A Tapping Tool to Calm Anxiety When Deep Breathing Can’t
Wednesday, August 23 2017 Melissa Renzi
I use a tapping tool to calm my anxiety when being mindful of my breath doesn't work. Breathing techniques do often work, and as a yoga instructor, I know they can be powerful tools to calm the nervous system. Yet, through my anxiety journey, I also know there are times when breathing through anxiety just doesn’t work. When breath work doesn’t help, try this tapping tool to calm anxiety.
When Could You Use the Tapping Tool to Calm Anxiety?
There are times I’ve been so entrenched in an anxiety attack that when I focused on breathing, my anxiety got worse. An argument with my partner comes to mind. My anxiety had manifested as anger on this occasion. As I tried breathing deeply, I became increasingly aware of my heart racing and heavy tension in my body. This made me feel more stuck, leading to further self-judgment.
This isn’t to dismiss breathing. But if we assume breathing is the answer to anxiety for everyone, we risk further self-criticism and negative self-talk as we wonder what’s wrong with us.
Many find quick relief through mind-body interventions that include tactile stimulation or movement. Tapping, often referred to as emotional freedom technique (EFT), is one of my favorite methods to calm my anxiety and many of my clients report relief as well.
Tapping combines cognitive reframing and acupressure point stimulation to release emotion. It is believed in Chinese medicine that stuck negative emotions result from a disruption of the body's energy system and that acupressure stimulation can help restore balance.
Method to Calm Anxiety with the Tapping Tool
- Rate the level of your anxiety on a scale from 1-10.
- Develop a cognitive reframing statement like: “Even though I feel anxious right now, I deeply accept myself.” With this, we acknowledge our current state while practicing acceptance.
- Tap the acupressure points shown in the video below with two or three fingers of your dominant hand. Begin with the karate chop point and tap each point about seven times repeating the phrase.
- Cycle through the acupressure points several times. Rate your anxiety. Repeat until you feel relief.
Note: You might find one point offers more relief than others. For me, it’s the collarbone because I tend to carry my emotion in my chest and throat. If tapping one spot feels calming, then feel free to stay there.
Anxiety may need to be managed through a variety of resources. These techniques are meant to be complementary tools.
Have you tried tapping to calm anxiety? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.