How do you get rid of stress and reduce anxiety in your body?
Stress can be a major obstacle to performance.
That’s why I interviewed Nick Ortner, New York Times bestselling author and expert on the Emotional Freedom Technique – also known as tapping.
Tapping involves physically tapping on the endpoints of major meridians of your body.
When you tap on these points, you send a calming signal to your amygdala.
Your amygdala is your brain’s fight-or-flight response center and is activated when you feel stress.
When you are anxious about a future event, you lose focus and have physical symptoms because of this stress response. You can freeze, fright, or run – but can’t think, create, or enjoy.
Many people power their way through stress – but tapping allows you to release this anxiety and turn off the brain’s fight-or-flight response. It tells the body it’s safe and allows the focus, flow, and pleasure to come in.
How to Tap:
- Pick something in your life that you’re anxious about (ideally an upcoming event).
- Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and tune into your anxiety around this thing. Try to feel the anxiety in your body. Give the anxiety a number.
- When you’re ready, open your eyes.
- Take 4 fingers and tap on the “karate chop point” – the outside of your hand below the pinky. As you tap, repeat the following phrase 3 times: “Even though I feel all this anxiety, I choose to relax now.”
- Take 2 fingers and tap where your eyebrow meets the nose. Say, “This anxiety,” as you tap. (You can do this on one side or both sides of the body since the major meridians run down both sides of the body.)
- As you say, “This anxiety,” tap on the bone on the side of the eye.
- Tap under the nose with 2 fingers as you imagine the event you’re anxious about.
- Continue to imagine this event as you tap below your mouth in the chin above your crease. As you tap, notice any distracting thoughts and let them go as you continue to acknowledge your anxiety.
- Go about an inch below your collarbones and out to the side. Tap with all 10 fingers and continue to imagine the event. The goal is to fire the amygdala in order to disengage it.
- As you continue to tap, notice any other memories that come up. Anxiety is manufactured by the body and brain from previous experiences, so pay attention to what you think of.
- Continue to be present with your anxiety and tap about 3 inches under your armpit. (For women, this is on your bra line.)
- Tap the top of your head with 5 fingers.
- Return to the eyebrow, allowing your anxiety to evolve.
- Tap on the side of the eye, asking what would happen if you released your anxiety. We often hold onto anxiety for a reason.
- As you tap under the eye, ask how your anxiety is serving you and how you can release it.
- Tap under the nose and re-run the movie of the event in your mind. Your anxiety may be lowered, so bring it back up in order to clear it completely.
- Tap under the mouth and continue to be present with your anxiety.
- Tap under your collarbone, and notice if you find your anxiety replaced with a more soothing image. This is not an image you should will; it should come up naturally.
- Tap underneath your armpit, allowing yourself to let go of the stress in your body.
- Tap your crown and be present with the positive feelings that start to come up.
- As you tap on your eyebrow, say, “It’s safe to let all this go.”
- As you tap on the side of the eye, say, “It’s safe to release any remaining anxiety.”
- Tap under your eye and say, “To feel strong and confident.”
- Tap under your nose and say, “Feeling strong and confident in my body.”
- Tap under your mouth and say, “Feeling safe in my body.”
- Tap below your collarbone and say, “I’ve got this.”
- Tap underneath your armpit and say, “And I know that now.”
- Tap the top of your head and say, “I’ve got this.”
- Stop tapping, take a deep breath, let go, and tune back in. Remember your number from Step 1. What is your anxiety now?
Want more from Nick Ortner? If you enjoy this, I encourage you to purchase Nick’s brand-new book: The Tapping Solution for Manifesting Your Greatest Self. This book takes people through a 21-day process designed to help you break through. The first week focuses on calming your anxiety and panic. The second week works on clearing out any old beliefs. During the third week, you work on creating a vision for your life. You can purchase the book here.