Tag: <span>Anxiety</span>

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.

 

How to deal with uncertainty?

Uncertainty makes us anxious and worried.

When we are faced with an uncertain future then we invest even more strongly in making our vision of a perfect future come true.  “We tell ourselves everything will be okay, just as long as I can reach this projection of the future”( Burkeman)

We fear uncertainty so much that we go to extraordinary lengths to get rid of it. Instead we can to do the following to deal with uncertainty:

  • Increase your tolerance for things that are uncertain. “ I can’t control everything and that is okay”
  • Surrendering to it – there are some things than are bigger than you. “ This is bigger than me and it is okay”
  • Trusting the universe/God/whatever you believe in, to keep you safe in uncertain times.
  • ‘See what happens’ is a better reframe for living life than waiting for the perfect opportunity. See where life takes you. Deal with whatever comes up. Is the worst loss, if you failed, tolerable? If it is then that’s all you will need to know. Take the next step and the next.

Uncertainty is where things happen. It is where the opportunities for success, for happiness, for really living – are waiting (Burkeman, 2013)

 

Here’s a book recommendation for you

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking

By Oliver Burkeman

http://www.amazon.in/Antidote-Happiness-People-Positive-Thinking/dp/0865478015

 

Tap on ABC of anxiety to feel calm

Those who’ve experienced anxiety know that it entails worry, tension, catastrophic thoughts, physical sensations in the body etc. So in a way, there are specific components that make up anxiety. In Cognitive behaviour therapy sessions, I give a form to my clients, called the ABC form [A – activating event, B – beliefs and thoughts, C – consequences – emotions and behaviour] There is also a section in the form for rating the sensations in the body. Now, if you add ‘movement’ and ‘5 sense perception’ to this, it makes it more complete. I’m calling these the components of anxiety.

5 sense perception, thoughts, emotions, sensations in body, activating event and movement – all these are significant components of anxiety that we need to address when we experience anxiety.

If you work on these components of anxiety, you will experience profound relief. Let me explain how this can be done with the help of a case example.

My client, B, got very anxious whenever she stepped out of the house. She experienced immense anxiety in the stomach with catastrophic thoughts and images of falling down the stairs, falling on the road, etc. While she was very calm and relaxed at home, going out made her anxious. We worked on some core events from her childhood that had paved the way for this anxiety. We also worked on the beliefs and secondary gain related to anxiety. We tapped on her catastrophic thoughts, wanting to escape from situations, made behavioural experiments (combining cognitive behaviour therapy and EFT) to release her anxiety. Over a span of 2 months, her anxiety reduced drastically. What brought about a significant change in her anxiety was when she started addressing anxiety as soon as she experienced it, on a daily basis, with the suggested guidelines.

I asked her to approach anxiety in the following way whenever she felt anxious:

Activating event/trigger –  Stepping  out of the house.

Even though I get very anxious when as I plan to step out of the house, I accept how I feel.

Sensations in the body – Tightness in chest and heaviness in stomach.

She tapped on her fingertips, or simply pressed her fingertip points when she had sensations in her body. (We tapped on these scenarios in the sessions also)

Even though I have this tightness in my chest and heaviness in my stomach when I lock the door and leave the house, I choose to release this anxiety from my chest and stomach. I choose to calm my stomach.

Whenever she travelled by bus and was caught in a traffic jam, she would panic. So she started tapping on this:

Even though I have this sensation in my stomach and I feel this panic due to the traffic jam, I choose to release this anxiety from my stomach. I choose to calm and relax my stomach.

Thoughts: “What if I fall when I step on a bus!”

Even though I am having this thought right now, I am releasing it. I trust my body to keep me safe.

When she started focusing on her worries and doubts, they increased. So I asked her to tap before the doubts increased in their intensity.

Even though when my doubts cross a certain threshold, I am not able to control my thoughts, I feel helpless, I feel as if I cannot control the situation, I start feeling afraid, I choose to release that fear automatically in that moment.

Emotions: She was angry that she was getting anxious.

Even though I’m angry with myself, I choose to release this anger and replace it with compassion. I choose to be compassionate with myself.  I choose to be gentle with myself.

5 sense perception:  She got an image of falling off the bus.

Even though I see this image, I choose to change it and see myself safe and secure on the bus.

We didn’t tap on movement, but it helps to include that as explained below.

 

EXERCISE

Here is a simple exercise for you.

  • Measure the intensity of Anxiety.
  • Write down the specific components of anxiety, as given below.
  • Tap on these components
  • Measure intensity again.

COMPONENTS OF ANXIETY (Ideal for Daily tapping)

Activating Event– What triggered the anxiety?  Was it a thought? Did something happen? Did someone say something? Are you going out?

Thoughts – What are the thoughts running in your head? Example- “What if I fall?”, “I cannot control my anxiety”.

Emotions: What are you feeling? Example-  Fear of something terrible happening, anger for feeling anxious etc

Sensations in the body –  What do you feel in your body when you’re anxious? What change in your body tells you that you have anxiety?  Example – rapid breathing, sweating, tightness in chest, constriction in throat.

(5 sense perception and movement – Pat Ogden and Janina Fisher talk about this in sensoritmotor psychotherapy)

5 sense perception – Image/smell/taste/touch/sound. Do you see images when you get anxious?  Do you get a funny smell? Do you have a peculiar taste in your mouth? Do you feel warm or cold? Do you hear something?

Movement – This is about noticing the changes in the movement of your body, like the posture of your body and gestures etc.  Do you look down when you are anxious? Do you slump? Do your shoulders sag?

Change your posture and tap on it.

Even though I slump when I get anxious, I choose to sit straight.

Continue to tap this way at least once every day and see how you feel. Remember, this works best when you tap as soon as you feel anxious.

 

Your voice is important

How many times have you suppressed your voice? How often do you suppress what you want to say?
How often do you clearly express yourself?

When I work with clients who have social anxiety, this is one topic that often comes up. Along with fear of judgment they fear that if they express, then there might be a conflict and in order to avoid conflict they don’t speak, ending up suppressing their feelings.

This is not just an issue for people with social anxiety but also for lot of people who stay silent to maintain peace in a situation. For example, if you have a spouse who is very critical, you might stay silent to avoid his/her criticism. Or if you have a very dominating boss, you will not voice your opinions openly in front of him/her. If you feel that any situation has a potential of escalating, you stay quiet and don’t express your opinions.

You don’t express fearing that it will lead to arguments and confrontation. In order to maintain peace, you put up with things that you would not usually put up with. You fear that if you speak then you will get into a confrontation which will lead to unpleasantness.

To maintain our peace of mind, we give up on our voices. To avoid unpleasantness and intense feelings, we give up on our voices!

This video will help you address this – How to find your voice again.
Your feelings are important, your voice is important and if you express with clear intent, you will feel more confident.

LINK TO THE VIDEO