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What is Tapping? A 5-Minute Guided Practice for Anxiety and Stress

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Have you heard of tapping? It’s a technique that mixes meditation and psychology and acupressure to manage everything from stress and anxiety to limiting beliefs and more. Maybe it sounds woo-woo on the surface to you right now, but the research behind tapping is enough to make even my analytical mind curious. And maybe you’re wondering too, could tapping be for me?

Jessica Ortner is a leading expert in tapping having written a New York Times bestseller on the topic, and she’s part of the sibling team who developed The Tapping Solution App, making tapping more accessible for anyone wanting to lower stress levels, reduce anxiety, get motivated, get better sleep, eliminate negative emotions and more… I mean, there’s nothing on that list I DON’T want.

Jessica’s here to teach us the world of tapping, the science behind it all, the massive benefits of the technique, and even lead us through a 5 minute exercise on air.

How Tapping Works

Put simply, tapping is a stress relief technique using your own fingers to stimulate acupressure points. “It’s helpful to take a step back and understand how we’re processing stress,” Jessica explained.

“When we have a stressful thought, there’s a part of our brain called the amygdala that starts firing off a fight or flight response. And we can feel it.” You know the feeling — Your heart rate goes up, our breathing becomes shallow, and we’re dealing with our innate survival instinct.

Think about the current environment we’re in… With the stress and fear around COVID-19 and the state of our health and finances, we’re feeling stress. Our bodies are catapulted in a fight or flight response, but it doesn’t serve us in this scenario. So we have to find a way out of that feeling.

With tapping, you get very clear on the thought that’s causing your physical anxiety. “As you think about that thought, tension, and stress, you begin to tap on these meridian points. That sends a calming signal to your brain. It’s like your body is telling your brain that it’s safe,” Jessica explained.

One thing that Jessica pointed out so beautifully is that it is normal to feel stress and anxiety right now. Our brains are wired to focus on perceived danger because it believes that’s the way to protect ourselves. Your body needs to be reminded that it is safe. Tapping can help do that.

Benefits of Tapping

As studies into tapping and its benefits expand, Jessica shared that the results are quite staggering. In an experiment with three groups — a tapping group, a group reading about stress relief techniques, and a control group just reading magazines — the group utilizing tapping reduced their cortisol levels by 43%. The group reading about stress relief reduced cortisol levels by 17% percent. The control group saw a 2% increase in cortisol levels.

Addressing your stress with a method like tapping allows you to move forward with the things you have to accomplish. We probably all know how stress can seemingly take our minds offline. We lose motivation and focus. By using tapping in combination with other things to support yourself and empower yourself, you’ll feel ready to take even more action to support and empower yourself.

Your Tapping Points

There are nine meridian points or tapping points on your body. I had Jessica walk us through them in this episode. First, locate the area just below your pinky finger on the side of your hand. This is called, simply, the side of your hand point, or the karate chop point.

The next is the eyebrow point, it’s where the hair of your eyebrow begins at the bridge of your nose. You might notice when you’re stressed that you grab your nose or put your face in your hands. That’s because your body intuitively knows that these points help you release stress.

The next point is the side of the eye point. Follow your eyebrow from the center point to the end, landing next to your eye. Another point near your eye is just below it, on the bone. Another point is just below your nose between your lip and the base of your nose, followed by the chin point in the crease of your chin.

Leaving your face, you have a point on your collarbone, an inch to either side of the U-shaped area at the center of your collarbone. You have a point underneath your arm, about a hand-length away from your armpit. Finally, you have a point right at the top of your head.

Each point has a different meaning (which Jessica talks about on the Tapping Solution blog) but it’s about finding a point that works for you and brings you back into your body when you’re feeling stressed and anxious.

How to Tap

Part of the tapping practice is starting with a setup statement. As you start to tap the side of your hand, the setup statement allows you to start to accept how you’re feeling. It might sound like, “I love and accept myself,” or simply, “I accept how I feel.”

Stating and accepting how you feel will set yourself up for a more honest conversation moving forward. Moving from the hand, you work through the meridian points up to your eyebrow point. “You want to get really clear on the thought that’s creating the physical anxiety,” Jessica explained. Always while you’re tapping, talk through your thoughts and feelings, giving a voice to how you feel.

As you work through those feelings, make note of how you’re feeling. As the intensity of your anxiety and stress drops, you’ll be ready to introduce positive thinking. “What we’re doing with the tapping is we’re just allowing our body to relax. We’re sending this calming signal to the brain,” Jessica explained. When we have a negative thought but we’re relaxed, we can better manage and handle those negative feelings.

More from this Episode

Tapping is simple in practice, but it’s best experienced firsthand. Press play on this episode and experience a guided tapping exercise with Jessica Ortner of The Tapping Solution.


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