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Thinking same thoughts?

Our present and future is always coloured by our past. As Joe Dispenza says and even neuroscience suggests, if you keep thinking the same thoughts, then the same neural patterns will get strengthened, the same neurons will fire and wire together. So when we keep reviving our past and the strong emotions associated with it, the body keeps getting into extended periods of stress. The body cannot differentiate between real and imagined event. Hence when we keep narrating or retelling the same stories in our head throughout the day, the body stays in that stressful mode.

Example, if you’ve been cheated by someone in the past, and very frequently you think about how bad that experience was, the body experiences the same emotions over and over again, the same neurons fire and wire. This becomes a habitual pattern where negative events will stick to us and positive ones will slide by easily.

That’s where EFT comes in. When you work on specific episodes with tapping, the narration is done in a structured manner where every crescendo of the story is tapped upon. This sends deactivating signals to the amygdala and the neural connections for that story are weakened. This changes how you feel about your past, which in turn creates a feedback loop and new thoughts and feelings are generated about the past that aren’t stressful to the body. Acceptance and being able to let go create a calmer physiology.

A short excerpt from Joe Dipenza’s interview.

“Become conscious of your negative thoughts.

People have a habit of clinging to the familiar and the known.  Most of the times we’re not even aware of what we’re thinking. Observe the thoughts. You will feel uncomfortable and will want to distract yourself. Any kind of change requires becoming uncomfortable to some degree.

Changing your thoughts consciously on a daily basis is needed.” You can see the full interview here https://youtu.be/ereahWKwNV8

Here are some tips and suggestions

  1. If you’re going through a tough time, take it slow. Choose a few methods that work for you and practice them regularly. Start with a practitioner or attend a workshop to understand the methods properly and then apply them on yourself.
  2. Always accept how you feel. Burying or acting upon feelings don’t help.
  3. Taming your thoughts takes time. Changing the critical inner voice to an encouraging one takes time – have compassion for yourself.
  4. Taking responsibility for what happened in the past doesn’t mean that you deliberately created that experience and you need to blame yourself for it. When you take responsibility, you operate from place of power instead of victimhood and that brings about changes. You stop blaming others for everything and decide to work on what you can do about the situation. All this becomes easier with EFT.

Growth & Survival

We have two very important survival mechanisms: GROWTH and PROTECTION

Dr Lipton did an experiemient in the laboratory on endothelian cells. When he introduced toxins into the culture dish, the cells retreated from toxins, just as humans move away from lions and tigers. These cells “gravitated” towards nutrients just like humans move towards nourishing food and love/connection.
Gravitating towards nutrients is a Growth response and Retreating from danger is a Protection response.

Now these two mechanisms cannot work efficiently at the same time!
So when we become protective – trying to protect ourselves from real or imaginery danger- we are operating from a protective mode. We go into fight or flight and the body channelizes the enegry to tissues and limbs to be ready for protection mode. Hence the growth is inhibited.
An excerpt from Dr Lipton’s book:
“Inhibiting growth processes is also debilitating in that growth is a process that not only expends energy but is also required to produce energy…the longer you stay in protection, the more you compromise your growth” (p. 116)

Most of the times we are not at a point where there is extreme danger to our survival and since humans are multicellular, not all of our cells have to be in growth or protection mode at the same time. Only depending on the severity of the treat, the cells engage in protection response.
While we can survive threats, chronic stress can inhibit growth mechanisms and can compromise your health.

Bottom line is that not only do we need to cope with stress in a healthy manner but also actively seek joy and move towards fulfilling loving lives where growth processes are stimulated (p. 117)

In order to move towards joy and lead more fulfilling lives we need to lessen our daily stress and also the stress from past experiences. What better way to do it than EFT! It can help you release negative experiences and reinforce positive ones.

Reference: Lipton, B. (2005). Biology of Belief. India, Hay House.

