Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 35.
Last week we talked about one of the ways to use EFT to work on the possible underlying emotional contributing factors to physical pain or physical symptoms. And that way was to tap on our feelings about what we think caused the pain or symptom.
Today I want to talk about another important aspect to address, which is the consequences that we imagine might happen in the future as a result of having this pain or symptom. And we do this by tapping on “made up future events”.
Let’s think of a couple of examples from my own life. The other day I noticed that I was having the symptoms of a cold. My somewhat catastrophizing and hypochondriac mind started thinking: “Oh my God, what if this isn’t just a cold and it’s something worse? What if I’m going to have to spend all week being feverish and bed-ridden? (There you have a future event). What if I have to cancel all of the online sessions I have next week? (There’s another future event)”.
Just thinking those thoughts made me feel weak in my body. As I tapped on my emotional reactions to those thoughts/future events, I started feeling much better. I still have a runny nose, but I don’t feel physically weak anymore nor have any other symptoms (I’m physically isolating myself for a few days just in case though).
So, how might those setup statements be like? They could be something like this: “Even though just imagining myself tomorrow, having a fever, unable to get up from bed, I feel really bummed out, and I feel this in my throat, this is what I’m noticing right now”. Or “Even though, as I imagine myself having to email my clients to let them know I have to cancel our sessions, I feel anxious about that, and I feel that in my chest, I accept this is what I’m feeling right now”.
Another example: I once caught my finger in the door. Some of the thoughts that spontaneously emerged at the time were: “Oh my God, now I’m not gonna be able to play the piano! And I won’t be able to do EFT either!”.
So, tapping on the side of the hand: “Even though as I think of this mental image of myself looking at the piano, knowing that I can’t play it because of my finger, I feel really sad about that, and I feel it in my eyes, and this is what I’m noticing right now”. Or: “Even though as I imagine myself in my bedroom, wanting to do EFT, but I can’t because I’ve injured my finger, I feel really afraid that now I can no longer count on EFT as a resource, and I notice this fear in my belly, I accept this is how I’m feeling right now”.
Like I said in my previous article, if we think about this in terms of our nervous system, we could say that thinking about those “dire consequences” usually sends us into a sympathetic nervous system activation of fight or flight, where the body tenses up because of anger or fear. Or it can send us into a dorsal parasympathetic state, where we “shutdown” and/or feel hopelessness and despair. However, if we are able to diminish or release those feelings, our nervous system might then go into the more relaxed state of “ventral vagal”, where our immune system and regeneration abilities can function at its best.
So I recommend you try this approach the next time you get a minor pain or symptom such as those I mentioned above. An important caveat though is that, if when you are tapping on those “future consequences” you notice a related traumatic memory coming up, such as that of a car accident, a sports injury, a surgical procedure gone wrong, etcetera, then it’s best to work on this type of events with the help of a certified EFT practitioner, rather than trying to work on them by yourself. This is because these events are usually “too hot to touch” to work on by ourselves, even if they seem to be “no big deal” right now.
So, to recap, the previous article was about tapping on the past: our feelings about whatever or whomever we think caused the pain or symptom, and that includes when we blame ourselves. Today’s article is about tapping on the future: our feelings about what might happen as a result of having this pain or symptom.
That’s it for today. I hope this article was helpful to you. My name is Bruno Sade, and I’m a certified EFT practitioner with a mental health background as a clinical psychologist licensed in Argentina. I use EFT as a tool to help people (who speak English or Spanish) change their negative emotional reactions.
And, I’d love to know: What are some ways that you tap on physical pain? Do you have any questions or comments about what I wrote? Is there any particular topic you’d like me to write about? I’d love to know in the comments below.