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How to use tapping to ease an anxious mind

Last Modified: February 27, 2024

Healthy Mind


Emotional freedom technique (EFT) or “tapping” has taken the internet by storm. Whether it’s TikTok videos, Instagram reels or even Facebook groups dedicated to this anxiety-reducing method, people are tuning in and giving tapping a try.

What is the emotional freedom technique?

EFT is a method people can use to help manage emotions, such as anger, and troubling thoughts, such as worry. Some believe it can lower sensations of stress or anxiety as well.

Also called tapping, EFT instructs participants to tap their fingertips on certain points on their hand, head and torso, similar to those used in acupuncture.

While experts have yet to agree on the true efficacy of EFT and urge people not to view the practice as a replacement for care from a medical or mental health professional for serious issues such as depression or trauma, tapping does provide relief for some experiencing negative thoughts or tension, which can hinder happiness. EFT is one of many conservative tools you can try to improve mood and manage negativity or upsetting thoughts.

How to do emotional freedom technique (EFT)

You can do EFT, or tapping, whenever you feel upset or stressed out, by following these simple steps:

  • Name it. Think of an issue that's bothering you or making you feel anxious.
  • Rate it. Measure how the issue makes you feel and rate how badly it’s affecting you on a scale from 0-10. A score of 0 means you don't feel bad at all, and 10 means you feel as bad as possible. Write down this number.
  • State it. Create a statement that describes your issue, followed by a statement of self-acceptance. For example, you could say, "Even though I feel anxious about work tomorrow, I deeply and completely accept myself." Or, "Even though my partner broke up with me, I deeply and completely accept myself."

Time to tap

  • Tap repeatedly on the edge of your palm, below your little finger. While you tap, say your statement out loud three times.
  • Now tap on the rest of the points on your body, one at a time, in this order:

    1) Top, center of head
    2) Inside edge of one eyebrow
    3) Outside edge of one eye
    4) Between your nose and your upper lip
    5) Between the bone underneath one eye
    6) Between your lower lip and your chin
    7) Beneath one collarbone (find the notch beneath the inside edge of the collarbone)
    8) Under one armpit (about 4 inches below the armpit)

    While you tap, state your issue over and over. For example, you might repeat "Anxious about test," or "We broke up." Tap on each point in this order.
  • Stop and remeasure how you feel about your issue.
  • Repeat the steps if needed. Tap until you can give your issue a lower number, or until you feel better.

Other methods to try

If you found this post helpful, here are more articles from the Parkview Dashboard you might enjoy:

Five ways to protect your heart from stress

Tips for managing anxiety during continuous change

Coping with anxiety

Mindfulness, anxiety and the digital nervous system

The one thing you can do to halt stress

Four ways to calm your stress hormones

Lifestyle changes for managing anxiety

A three-step game plan for your mental health

Finding goodness: Appreciative Inquiry and mindfulness

More mental health resources

It’s important to stay on top of any chronic mental health concerns. If relaxation techniques or conservative methods are not bringing relief, be sure to talk to your primary care provider to discuss strategies for managing your anxiety or depression.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, you don’t have to suffer alone. The Parkview Behavioral Health HelpLine is available 24 hours a day at 260-471-9440 or 800-284-8439.










Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.


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