We have all been there…work presentations, giving a toast at a friend’s wedding, or simply being in a crowded place. Our anxiety levels rise and we freeze up.
But how do we reduce the anxiety that is frequently experienced in public settings?
Our certified EMDR therapist, Lea Sloan, explains how the effective use of a simple EMDR “tapping” exercise will help calm your nerves in any situation without anyone noticing it’s being done! EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a powerful therapy used for alleviating distress. The tapping exercise utilizes the bi-lateral brain stimulations of EMDR in a simple and highly effective way!
- Start by bringing a calming phrase into your mind – for example: “I am okay.”
- Next, position your hands as described in one of the three tapping techniques listed below:
There are a few ways to tap – different people are more comfortable with different positions so see what feels right to you. (The nice thing about the third position is you can do it anywhere without anyone noticing!)
A. Place your right hand on your right thigh and your left hand on your left thigh, or
B. Place your right hand on your left shoulder and your left hand on your right shoulder in a position called the “butterfly hug,” or
C. Place your feet flat on the floor, the “tapping” will be done by lifting your right heel, then your left heel.
3. Tap once on the right and once on the left, repeating this pattern at a slow pace that you’d achieve if you said one, one thousand.
This right then left tap counts as 1 repetition. Do this right/left tapping for a total of six counts.
4. Take a deep breath and ask yourself “Are these the right words?”
If not, check if another phrase fits better. If it does, use the new phrase.
5. Repeat the above two more times. Scan your body and see if you feel calmer. If not, repeat the cycle again.
Try to practice this twice a day. If you can do it more, great! The more you practice, the more effective it will be over time.
“It can help clients — soothing/resourcing — especially as they learn to notice the early signals in their bodies as they start to get upset.” Lea Christy Sloan, M Ed, LPC, BCC.
For more information on EMDR and its effectiveness click here.