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EFT research recommendation by NICE (UK Government Body)

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) issued a set of guidelines for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The guidelines are for, “recognising, assessing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children, young people and adults.” (NICE, 2018)

NICE PTSD guidelines include a research recommendation for EFT. For the first time a government agency has deemed EFT worthy of research, which is a huge success for EFT.

The following excerpt is from NICE’s website:

The committee decided to make a research recommendation for emotional freedom technique (EFT), which is one of the two combined somatic and cognitive therapies considered in the guideline (the other one being thought field therapy TFT). EFT was selected for a research recommendation as it showed a considerably larger effect size than TFT in comparisons with nonactive controls in pairwise meta-analysis.

To find out why the committee made the research recommendation on EFT,  see appendix L of evidence review D: psychological, psychosocial and other non-pharmacological interventions for the treatment of PTSD in adults.

References:

AAMET Newsletter, Dec 5, 2018

NICE website: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng116/evidence

Shower exercise to Connect with your Body

WHAT IS TRAUMA?

When a situation exceeds the person’s ability to cope with it, and he/she feels helpless and unable to escape, then it results in trauma. It’s said that trauma does not lie in the event but in the response to that event.

WHAT IS DISSOCIATION?

Dissociation, in other words disconnection from the feelings and body, is a way to escape the inescapable. It is a mode of survival. Trauma and dissociation go hand in hand; when the trauma is over, the person can still be dissociated from that incident. According to Dr. Scaer, “Our brain is strongly wired to protect us from life threats through a series of message systems in the limbic brain that allow us to assess danger and then institute a self-preservation response.” Dissociation is a form of self-preservation response.

If you’ve been through trauma and your body initiated a survival response, dissociation, to cope with the trauma, then you’ll habitually disconnect from your body. However, even if we aren’t dissociated, we have a tendency to disconnect from our bodies. We’re in our minds most of the time, hardly in our bodies.

Here’s a simple and gentle exercise to bring your awareness back to your body. This exercise is by Peter Levine and outlined in his book, In an Unspoken Voice.

In his words,

Take a gentle pulsating shower in the following way – at a comfortable temperature, expose your body to the pulsing water. Direct your awareness into the region in your body where the rhythmical stimulation is focused. Let your consciousness move to each part of your body.

Try to include each part of your body  and pay attention to the sensation in each area, even if it feels blank, numb, or uncomfortable. While you are doing this say, “ this is my arm, head neck, etc “ “i welcome you back”

You can also do this exercise by gently tapping some parts of your body with fingertips.

When done over time this exercise will re-establish awareness of your body boundary through awakening skin sensations.

Youtube Live Series

I have started a Youtube Live series on EFT for Physical Issues.

The first part was aired today and the replay will be available for the next 4 days.


The second part will be aired next week, and the third in Dec.

Every month I will be making Live presentations on Youtube on topics related to emotional and physical health.

Sign up to be notified every month.

Empty the Barrel

Have you ever felt that even though you’ve weathered the toughest crises in the past, now even a small problem makes you feel like you’re losing control and you can’t take it anymore? That’s because your barrel is full. You cannot pile on more things on your system otherwise it will break down. This is what burn out looks like.

The full barrel effect refers to how when the immune system becomes overburdened and the body is full to its capacity of fighting pathogens and stress, you get autoimmune conditions where the body attacks itself.

“As long as your barrel is less than full, however, your immune system is still able to deal with what it confronts every day. But once the immune system becomes overburdened and that barrel fills to capacity it can begin to misread signals, causing the immune system to make costly mistakes and attack the body itself.”( Nakazawa, 2008)

So empty your barrel. You need to release the stress, let go of the adverse experiences and the stuck emotions that are keeping your barrel full. Once you start emptying the barrel, you will have more space in your body and mind to deal with new stressors. If your system is full of stress, then you don’t have any mental capacity to deal with new stuff, and anything new, no matter how small, can cause a breakdown.

 

Read more on the barrel effect here:

https://donnajacksonnakazawa.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/the-barrel-effect-or-its-the-last-straw-that-breaks-the-camels-back/

 

 

Intrusive thoughts

Intrusive thoughts are repetitive, anxiety provoking, and pretty frustrating. They make you feel as if you aren’t in control. They can cause a lot of anxiety, shame and fear. It is important to understand what these thoughts are and what they aren’t.

This video explains negativity bias – our mind’s tendency to think negative, how these repetitive thoughts can make us anxious, why they come and how to understand and handle them better.

 

GENERIC TAP ALONG

This is a generic tap along video to help you decrease the frequency of intrusive thoughts. Remember to note down specific aspects from this video that apply to you, and tap on them individually.

