When I first came across Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or tapping) about 10 years ago, I was going to what I thought was a traditional therapy session. I was in an anxious place after a traumatic miscarriage that was preventing me from trying to become pregnant again. I knew I couldn’t drop my worries and fears, and felt paralysed by my thought process. I was desperate for help because I knew I wanted more children.
When the therapist asked me to be open-minded and work with her, I knew something interesting was about to happen. That’s when we began tapping.
At the end of a very emotional hour’s session, I felt calmer, lighter and had a huge shift in perspective. I walked out amazed at the power of what had just happened. This was long before I was diagnosed with ADHD. RSD (Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria), anxiety and emotional dysregulation were not new to me though.
I believed being ‘highly strung, neurotic and anxious’ was my makeup and that there was little I could do to change this.
Now that I understand my brain and behaviour better, I recognise why EFT is so effective for ADHD. Simply put – it helps us calm our fraught minds and tense bodies.
Tapping on the specified meridian points, nine of many identified acupressure points on our face, body and hands, helps calm our sympathetic nervous systems, which are prone to being in fight or flight mode.
I’m a wellbeing coach who works specifically with ADHD women. I’ve been using EFT with my clients for three years on a variety of different issues, including procrastination, finding the motivation to exercise, imposter syndrome, understanding and creating more energetic boundaries, food cravings, anxiety, low self-belief or self-worth, limiting self-beliefs, and much more. There’s never a session in which I don’t introduce EFT at some point. It’s the most effective and efficient therapy I’ve been exposed to.
As a wellbeing coach, lifestyle is important to me. I make sure that I eat well, exercise, try not to drink too much alcohol or eat too much sugar. Sometimes we need more tools in our kit to help our self-regulation.
Tapping not only rebalances my inner restlessness, it also works wonders with tension in my body. It helps me acknowledge where I'm holding the stress and grounds me to become more mindful.
I often use EFT in active meditation, which is perfect for those of us who find keeping still stressful. It can even calm the ‘fidget’ while they meditate – something I can resonate with. What makes EFT so effective is that we ‘tap’ on the actual fears, worries or most pressing issues. Instead of repressing them with positive affirmations or reframes, we acknowledge and accept how we’re feeling – no matter how ludicrous our feelings sound to us.
My anxious thoughts tend to pop in at night-time, so I tap for a few minutes to release those thoughts and clear my busy mind. Tapping on the meridian points reduces the cortisol, our stress hormone, which enables us to feel calmer and more balanced. Often, a side effect of just 10–15 minutes of tapping is feeling sleepy or a bit ‘zoned out’. Yawning and crying are also very common, and can mean that suppressed emotions are being released. As neurodiverse people in a neurotypical world, we're used to suppressing and masking. I think this can lead to extreme emotional dysregulation or reactivity.
I believe EFT is effective for the ADHD dopamine-seeking brain because it thrives off us working efficiently and seeing quick results.
A few rounds of tapping helps the rational, questioning side of our brain relax, allowing the subconscious side to take centre stage. I think the thoughts and memories that often pop into our minds while we’re tapping is inner wisdom empowering us with the advice we already know.
Even though I hadn't been diagnosed with ADHD when I found EFT, I believe I was attracted to tapping all those years ago because it’s perfect for the ADHD brain. At the age of 40, I’ve lived a life where worry, neuroses, anxiety and fear have played a huge part. Historically, processing an anxious situation would leave me feeling mentally drained. This isn't an easy place to be when you’re a parent, partner or colleague. Knowing that your nervous system can be overthrown by the slightest insensitive comment or action means you’re on the emotional defence most days. It's exhausting.
I notice when I’ve not tapped for a few days. I’m more likely to overreact or begin a negative thought loop. On the more frantic days, when I’ve not had a minute to stop, I tap. I could be in the shower, walking or even stuck in traffic. EFT is my single most-used wellbeing tool.
I no longer think of myself as unhinged, frazzled or anxious because I know that I have tapping to fall back on.
More people need to know about EFT, so they can calm their overactive and frenzied nervous systems.
As a wellbeing coach for ADHD women, my goal is to bring as much tapping into my sessions as possible. I want to empower people to use tapping for themselves and their children. In all my workshops, especially about emotional dysregulation, I bring in tapping and breathing. I believe these are the two most beneficial and effective methods to calm our bodies and our minds instantaneously.
Kate Moryoussef is an EFT International accredited EFT practitioner, and an ADHD wellbeing and lifestyle coach.