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Subconcious Programming

Our subconscious mind retains all of our early life’s data. It’s a storehouse of learned experiences and instincts. It’s basically a ‘repository of stimulus -response’ tapes from our childhood. (Lipton, 2005)

Subconscious mind is habitual. Think of the last time you lost it when someone did something. For example, I used to dislike it when I saw a piece of misplaced furniture. If a person sat on a chair and didn’t put the chair back in its place or position, I would get irritated. My dad is very organized and growing up I’ve observed and retained a lot of his habits around organization.
So in essence, my overreaction came from my subconscious mind which had stored all the observations about my dad’s organized behaviour. Of course, it also made me very good in organizing stuff which is a great skill but at the same time, it also made me inflexible and a perfectionist. After I realized that my overreactions were coming from my subconscious mind, I became more mindful and conscious of my reactions. Now, it doesn’t bother me much. Although I will still put the chair back in its place 😅, I do so without any irritation.

In his book, the Biology of Belief, Dr Bruce Lipton says that the subconscious mind is more powerful neurologically than conscious mind. Our conscious mind is the state in which we are aware, conscious, creative and attentive.

If you read his book, you will come to know about many fascinating facts. Did you know that the cell’s main brain is not the nucleus but the membrane? Bruce Lipton explains how this is tied to how the mind influences the body.

The membrane consists of receptor (awareness) and effector (action) proteins. “These protein complexes are the fundamental units of cellular intelligence” The cell membrane interacts with the environment to produce responses that help in sustaining life. The cell membrane is the brain of the cell. And our brain is the main unit in a human body and each cell of our body has to “acquiesce control to the brain..the brain controls the behavior of the body’s cells” (Lipton, p. 101)

The mind is a function of the physical brain.
What this means is that we can heal if we properly use our conscious mind. Our conscious mind has control over the cells of our body and the way we think and feel can affect our cells and thus lead to healing or aggravate ill health. That’s why working on our subconscious beliefs is so important for a healthy mind and body.

Our conscious mind is very powerful. It can choose how to behave in a situation, it can analyze the data coming from subconscious mind and so and so forth. Those of you who know EFT, know that with EFT, we engage the prefrontal cortex, the conscious mind, and that can override the subconscious mind’s default behaviors.
Work on your subconscious beliefs, remember to take up specific events to transform these beliefs.

Reference: Lipton, B. (2005). Biology of Belief. India, Hay House.

Learn about Genetic Deternimsm and Epigenetics here

Genetic determinism vs Epigenetics

Nature vs nurture will be always be a hot topic of debate. I remember reading about it for the first time in my psychology class in 12th grade. It was a fascinating topic and still is. Much research has taken place in this area. To make it short, Identical twins studies suggest that even though identical twins share the same genetic material, they often don’t share the same diseases or health outcomes.

The stringent concept of genetic determinism states that we are born with a set of genes and we are bound to get the same diseases our parents and grandparents got. Whereas epigenetics drawing from identical twin studies points out how even if we cannot change the genes, we can change the gene expression, meaning the way the gene expresses itself.

Bruce Lipton, in his book, Biology of Belief, says that Darwin’s theory has undermined the role of nurture (environment) and led us to believe that ‘genes control biology’. He further goes on to say that most diesease like diabetes, cancer etc are due to ‘complex interactions amongst multiple genes and environmental factors, and not due to a single gene’ and, ‘the environmental influences including nutrition, stress, and emotions, can modify those genes without changing their basic blueprint’

Which simply means, environment can triumph over hereditary.

Chromosomes carry genetic material and they are covered by proteins like ‘sleeves’. When the genes are covered, their information cannot be read. What you need is an environmental signal to make the protein to change shape , which allows the genes to be read ( p. 38, Lipton, 2005)
So the environment makes a huge difference in whether your genes will be expressed or not. For example, if you believe you have a ‘diabetic gene’, firstly it’s not a single gene, and secondly the environment will determine whether you will become a diabetic or not, whether the diabetic gene will be turned on (expressed) or off (silenced).

Given that stress, emotions, lifestyle can change gene expression, we have a lot in our control. Here’s what you can do with EFT, meditation and other techniques:

Change your negative believes about health. Nocebo effect is when negative beliefs about health make you sick. If you believe you will fall sick, most probably you will. Hence it’s important to release health anxiety, change your thoughts patterns and transform limiting health related beliefs.

Reference: Lipton, B. (2005). Biology of Belief. India, Hay House.

Personal self-tapping session

Sharing a personal self-tapping session.

 

I got a terrible spasm in my lower back a few days ago. It was very painful, I couldn’t walk or sit properly. Since I had a couple of client sessions that day, I decided to use self-tapping, my favourite go-to tool.
Half an hour before the client call, I sat on my chair and started tapping on myself.
I wasn’t able to bend forward so I started there. That’s how I measured the pain intensity. You don’t always have to use the suds scale. You can measure pain by movement as well, as in how much can you bend forward or backward, sideways etc and when there’s a change in that in terms of flexibility, it indicates relief.

( I was mindful of not injuring myself and did this very gently so please take all precautions if you have pain and also tap on underlying emotional factors for the pain)

Even though I have this pain in my lower back and I cannot bend at all, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
1 round on this.

Tested by bending and although I still had the pain ( a bit less) I was able to bend forward a little.

Next round was on, Even though I’m able to bend forward a little bit now and that’s great, I still have this pain in my lower back and I completely accept myself.
Tested again by bending; was able to bend even more.
Pain was going down.

In 5-6 rounds I was able to touch my feet while sitting on my chair with minimal pain. In these rounds I also included tapping on how my posture had been incorrect in the last few days and how that might have contributed to the pain ( Even though I wasn’t sitting properly yesterday and it might have caused this spasm, ….) Then I tried bending backward, it was difficult.

Tapped on, Even though I’m not able to bend backward, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
3 rounds and I was able to do a better backbend.
By then within 30 mins my pain was less and I was able to do the client session.
The pain increased a bit in the evening.
I usually have a monthly chat with my EFT colleague and friend and thankfully it was scheduled that day. She helped me tap on the frustration of the pain and how my body needed rest. It was just a 15 minutes tapping session but it really helped.

I didn’t take any painkiller or apply any pain relief spray. The pain has been minimal since then and I’ve been doing client sessions as well as resting. The spasm is completely gone. I’ve been able to get back to yoga and stretching exercises.

Emotional hijacking

Think of a time when you completely lost it, when you felt completely overtaken by an emotion.
Getting to know your brain can be very effective in managing emotions.
I’m including a link for the 3rd Part of the FB Live series on “Making Emotions our Allies”
It’s on emotional hijacking of the brain. Get to know about the inner workings of your brain and body; what happens when you’re in the throes of an intense emotion.
In this video I discuss,
1) The Triune Brain
2) How does the information from the environment enter our brain for processing?
3) What does the brain do in a survival mode?
4) What happens to our ‘thinking brain’ when we experience emotions?

Here’s the link to the video
https://youtu.be/OT2FDyDItNs

How emotions are made?

FB series Part 4

The clasical view of emotions suggests that they are universal, that each emotion has a distinct set of bodily sensations (called fingerprints) and that how they’re experienced isn’t contextual or culture specific. However, research has proven something quite different. Lisa Feldman Barrett in her book, How emotions are made?, challenges the classical universal view of emotions.
In her book she makes a much more logical case for emotions, that is ultimately more empowering for us.
Wouldn’t we all like to feel that we can control our emotions, that we aren’t at the mercy of our emotions.
Learn more about this theory of constructed emotions, how we actively construct our emotions instead of being a passive recipient of them. In this video, learn how each emotion is felt differently by different people, how facial expressions for each emotion vary from culture to culture and are very context dependent.

It is found in experiments that when electrodes were attached to the person’s face to measure how the facial muscles move during an emotion expression, there is more variety than uniformity.

 

A recent study conducted by Jack, Caldara, and Schyns (2012), demonstrates that we do not have a “universal language of emotion”. Sad, happy or angry facial expressions are seen in distinctive ways. “The study found that the Chinese participants relied on the eyes more to represent facial expressions, while Western Caucasians relied on the eyebrows and mouth”

The bodily response to different emotions are too similar to be thought of as distinct fingerprints.

So the same emotion will vary in the same individual and other individuals in different contexts in the way the bodily responses show up.

Find out more in this video

 

How to tap on anxiety and take its messages?

I’m sharing a personal example of a recent situation where tapping on anxiety and taking its messages really helped me.