Collapsing Global issues in EFT: The tabletop metaphor

This is a really good metaphor used by Gary Craig to explain how we need to work on specific events to collapse globally stated issues.

The tabletop is the global issue and the legs are the specific events that support the global issue.

Examples of Global Issues

Everyone rejects me.

I am unworthy of love and happiness.

This world is a dangerous place.

My co-workers always belittle me.

My work life sucks.

My partner is emotionally unavailable.

I’m unhappy

These are global beliefs or feelings that you need to work on. Since these issues are global in nature, just tapping on these will only bring partial or no relief. On the other hand, if you find the legs that support the table top, the specific events, then the table top will crumble.

 

Specific events

Start with events from your childhood and then work your way up to the events in adulthood. It’s good to start with the lesser intensity ones, if you are working by yourself or even with a practitioner, to avoid getting too overwhelmed. Once you’ve successfully worked on 2-3 of these smaller ones, go to the big ones. Once you’ve worked on the bigger intensity events, then the remaining smaller ones will also collapse.

Examples

My teacher slapped me in the 2nd std/grade.

I was bullied in the school when I was in the 5th std/grade.

I was compared to my sister and told that I weighed more than her.

My nanny abused me when my parents had gone to my Aunt’s house.

I hurt my knees when I fell down riding my bicycle.

To understand the EFT concepts, you can purchase the EFT concepts illustrated Ebook where all the concepts are depicted in pictures.

 

Breaking the habit of not taking breaks!

How many times have you continued an activity without a break?

For example, you are very passionate about a project or a new hobby that you’ve started. Do you try to finish the project without taking breaks, without paying any attention to sleep and other important daily self-care routines?

When you literally dive into something like this without a proper self-care routine, you run the risk of burnout. This can also lead to procrastination. You may collapse after this intense period of activity and not want to start the activity again. Once in a while all of us do this. We will work non-stop to meet a deadline or get too engrossed in an activity and it is okay. But if this becomes a habit, it has to change.

Non-stop and intense activity periods may be fuelled by one or more of these reasons:

  • Not wanting to take a break till you get a satisfactory result.
  • Thinking that taking breaks will decrease your concentration.
  • You don’t feel good enough about yourself and your work/activity is a way of proving to yourself that you are good enough.
  • You believe that work is superior to rest.
  • You believe in all or nothing thinking. Either do it all or not do at all.
  • You believe if you don’t do ALL, you will fail in it
  • You belief in ‘perfect’ results and won’t rest till the end result is ‘Perfect’.

How does this impact you? It will:

  • Drain you of energy.
  • Cause burnout
  • Impact your physical health
  • Disrupt your sleep
  • Reduce motivation to do other things

What can help?

  • Not letting the activity affect your sleep, exercise and eating routine.
  • Taking regular breaks, even if they are short.
  • Having control over any new activity that you undertake.
  • Listening to your body and taking breaks when it’s screaming for rest.
  • EFT

EFT SCRIPT

Even though when I dive into something, I don’t take breaks, I have a pattern of engaging in an activity non-stop, I accept and forgive myself.

Even though I cannot stop once I start something, I neglect my emotional and physical health, I would like to forgive myself.

EB- I don’t get up till I finish something

EC-I tend to push myself

UE- I feel I need to do it properly

UN- If I don’t do ALL, I’m going to fail, or not do well.

CH- – The more time I spend at something, the better the outcome will be.

CB -If I don’t spend that time I feel it’s not good enough.

UA- I procrastinate anything that takes a lot of energy for me.

TOP OF HEAD- I avoid it because I know if get absorbed into it, I won’t take breaks.

(Add whatever comes up for you)

EB-  What if there is a better way of doing things? What if I do a little daily?

EC- What if I can get work done without collapsing, procrastinating or losing motivation?

UE- What if I take breaks and engage in micro self-care practices to get better results, without getting burnt out?

UN-I choose to take breaks and give myself the rest that my mind and body deserve.

CH- If I take breaks, then I will be able to feel better even after the work is done. I won’t collapse. I won’t procrastinate.

CB- I choose to take frequent breaks.

UA- I choose to do a little daily.

TOP OF HEAD – I choose to make self-care a priority. This way I can get more work done.

‘Willing Hands’ to Diffuse Anger

I came across this simple and practical technique to diffuse anger on NICABM.

This technique can be used in two situations

  1. To diffuse anger
  2. To stay calm when you are discussing something with your spouse. You can ask your spouse to use this technique as well.

All you need to do is to open your palms and keep them (also known as willing hands) on your knees or at the side of your body.

 

 

You can also watch a video on this.

