Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 57.
It is true that one of the ways to change how you feel is by noticing and changing your thoughts. For example, if every time something doesn’t go the way you wanted, you start thinking: “I’m such a loser” or “I’m a failure”, those thoughts are going to bring up and/or increase painful emotions. If instead you were to ask yourself: “Is this thought really true?”, and replace it with something like: “Nobody succeeds all of the time, I can learn from this experience and keep trying”, chances are the emotions you feel will be less painful.
However, in my experience this approach can only take you so far. One of the reasons for this is that it’s not so easy to NOT think certain thoughts. Especially when those negative thoughts have an emotional charge attached to them. That emotional charge can sometimes act like a “magnet” or “pull” that makes it difficult not to think those thoughts, even if we are trying to apply our willpower.
Besides, while it’s true that our thoughts influence our emotions, it’s also true that our emotions influence our thoughts in return. When we are already feeling angry, sad, ashamed, etcetera, our thoughts are going to tend to reflect that emotional state.
The same applies to our “autonomic nervous system state”. When something triggers our nervous system into going into “survival mode”, the thoughts and feelings we are going to have are going to be different than when it’s in “safe and connected mode”. You can’t just think your way out of “survival mode”.
This is why, instead of simply trying to change our negative thoughts, we can use EFT to gradually diminish and release the emotional charge around them, so they lose some of the grip they have on us, and so that it becomes easier not to have them all the time.
One way to do this is to come up with “specific events” or memories where these thoughts are at play, such as, for example, the recent time when something happened that made you feel like “I’m such a failure”, and apply Basic EFT on how you feel about that event now when thinking about it. Remember to also tap on the feeling of “I’m such a failure” (or whatever the negative thought may be) that comes up as you think about that situation.
Now, if you suspect that a memory might be too emotionally intense and/or traumatic to work on your own, feel free to enlist the aid of a certified practitioner with a mental health background, such as myself, to help you with that. The same applies if you feel like it might be too hard to keep track of all the different memories and aspects at play. Feel free to get in touch with me, even if only to ask me for some free advice or guidance on how to tap on something by yourself.
That’s it for today. I hope this article was helpful. 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 triggers.
And, I’d love to know: What do you tend to find easier to change: your thoughts or your emotions? 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.