What Is Tapping For Anxiety?

Updated December 19, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Curious to see if tapping for anxiety is the right choice for you? This clinically proven strategy  is used by many in an effort to help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.

Below, we’ll be discussing different manifestations of anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders that may be positively impacted by tapping, how tapping affects anxiety and strategies to help if you decide to try tapping for anxiety.

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What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Understanding the impacts of anxiety disorder may help you more effectively address your symptoms with tapping for anxiety.  For many, anxiety disorder is generally different from feelings of nervousness. While nervousness can be transient, or may occur before specific stressful events, anxiety disorder tends to be accompanied by other symptoms, such as more intense or more frequent occurrences of worry. You may also experience physical symptoms such as sleep disturbances, feeling disoriented or gastrointestinal upset. 

We do want to note that anxiety disorder may present differently across different populations and subgroups based on a variety of factors, including genetics, use of prescribed medication, previous diagnoses and contributing environmental factors. You may also experience a specific type of anxiety disorder, as characterized by the DSM-5, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder — or GAD. 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has found that GAD is the most common anxiety disorder among older adult populations, estimating that about 6.8 million adults are currently affected. 

What Is Tapping?

Tapping is generally associated with a method of anxiety disorder management, known as EFT — or the Emotional Freedom Technique. Many have found tapping to be effective for anxiety, and clinical efficacy has been proven across a variety of scientific journals. 

Tapping originally was connected to a concept called Thought Field Therapy, (TFT), which was introduced in the 1980s by a psychologist — Dr. Robert Callahan. Both forms of therapeutic treatment relied on physical tapping on specific points in the body to promote the potential alleviation of anxiety symptoms. Compared to TFT, tapping offers a more simplified approach that was popularized by engineer Gary Craig, who worked alongside Dr. Callahan. 

In tapping, users tend to rely on a single type and pattern of tapping, no matter what negative emotion or stimuli is being experienced.

The practice of tapping encourages users to tap on specific points that are known as meridian lines, used commonly in therapeutic acupuncture. This practice is then combined with strategies borrowed from cognitive behavioral therapy in an effort to potentially realign the users beliefs and feelings about what they are experiencing as a result of anxiety disorder, or a similar diagnosis (such as PTSD or depression) 

For many individuals, the end goal of tapping may be acceptance of your current emotions or state of being, finding peace or simply grounding yourself in the present moment. For others, it may be relief of other manifestations of anxiety disorder. Working with a clinician or therapist who is trained in EFT techniques can help you to maximize the benefit you can gain from tapping for anxiety.

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How To Start Tapping for Anxiety

Considering using tapping to support you in managing symptoms of anxiety disorder? Here are a few key tapping steps that may consider using to help you make your sessions more effective. 

Step One: Identifying Anxiety-Inducing Thought Patterns

Understanding what thought pattern you’re experiencing that may be contributing to your current manifestations of anxiety disorder may make your tapping more effective. You may choose to: 

  • Identify the thought or event by saying it out loud to yourself

  • Use the thought or event as the central focus for your tapping session

Step Two: Establish The Level Of Intensity 

Identifying your current intensity of anxiety symptoms using a scale of 1-10 may be a helpful step to take prior to your tapping session. It can help you uncover other contributing events or feelings, or understand how intensely the thought or event may be impacting your experience. 

Doing this step may also help you focus your efforts throughout the duration of a tapping session, as you move toward a goal of anxiety disorder symptom reduction and thought correction.

Step Three: Find Your Reminder Phrase

After you’ve identified the core thought or event that may have contributed to anxiety disorder symptoms, and established the intensity of your anxiety, you may choose to establish an affirmation phrase. This phrase helps many to stay engaged during the tapping session, offering you a refrain you may wish to repeat to help you to maintain your focus.

There are many variations of phrases that people use during EFT sessions, which may often revolve around the theme of self-acceptance. An example might be: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself.” However, you may choose to make your phrase specific to your experience or your end goal. What you choose to say is up to you. 

Step Four: Begin Your Tapping Sequence

There are many key places you may choose to tap for anxiety, identified by EFT International. The list of recommended areas include:

  • The top of your head (otherwise known as the crown)

  • At the broadest part of your eyebrow 

  • At the exterior corner of your eye(s) 

  • Under your eye 

  • Under your nose

  • Mid-chin 

  • At the most midline point of your collarbone

  • Under your armpit 

  • At the most lateral side of your hand, beneath your pinky finger 

While tapping the ascending points, you may choose to recite a reminder phrase to maintain focus during your session. You may do this sequence just once, or repeat multiple times in a single session.

Is Online Therapy Effective? 

Online therapy has been proven to be effective in managing symptoms of anxiety disorder and other mental disorders, and is considered to be comparable alternative to face-to-face talk therapy in the latest scientific studies. Virtual therapy solutions can offer more accessibility than traditional methods of talk therapy, connecting patients to support in a more convenient way. 

How Does Online Therapy Help Anxiety Disorders? 

Those with anxiety disorders may have difficulty leaving the home, or starting talk therapy with a new therapist in a foreign location. Online therapy allows those living with anxiety disorder to reach out for support from the comfort of their home in a familiar place, which may accelerate the course of treatment and provide users with a better overall experience. 

Takeaway

Tapping for anxiety has been scientifically proven to be effective, and may offer you relief from the symptoms of anxiety disorder, whether mental or physical in your unique experience. If you’re looking for complimentary support for anxiety disorder symptoms, virtual therapy may be an appropriate and convenient solution. 

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