A few weeks ago I enrolled in a meditation course. It was an online event and I was excited to be a part if it. But by the end of the first day I was feeling weird about the class. I couldn’t place my finger on what it was, the only thing that stood out for me was the way the class was conducted which didn’t feel comfortable. I decided to go for the second class so that I could give the class/instructor a benefit of doubt. The second day I felt even worse. I felt that it wasn’t working for me, the teachings, conduct and content felt totally out of sync with my sensibilities.
After the class, I tapped on acknowledging my anxiety and taking the message from it. After tapping, I felt calmer and the message in my anxiety was clear – the class didn’t feel like a safe place to learn, hence I decided to quit the course. I felt relieved and was reminded of many other situations where anxiety literally saved me from getting into a situation that felt totally out of sync with my values and beliefs etc. I think the course was probably beneficial for others but it surely wasn’t my cup of tea, and I wasn’t about to force myself to do something that didn’t sit well with me.
I also became aware that the content of the course was more like spiritual bypassing. It didn’t really gel with my philosophy of seeing things in a context, having a balanced view of the world, honouring all emotions and taking their messages, taking into account our unique contexts and situations with compassion, etc – these are at the heart of my work with my clients.

In short, my anxiety helped me to see things clearly and to align my actions with my beliefs and values.

WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Fear is about sensing danger in the present- the here and now, whereas anxiety is a form of fear of the future.
Worry, bodily sensations and tension are ingredients of anxiety.

HOW CAN TAPPING HELP?
Tapping is very effective for anxiety and while tapping if you can also acknowledge and take the message in anxiety, then it’ll be even more helpful.

Tapping on Anxiety
Here is a step by step process for tapping on mild to medium level of anxiety. This process uses reframes ( looking at anxiety with new perspectives) hence reading this article will help in order to understand what it means to take the messages from your anxiety.

If your anxiety is in an intense state then just tapping through the points and saying anything related to anxiety that comes to your mind, several rounds, will help. Once the anxiety has lessened (within 4-5 range on a scale of 0 to 10), then try this process.

1. Start by Tapping on how your body feels when you’re anxious.

Even though I’m anxious and I feel this heaviness in my chest (the bodily sensations) , I accept myself/acknowledge this anxiety in my body.
Reminder Phrase: this anxiety and this heaviness in my chest

( If there’s no body sensation and it’s only the mind chatter, worry, catastrophic thoughts that create anxiety for you, then tap on, Even though I have so many thoughts running in my head, so many what ifs, I deeply and completely accept myself.)

Tip: Tap on catastrophic thoughts, feelings and body sensations – whatever feels most pressing or prominent for you.

2. Tap on why you’re feeling anxious. You can keep a diary and note when you feel most anxious or at what point your anxiety starts building up. Based on that you’ll have a clue as to what is causing your anxiety every time it comes up.
Even though I’m anxious because I have an upcoming presentation, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Reminder Phrase: this anxiety because….

Even though I’m anxious probably because I’ve been working non-stop, I deeply and completely accept myself
Reminder Phrase: this anxiety because….

Even though I’m anxious because this situation-person doesn’t feel right, I deeply and completely accept myself
Reminder Phrase: this anxiety because….

3. Tackle all the high intensity aspects for the example you’re tapping on.
In EFT, aspects refers to the pieces of a problem, the different parts of a problem. If you’re new to EFT then download this free manual from EFTi to understand the basic process in EFT.

Examples:
Even though I’m anxious about how the presentation will go, I deeply and completely accept myself/I accept how I feel
Reminder Phrase: this anxiety about how the presentation will go

Even though I’m worried that I might be judged by others, I deeply and completely accept myself/I accept how I feel
Reminder Phrase: this worry that I might be judged by others

Even though I’m worried that I might forget what to say, I deeply and completely accept myself/I accept how I feel
Reminder Phrase: this worry that I might forget what to say

4. Taking the message – Tap on what you think your anxiety is trying to convey.

Examples for tapping on taking the message from anxiety:

Even though I still feel anxious, I’m willing to take the message in my anxiety.
Reminder Phrase(s): This remaining anxiety/I’m willing to take the message in it

Even though I’m still anxious, I acknowledge that I feel anxious because I haven’t finished these pending tasks and maybe it’s time to start working on them.
Reminder Phrase(s): this remaining anxiety/I acknowledge that…

Even though I feel anxious, it seems like I’m going too fast, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. And maybe I need to slow down.
Reminder Phrase(s): It looks like I’m going too fast/Maybe I need to slow down

Even though I feel anxious and it seems my anxiety is telling me that this situation isn’t working for me and that I don’t have to push through this, or force myself to stay in this situation, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Reminder Phrase(s): this anxiety seems to tell me that ….

