Here is my first therapy-related post! I told you it wasn’t going to just be stories about my antics, and I wasn’t lying!
As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I am on my third therapist that I’ve had for an extended period of time. I first saw one in my mid-20s, then one in my late-20s/turning 30 (before, during and after my divorce), and those two were men. I don’t know if there’s really anything to men versus women when it comes to therapy, but this new therapist/life coach is a woman — AND SHE’S AWESOME.
Not to knock the other two, but this lady gets me and she got me about 5 minutes into my first visit to her office earlier this year. She also quickly taught me the method that is the subject of this post, so I walked out of her office that day feeling extremely hopeful and productive.
Six months later… I’m still trying to master this. The key for me, really, is that I just need to remember to DO it. And to be fair, it was an extremely busy summer, and I’m just now seeing her regularly again and “re-focusing.”
Hey — that’s my official story and I’m stickin’ to it!
The method I am referring to is called EFT Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Techniques. Now, as an extremely emotional individual, learning there is something that may bring some relief or freedom from my extreme emotions sounds pretty amazing.
People are often posting things like this:
OK, right. But I CAN’T HELP IT!
That is, until I learned EFT. With EFT, for the first time in my life, I can actually kind of work through what’s bothering me and move on. And as we all know, there are various tiers of worrying. There are more legit worries — finances, work performance, health — and then there are more unnecessary worries like “Why is no one liking my Instagram photos?!” or “Why didn’t anyone invite me to that?” Petty stuff that I spend WAY too much energy on, and I decided, at 32, it finally needs to stop. I figure you only have so much energy to go around, and when you’re expending a lot of it on that crap, you’re underperforming in other important areas.
Specifically, EFT Tapping is an exercise where you tap certain pressure points on your body while simultaneously talking out your feelings.
There’s a bit of finesse to how you talk in tandem with the tapping, and I’m still mastering it. But basically, you just want to get the feelings out, say what’s really upsetting you or pissing you off, talk about how it makes you feel.
In my sessions with my life coach (from now on, we’ll call her LC), she has me rate how I feel prior to starting, then we do the exercise (sometimes more than once), I take a deep breath, and then I rate my feelings again. I’ve found I feel significantly better after completing the exercise than before I started. And because I take the time to embrace my feelings and say what’s bothering me (no matter how petty or ridiculous it might be), this method really has made it easier to clear my head a bit and go about my day, something I historically struggle with. I can get pretty easily derailed by a negative event, and life is always throwing waves at you — you have to to be able to keep steering the ship rather than capsize every time.
How’s that for a lame metaphor?!
LC also has me repeat this phrase a lot, particularly if the issue is a conflict between me and someone else: “I’m doing the best I can; they’re doing the best they can.”
Now, as I said, the challenging part for me is to take a time out when I get worked up and do the tapping exercise. I’m getting better about it. Even this week, though, there were 2 days in a row that I came home extremely worked up about something. The first day, I immediately vented to my boyfriend, Todd, cried and whined through it, and eventually started to feel better, but it took awhile. I also found I didn’t completely let the issue go the next day. However, when something else happened later the next day, I came home, but I immediately went up to my room and did a quick workout, some yoga/meditation and a tapping exercise. I felt SIGNIFICANTLY better. And then I was able to come downstairs and be with Todd and not carry all of that emotional baggage of the day with me. I had worked through it and moved on. We were able to enjoy our evening without that hanging over me/us.
I yearn for the day when this all becomes fluid — when I can go from being upset to putting it in perspective and maintaining calm in a matter of seconds, when I don’t have to take a “time out” when I get home before I hang out with my boyfriend. But until then, this is really helping. And maybe it’s not so bad to take some time for yourself to process your day! I think if more of us took the time to do that and didn’t pass the negativity around, we’d all be a little bit happier.
We could spread happy rainbow germs instead of bitchy moods.