow campers to start talking about the crazy big-eyed girl in the Quecha tent.

And to be honest, I didn’t notice that much. A definite tingle here and there, so maybe I was strumming my meridians almost right, but the issues did not magically disappear: I would still feel fat, stressed out. Maybe a little less because I distracted myself with tapping. There was only one time where there it seemed to be effective.

Problem is I can only sleep in tents when it’s relatively calm outside. Not with a lot of stuff going on. Those of you who are familiar with Eastern Europe might know the bora : very strong gusts of wind. Where we were, it howled. It made so much noise and made our tent move all night long.

I can’t sleep when I’m only separated by a Balkan Beat Tornoda by cloth and feel the tent shudder. It freaks me out and I stay alert, anxious and awake.  So as boyfriend (who has no such problem) slept, I was lying in our tent wide awake and getting increasingly more worked up and unsettled. Add to that the annoyance of not being able to sleep and you got yourself a Negative Emotion Cocktail.

So I tapped on it. I tapped a few rounds, lying on the air mattress telling myself “Even though these loud winds make me feel anxious and stressed out, I completely love and forgive myself. Even though all this noise keeps me from sleeping, I completely love and forgive myself. Even though I can’t relax because I’m afraid the tent is going to blow away with us in it, I completely love and forgive myself.”

And behold. aAfter the third round of tapping, something changed. I literally rolled onto my side and fell asleep within five minutes, only to wake up the next morning completely refreshed. I had felt the stress and panic flow out of my body and I just turned over to doze off.

Which means I either have to conclude that it only works when you’re really really really in the heat of horrible emotions, or I was just depleted of energy and that’s why I fell asleep: It was just too much effort to keep feeling anxious.

I’m not sure. Maybe I should try again with more tapping because I only ever did one round of anything. My current conclusion is that it doesn’t do anything amazing but who knows, it might help occasionally. I’ll try more and update another time.

In the mean time, anyone here with EFT experience? I know it sounds cookoo but I’m wondering if there are people here who can either rave or rant about it. Let me know!

*One I am not ashamed to admit I have totally claimed myself. 

The Stress Struggle: Some Ideas.

Some of my favorite people, both readers and friends, are battling with stress. Daily, high doses of stress. Dysfunctional stress. Self-induced stress.

I think it’s one thing to freak out when you have to take care of your sick roommates, study, do groceries, clean the house and take your car to the garage while you just had a terrible fight with your parents and heard your boyfriend has been living it up with a cute bartender while you were working extra shifts. Anyone would panic.

But are you crying almost everyday because you’re afraid you’ll get a bad grade? Do you feel anxious all the time because of the responsibilities of your job overwhelm you? Are you constantly thinking about all your different priorities, obligations and is that getting in your way? Do you feel like you have to do things, instead of wanting to do things and is this wearing you down?

Oh, sweetie. That’s a whole lot of fear and worrying to contain in the pretty little container that is you. Not to mention it’s unnecessary worry and fear.

And darling, I can’t do anything about that from all the way over here. As much as I’d prefer it they would stick, my words are going to fade. So are all the other words of people who calm you down, who tell you you’re good enough and who tell you you’re doing wonderfully. Because our voices come from the outside from time to time, but you hear your own voice* on repeat, all the time. If anyone is going to fix your shit, it has to be you. But I have a few suggestions on how to fix your shit if you’re interested.

Of course I could tell you the things you already know about priorities and planning. Pick up any time management book. I could throw in the catch phrases too, like relax, You were born to shine. Keep calm and carry on. Wear sun screen. Hakuna Matata. But you already know all this too. So.

I believe it is very healthy to get down and dirty in general (click) but maybe it’s time to get down and deep with yourself. The relationship with yourself works through in every area in your life. If you don’t know yourself very well, of course you’re going to make the wrong choices for yourself. If you don’t think you’re worth it, of course you’re not taking good care of yourself. If you don’t trust yourself, of course you’re going to panic whenever you have to do something big. That’s where your stress comes from.

Go find out the things that are bothering you. Explore your issues. Search for answers, within. Not from other people, but from the inside out. If it comes from others it can help for a while, but if it comes from you it is so much more likely to have a lasting effect.

Whether you do it through writing, visualization exercises, meditation, walking, yoga, cleaning, hula hooping, taking baths, or all of the above: go do it. Sit down with yourself and figure you out. Because you may not be aware of this, but there is a part of you on the inside that actually has all the answers. The more you try to get in touch with that place, the easier it becomes to get in touch with yourself and build up faith and strength.  A quote by Brenda McMorrow says “I honor the place in you where the entire Universe dwells.” I think if you get a little more in touch with that place, stress-free living becomes a valid option.

If stress is making you completely miserable right now, THAT should be your most important thing on your list to fix. That doesn’t mean you can blow off studying, neglect your relationships or call in sick for work, but it means you have to work on your happiness first. Being Miserable is Public Enemy Number One, in all situations, under all circumstances. You should take care of your happiness. If you don’t, things are hard and they will get even harder. But when you try to keep doing nice things for yourself, you create a little tension-free space within yourself as a buffer, making you more resilient. So if you’re stressed, be as nice to yourself as you can. Do a lot of the things that make you happy.

Because you know just as well as I do that the five miles you’re going to run are never going to be the reason you fail an exam. Neither are those 30 minutes you spent making a delicious lunch. Sure, maybe you gotta plan it in. But isn’t your happiness and well-being worth that?

Nobody is holding a gun to your head. You may need a little reminder of this, but you choose the things you do. You chose them for a reason and even though things may be a little hectic or tough sometimes, those reasons probably still stand. You want the things you do.

For example, I don’t have to run. Neither do you. But if you feel you have to run, that’s because you want to run. You accidentally changed that into making yourself, forcing yourself. You’re just using the wrong terms.

You want a good grade. You want to do a good job at work. You want to exercise regularly. You’d like to have a fashion blog. You’d like to sing professionally. You’d like to get into that particular school. You can try to learn the guitar. You can try to read that difficult book about quantum mechanics. You can try to get in touch with one of your favorite writers.

You don’t have to. Nobody is making you. And you don’t know that you can’t until you try.

Some things in life are nerve wrecking, have a lot riding on them and there is no getting out of that. But if you do what you can and go through it, in 90% of all cases things turn out absolutely fine — even better than expected! And if that happens, this should give you a little faith in yourself and anything else that may come your way later in life.

With a little guts and trust, you can come a long way. Peace.

*Or voices. It’s okay to be crazy.