Let me know how the process goes for you.
If you have chronic anxiety, then working with a tapping buddy or EFT Practitioner will help.

 

Fitting in vs Belonging

This is a theme that comes up often when I work with clients. Shame and “Trying to fit in vs. belonging”

Often loneliness drives poeple to try to fit in with others; fit in means conforming to what others want rather than being your authentic self. Belongingness on the other hand is truly being your authentic self and not trying to please others to get their approval.

When we try to fit in by people pleasing, trying to gain other’s approval and let go of our core values to fit in, shame sets in. We might also try to fit in by oversharing our stories with people who haven’t earned the right to hear our stories. This also leads to shame.When we don’t own our stories we feel awkward sharing them and yet want acceptance in the process. People with whom we share these stories often get confused, scared and overwhelmed when we overshare without having established a trusting relationship with them first. This further intensifies the shame and alienates poeple. It’s a loop you see!

Often when we are faced with shame, we disconnect or alienate from others, turn against others ( hostility) or become people pleasers. None of these strategies to combat shame works.

So in order to deal with shame, here’s what I’ve found usually helps:

1. Acknowledge the shame with compassion and listen to the message in shame.

2. The message in shame is to accept your story, own your past no matter how good or bad it was. A dysfunctional past can bring up shame and even a privileged background can bring up shame.

3. Acknowledge how your body reflects your shame, do you slouch when you’re sitting or walking? Do you slouch in the company of others? All bodily indicators of shame. Trying to appear smaller than you are. So my suggestion is to try walking taller and straighter deliberately. Changing the physiology, changes the mental state

4. Restore your dignity. Accept dignity and integrity as vital parts of you. You’re worthy no matter what you’ve done or been through. If you’ve made a mistake, take responsibility and let go of the guilt and shame. If you haven’t, let go of the imposed shame ( often imposed by culture/society/religion) and restore your dignity.

5. Connect with poeple who are authentic. Don’t try to fit in, find a tribe where you feel like you belong.

6. You have a right to love yourself/others, right to dignity, right to worthiness and right to be your authentic self. One thing I’ve learnt about being authentic is that it doesn’t mean that you have an attitude of, “I don’t care” or that you need to be brutally honest with others, which often shows up as rudeness and lack of respect for other’s perspectives. A kind and graceful honesty is more authentic than being brutal in your honesty. Think about it! ( It’s a topic for another day!)

7. Don’t play small. Let your light shine through.

8. And last but not the least tap on all the above! Lighten the ‘shame load’ and the tension that your body is carrying.

References:

Client cases

Brene Brown’s work

Karla Mclaren’s work

Mind- Reading

THINKING ERRORS: Mind Reading

Mind reading is a cognitive distortion wherein we negatively interpret others’ facial expressions, behaviours, words etc and believe that they’re thinking negatively of us or looking down on us.

For example, assuming that someone doesn’t like you because they’re scowling. They might be scowling because they’re in pain but you’ve already assumed that they think badly of you.
I often hear people say, I know what he/she thinks of me. Yes, you can have an idea but if you really investigate this belief, you’ll be surprised how often you are wrong.

These strategies work for me, they might work for you too. Give it a try when yo do mind reading next time:

  1. Give the person a benefit of doubt. Think of other reasons for their behaviour.
  2. See how the person behaves the next time you meet them. Is there a change? Take the new behaviour into account.
  3. If you’re close to the person, ask them. Understanding what the person is going through will give you a clue.
  4. Put yourself in their shoes and try to imagine if your behaviour were to be misinterpreted by another person. Wouldn’t you like the person to give you a benefit of doubt or at least a chance to explain?
  5. Take a look at how you feel about yourself. Do you like and accept yourself? The more you’re prone to self dislike, the more the chances are that you’ll read others behaviours as negative towards you. ( Some behaviours are pretty easy to interpret and you’ll know for sure they’re rude or insulting towards you but most facial expressions and behaviours fall in the grey zone. It’s for those grey zone behaviours where mind reading isn’t helpful. )
  6. If you’ve already acted on your assumption and you don’t like how you behaved, simply apologise.