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Making healthy lifestyle changes – diet, exercise and sleep – will inevitably mean changing your thinking patterns, friendships and relationships and values.
My favourite way of dealing with negative thinking is Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT.
I use tapping whenever I feel upset, out of sorts, down on myself, angry, overwhelmed, irritated with myself or others, stressed or any other negative emotion.
Just taking ten minutes and tapping on the emotion seems to reduce it and calm me down. When depressed one of the most important things is to relax and switch off that stress response in the body. Calming yourself will help with changing your thinking about a situation and allow you to find solutions rather than just more conflict.
It seems a bit woohoo and I don’t know how it works and frankly, I don’t care. Opening your mind and changing your thinking about techniques you’ve avoided in the past might just be an important step in your depression recovery.
EFT is easy to learn and very effective, though the reason why is not clearly understood. It may simply be a distraction from the emotions being experienced. It has worked for me on numerous emotional issues and is by far my favourite instant calming technique. The advantages are that EFT is free, can be applied to yourself, can be applied anywhere anytime for instant relief, takes minimal training, is painless and totally without side effects.
Unlike anti-depressant medication….
There are two parts to using EFT.
In this phase you state your feelings out loud, while tapping on the outside of your hand, the part that you use if you were to do a karate chop on a brick. This is called, imaginatively, the ‘karate chop point’.
While tapping this point with the fingers of your other hand, you simply state your emotions, while at the same time accepting them as being all right in that moment. You say this three times.
It might go something like this:
“Even though I am really, really angry at my brother….I totally accept this anger”.
“Even though what he did makes me so mad! How dare he? I just can’t believe he would do that and I’m so angry…I totally accept my feelings”.
“Even though I can’t believe my brother would do a thing like that make me so angry, I deeply and completely accept my feelings”.
It’s important to accept your feelings because the opposite would be to squash them down and deny them. The fact is you’re feeling angry at something your brother did, don’t try to push those feelings away, just accept you feel angry and through the EFT, the level of anger or distress you feel will decrease. Then you’ll be in a better, calmer state of mind to deal with the situation itself.
2.Tap the various points on the face and upper body
Use two or three fingers to tap (firmly but gently) five or six times (the number doesn’t matter) on each of the places shown on the chart below. While you are tapping, repeat out loud the emotional issue. It may seem strange to be focusing on what is bothering you, but there is something about tapping which seems to relieve the emotional sting.
You might say something like:
Eyebrow point: I’m so frustrated because I can’t sleep
Side of Eye: I just want to fall asleep, but I can’t
Under Eye: I hate it when I can’t fall asleep
Under Nose: I’m so frustrated that I can’t switch off my thoughts
Chin: All these thoughts, all these worries, why can’t I stop?
Collar bone: Perhaps I can choose to relax a little now
Under the arm: I can worry about these things tomorrow.
Top of Head: I’m going to allow myself to relax and fall asleep now.
You begin by stating the problem and then suggesting a solution. Keep going around and around the tapping points until you feel you’ve said all that you want to say about the problem, then introduce a very simple solution (it could be just choosing not to have that emotion right now). You may find yourself sighing or yawning as you go around the tapping spots. I find I yawn then I’m changing my thing around issue and beginning to let it go.
Where’s the Evidence that Any of This Works?
So far we’ve discussed how you can more exercise in your day and more nutritious food into your diet. We’ve looked at how better sleep and social connection can lift a low mood. We looked at how you can be aware of your thinking, especially negative thinking styles. Finally, we’ve found a way to reconnect with activities that made you feel better in the past.
But does any of this actually work?
Is getting more exercise proven to help lift a chronic low mood? Is it scientifically-proven that socialising helps you feel better? Is there research that shows a really connection between brain health and eating healthier food? How are your thinking patterns related to depression?
More importantly, how is the effect of all these habits and activities found in the brain?
Well, read my next post to find out!
If you'd asked her 15 years ago if she believed life could be a wonderful as it is today, Vickie would have answered, 'I just don't know, but it doesn't seem likely.' Now she knows that if she can turn her life around, it's possible for you too. Ask Vickie how she can help you design the life you'd really love to live and say goodbye to depression forever.