Effect of Negative Language on children

Children that grow up in households where parents use degrading, humiliating and disrespectful language with them and make them feel “not enough”, usually develop low self esteem. Many children grow up in families hearing sentences like –

“You are a bad kid!”

You shouldn’t have been born!”

“You will never succeed in life!”

“You’re good for nothing!”

“You have been a curse to us!”

“You are dumb!”

“Your cousin is much more smarter than you!”

… and much worse!

In fact a client revealed how his alcoholic father went to the extent of saying –“You cannot trust me!”

Many parents rely on criticism and negative language believing that it will make their children responsible. Or they may think that they own their children and have the right to do whatever they want with them. Parents also use frequent comparisons with siblings, sarcasm and threats in their conversations.

Effect of Negative Language

Infants understand facial expressions even before they start communicating. They get affected by hearing shouting and yelling in the house. From the age of 2, they begin to respond to their parent’s communication. If a mother yells at her child, the child may yell back or withdraw into his own world. Slowly as children grow older, the negative statements used by their parents start having a stronger impact on their emotional development. They feel unloved, unwanted, undeserved and unprotected.

Abusive and hurtful words that parents use affect all the areas of children’s lives. It affects their emotional, cognitive and social development. They grow up with feelings of ‘not being perfect’. They feel inadequate and blame themselves for being the cause of parent’s frequent reprimands and negative communication. They feel that they are constantly being watched with a critical lens. There is a feeling of being judged all the time.

These children grow up to be harsh on themselves. It can even make them demanding of others and set very high expectations for themselves as well as for others. They become sensitive about negative comments and there is a tremendous amount of guilt. Kids having verbally abusive parents can even get into substance abuse or commit suicide.

In my interaction with clients with low self esteem, I have found that “hurtful words used by parents” has a profound effect on their self esteem. And when I ask them about how much they think it was their fault in the way their parents spoke to them, they are unable to intellectually find a fault within themselves but emotionally nevertheless, they are unable to shed the guilt and the “burden” of the parental statements. Even as adults, they accept all that was told by their parents. And their whole life is defined by what they ‘heard’ rather than what they ‘are’.

Virginia Satir, a renowned psychotherapist known for her approach in family therapy, says, “Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family”.

Frequent criticism can also make a child eager to always please others. The desire to be seen, heard, understood is a natural desire (Branden, 1983) but only when it takes precedence over vales and honesty and takes control over your life, does it become a problem.

Repeated comparisons with siblings and other children, veiled threats (I will leave you and go away forever, if you do not eat properly), gender related remarks (Don’t cry like a girl) etc. also have a lasting impact on them.

Stanley Coopersmith, in 1967, identified the link between self-esteem and frailty, noting the “indications that in children domination, rejection, and severe punishment result in lowered self-esteem. Under such conditions they have fewer experiences of love and success and tend to become generally more submissive and withdrawn (though occasionally veering to the opposite extreme of aggression and domination)”.

Conclusion:

Nathaniel Branden (1983) says,

“I often tell parents, “Be careful what you say to your children. They may agree with you.” Before calling a child, stupid” or “clumsy” or “bad” or “a disappointment,” it is important for a parent to consider the question, “Is this how I wish my child to experience him- or herself?”

Some parents usually in a fit of anger, stress or frustration say hurtful words. And some parents keep repeating these words under some kind of misconception that they are doing good for the children.

Positive language will help your child in feeling loved and wanted and in realizing his self worth. Here are a few suggestions for responsible parenting:

  1. Deal with your own ‘past baggage’ or anger with EFT/Psychotherapy.
  2. Use language that you would like your children to use with you.
  3. Except when it comes to safety issues, where sometimes a strong ‘No’ is required, try using positive language with your child. Instead of saying “what not to do” suggest “what to do” instead. Rewarding positive behavior would also help.
  4. Show respect to your children.
  5. Be responsive and warm with your children.
  6. Do not compare unnecessarily with other children. Each child is unique and treasure their uniqueness.
  7. Avoid using ‘ derogatory’ gender related remarks with kids.
  8. Do not use hurtful conditions in your language. E.g. – I will leave you and go away.
  9. Do not use sarcasm in your language with children.
  10. If you are upset with your own personal problems, then tell your child that you need some time and speak to the child in a calm manner despite being upset.
  11. Do not use emotional blackmail in your language with them. It can be very bewildering for small kids.
  12. Positive discipline is better than corporal punishment.

References:-
Coopersmith, Stanley. 1967. The Antecedents of Self-Esteem. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.

Berk, L. E. (1996) Child development. (3rd ed.) U.S.A: Prentice Hall Inc

Branden, N. (1983) Honoring the self: Self esteem and Personal Transformation. New York: J.P Tarcher Inc.