The Power of the Past
Our past experiences can have a lot of control over our behavior and mindset.
I recently came across an article that ties so specifically into tapping that I was immediately inspired to write about it.
So many of us are carrying our “baggage”…and we carry it so well that we really don’t even realize we have that extra weight on us. We carry it into work, into parenting, into relationships. We even carry it into our daily behaviors - from the way we clean our houses, to the way we drive, to the way we take care of our own bodies. But where does that baggage come from and why is it so hard to ‘unpack’ it?
trau·ma: /ˈtroumə,ˈtrômə/ noun 1. a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. 2. physical injury. synonyms: injury, damage, wound
Some stressful experiences, such as childhood abuse, are so overwhelming and traumatic that the memories hide like a shadow in our system. We now know that memories don’t just reside in the mind - they are stored throughout the body. It is also well studied that emotionally traumatic events or repeated trauma (such as neglect), or even a combination of the two, have profound effects on the human brain. Studies have even shown that the specific health and size of the brain are massively impacted by emotional trauma. In a fascinating study of how external factors can influence genes, Dr. Szyf at McGill University found that childhood trauma can reduce the presence of a gene, labeled FKBP5, which aids in the regulation of stress hormones. https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.3286#/ref2
Why do some of us have a fear of going over a bridge, an unexplainable phobia of flying, or that innate need to find something to ‘worry’ about? Certainly you’d know where the fear came from, right? Not necessarily. Some traumatic events remain so hidden and nowhere near the conscious brain that they aren’t even able to be recognized by many therapists.
Enter the field of energy medicine, widely used in Eastern medicine for centuries, but only beginning to scratch the surface in our Western world. Emotional Freedom Technique (#EFT), commonly called tapping, borrows from the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture and acupressure, to keep a clear pathway of meridians, with the idea that every ailment also has an emotional basis and is stored somewhere in the human system.
I had a client once, so riled with anxiety that he couldn’t even cross a bridge or ride an escalator. It was a very debilitating issue, and one that he had no idea had stemmed from a brief, traumatic childhood event that he had stored away. The stress hormones and emotional feelings that were released during that event had imprinted on his psyche. When confronted with that same situation later in life, his brain and emotional center would go into protection mode, so as to not go through that experience again.
EFT works to physically alter your energy system, which includes the brain and body, all at once. The practice consists of #tapping with your fingertips on specific meridian points while focusing on an issue. Although you can talk through traumatic memories while tapping, you can also simply say a word that represents whatever is bothering you right now. A simple exercise, tapping while saying “this fear of heights” (yes, it truly is that simple!), cleared the pathway for my client’s body to allow the stress ‘memory’ to be released. It is like unclogging a drain. Happy to say that he is now able to cross bridges, ride escalators, and no longer experiences the sense of dread and anxiety that had plagued him for nearly 30 years.
So, if you are feeling like something is ‘off’ or if you have a phobia that is keeping you from being healthy - maybe you don’t even know what your fear is - I highly suggest tapping. There are many resources that can be found online that will guide you through what to do. Try Nick Ortner or EFT Universe- they have instructional videos that are great along with free resources.
I love being an EFT practitioner and really want to share this powerful tool with people to live a life free from worry and limiting beliefs. EFT is currently undergoing clinical trials at the V.A. and early results show that on average, PTSD can be resolved in as little as six EFT sessions. If it can relieve PTSD symptoms for vets, imagine what it can do for you! Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.