In Part 1, we looked at how to define your issue using the "banana bread analogy", where the overall issue (fear of driving) can be thought of as the loaf, which can be cut into slices (specific events - having to drive to another city to visit your son). Let's see now what happens after that first round of tapping.
After you are done with that first round of tapping, ask yourself again, "As I think about having to drive to Seattle next week, what thoughts and feelings do I notice coming up right now?" This is the question you are going to keep coming back to.
Four Different Possibilities
There are basically 4 different things that are likely to happen as you do this:
1) You can either notice the next layer of the onion, as in, for example, “Now I’m feeling frustrated because people get so impatient they’ll probably be honking the horn at me the whole time, it’s going to be so stressful.” This would be a different piece (or aspect) of the same slice (specific event) of the banana bread (the issue of fear of driving.) In this case, the next round you could use this phrase:
“Even though I feel frustrated when I think about driving to Seattle next week, because people get so impatient they’ll probably be honking the horn at me the whole time, it’s going to be so stressful, and this is just where I’m at right now.”
And as a reminder phrase throughout the points you could say “this frustration,” “people get so impatient they’ll probably be honking the horn at me the whole time.”
A different event
2) Maybe what you are noticing coming up now is actually a different memory that’s showing up, like the last time you tried to drive to another city, and couldn’t do it because you were so nervous. This would be a different slice (specific event) of the same banana bread loaf (fear of driving.)
This can also be thought of as “the next layer of the onion.” In this case, provided it’s not a traumatic and/or very emotionally intense memory, in which case you might want to tap on it with the help of an EFT practitioner, you could ask yourself, “What thought or feeling do I notice coming up for me now in the present moment as I think about this memory?”
An example of a setup statement could be, “Even though when I think about the last time I tried to drive to another city, I feel really embarrassed that I couldn’t do it because I was so nervous, and this is just where I’m at right now.” Then for the other points you could say, “I feel really embarrassed.”
A more empowering thought
3) You might notice a more empowering thought and feeling coming up, as in, “Actually, now I’m feeling a bit of relief thinking that it might not be as bad as I thought, I can always drive on the slow lane and take my time, and also listen to music while I’m driving since I know that relaxes me a bit.” This is known as a “cognitive shift” and it’s a sign of progress.
You can either stop here or, if you want to be more thorough, ask yourself, “Besides feeling more relieved thinking about driving to Seattle to visit my son next week, are there any other ‘negative’ thoughts or feelings that I’m aware of?” If there are, you can target them for your next round of tapping.
The same thought or feeling
4) This one is less likely to happen, in my experience, but perhaps you notice that as you think about driving to Seattle next week, what seems to be most noticeable is the same thought and feeling as the ones you tapped on before (“I feel anxious because there’s going to be a lot of traffic and so many lousy drivers out there.”) In that case, you can do another round using the same words as before. Usually, after one or two rounds there tends to be some kind of shift and the next layer of the onion presents itself (as in the examples above.)
Use your own genuine words
Lastly, when it comes to “the most effective tapping phrases,” it’s important to use the words that are genuinely going through your mind. In other words, don’t use euphemisms. If the actual thought coming up is, “People are such jerks for honking the horn at me,” use that phrase, as opposed to a more polite, “That wasn’t so nice of them, was it?” The actual thought is likely the one to be most emotionally charged, which is what you are seeking to diminish and release through the tapping.
Bruno Sade is a certified EFT and Matrix Reimprinting practitioner. He has a mental health background as a clinical psychologist licensed in Argentina.
Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash