How can we use EFT to reduce cravings?

Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 83.

In today’s article, I’d like to offer a few tips on how we can use EFT to reduce cravings. This might be the craving or desire for eating a certain food (chocolate, chips, etc), using a certain substance (like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol) or doing a certain behavior (like biting our nails).

We can: 1) Tap on the actual craving/desire; 2) Tap on the unpleasant emotions the craving helps us numb or disconnect from; 3) Tap on our feelings of guilt, shame or self-judgment for having acted on those cravings (which sometimes then make us act on those cravings even more as a way to soothe those unpleasant feelings).

Using the banana-bread analogy explained in a previous article, the whole loaf of banana bread, the issue, in this case is the craving we want to reduce.

1) How to tap on the actual craving itself

For the setup phrase while tapping on the side of your hand, we are going to use the same “Basic EFT” structure we’ve been using in the last few articles: 

  • Even though I feel… (the feeling we are targeting with our tapping, such as ‘this desire to eat chocolate’);

  • When I think about… (the specific event, such as ‘right now’ or ‘when I imagine myself coming home from work after a really stressful day at work’),

  • Because… (why do you feel this way? What does this food/substance/behavior do for you? For example, ‘because the sweet and chewy taste makes me feel so happy and I deserve this reward after such a stressful day’);

  • And I feel this feeling in my… (where in your body are you feeling this, if anywhere? Such as ‘I can feel myself salivating just thinking about it’);

  • This is just where I’m at right now (or any other balancing statement that you like, such as ‘I accept that I’m feeling this way’).

And for the reminder phrase you can alternate between the feeling that you are targeting (‘this desire to eat chocolate’) and why you feel that way (‘the sweet and chewy taste makes me feel so happy, and I deserve it’).

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

  • Even though I really feel like eating chocolate (the desire we are measuring and targeting with our tapping) when I imagine myself coming home from work after a really stressful day (this is the specific event)because the sweet and chewy taste makes me feel so happy and I deserve it after such a stressful day (this is the reason we feel this way)I can feel my mouth salivating just thinking about it (this is the body sensation)this is just where I’m at right now (this is the balancing statement).

  • Even though I really feel like smoking a cigarette right now, because it relaxes me and it gives me something to do with my hands, I notice this warm feeling in my chest just thinking about it, I accept that this is how I’m feeling.

  • Even though I feel this strong urge to bite my nails when I imagine myself hearing my husband complain about his mother again, and I feel this tingly sensation in my hands just thinking about it, I accept myself anyway.

Something to keep in mind is that with EFT we are always targeting an emotion or feeling that we are feeling right now in the present moment. If the craving/desire isn’t activated right now when we want to tap on it, we might need to work on it from a different angle.

2) How to tap on the unpleasant emotions the craving helps us numb or disconnect from

Let’s say the craving/desire you want to reduce serves to disconnect you from painful emotions. So that means you then need to target those emotions. And, again, we can use the same Basic EFT format from above.

For example, when you drink one or two glasses of wine at night, it helps you disconnect from the frustration you feel about your boss at work. If we could tap on that frustration and reduce its intensity, then perhaps there wouldn’t be such a craving for the glass of wine.

Here’s how that setup phrase might sound: 

Even though I feel really frustrated when I imagine myself at work next week, having to hear my boss go on and on about how he is not very happy with my way of doing things, I feel frustrated because I’ve tried to explain it to him so many times and he just doesn’t want to understand, and I notice this frustration, like a tightness in my chest, this is just where I’m at right now.

3) How to tap on our feelings of guilt, shame or self-judgment for having acted on those cravings

Sometimes it can also be helpful to tap on any feelings of shame, guilt or self-judgment we might have about having indulged in these cravings before. Because sometimes these very feelings then trigger us into wanting to soothe them with more of that substance/food/behavior we’d like to use less of.

Here’s how a setup phrase might sound:

 Even though I feel ashamed, remembering eating that whole box of chocolates last night, because I feel so lame spending my nights like that, and I feel this shame like a sinking feeling in my stomach, this is just where I’m at right now.

Notice in all of the setup statement examples I wrote there’s always the same structure: the feeling we are targeting, a specific event (‘a slice of banana bread’), the reason we feel that way, and the body sensation.

If the emotional intensity is too high you might need to initially tap by using less words, like I explained in this other article.

Before I end this article, I want to address a common concern: “If chocolate makes me happy, and I’m tapping on that feeling, am I tapping away the positive (in this case, the happy feeling)?”

No, we are not tapping happiness away. We are helping to separate the artificial and conditioned bond between chocolate and happiness. As we do this, the mind tends to come up with other ways we can feel happy (or whatever positive emotion we are talking about). It’s about increasing our freedom to choose, not decreasing it.

And finally, remember that if any of this feels like too much to tap on by yourself, I recommend in that case that you enlist the aid of a certified practitioner, such as myself, or anyone else whose style you resonate with.

That’s all for today! I’m Bruno Sade, a compassionate, open-minded clinical psychologist, and certified EFT practitioner. I’m dedicated to helping you break free from negative emotional reactions and cultivate a balanced, resilient mindset. My approach is flexible and tailored to your individual needs and preferences. Your experiences, beliefs, and background are always honored and respected in our work together.

What did you think of today’s topic? Any questions or comments about this article, or suggestions for future topics? I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or by sending a private message.

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