Are you curious about tapping? Here, we’ll cover the basics of EFT, and guide you through a routine to reduce anxiety

It’s well-known that positive affirmations can empower us and make us feel good. But, have you ever said them while tapping on certain points around your body? It might sound unusual, but this is the premise of emotional freedom technique (EFT, also known as tapping), a holistic wellness practice that can help with relaxation and stopping negative thoughts.

Incorporating elements of acupressure, energy medicine, and neuro-linguistic programming, EFT works to release blocked energy in the body. It’s thought that the physical action of tapping calms the nervous system by interrupting our fight-or-flight response, and increasing our endorphins. By saying positive affirmations as we do this, we can stimulate our energy channels and ‘neutralise’ emotional blocks.

“By tapping on the meridian points around the body, we send calming signals to the amygdala, which activates the stress response in the brain,” explains Nicola Bard, a counsellor and EFT practitioner.

“These calming signals begin to reduce the effects of cortisol, which produces the physical symptoms of anxiety. Those signals help the brain to make us feel safe, more in control, and grounded.”

What are EFT’s benefits?

EFT requires little effort in exchange for immediate benefits. And, once you understand the basics, you can use it whenever and wherever.

“Life can be tough, full of uncertainty and worries. But, by tapping regularly, you’ll be in a better position to harness your anxious thoughts, stay grounded, and respond calmly and rationally to whatever comes your way,” says Nicola.

How to get started with EFT

Firstly, get familiar with the key tapping points:

  • Top of the head
  • Eyebrow
  • Side of the eye
  • Under the eye
  • Under the nose
  • Under the mouth/chin
  • Collarbone
  • Under the arm
  • Side of the hand

Typically, you’ll tap each point between five and seven times. The order doesn’t matter, but going from top to bottom can help you remember each one.

Here, Nicola takes us through a simple tapping routine:

“Put one hand on your belly, and the other on your heart centre. Take a moment to connect with your body, and focus on your breath. Tune-in to any anxious feelings, and notice where in your body you feel that sensation – it might be butterflies in your belly, or tightness in your chest.

“Rate the intensity of that feeling on a scale of 0 to 10 – 0 being nothing at all, and 10 being the worst it’s ever felt. Now we can set our intention to gently challenge these feelings of anxiety.”

Work through the points, reading the affirmations aloud. You can treat this routine as a template, and alter the affirmations to suit your needs – do whatever works for you.

Side of hand: Even though I’m holding on to all this anxiety, all this uncertainty and worry, and I feel it in the pit of my stomach and in my chest, I allow and accept these feelings, and I know I’m not alone.

Even though I feel anxious because so many things seem uncertain and out of control right now, I allow and accept these feelings. I honour my body for trying to protect me from danger.

I’m not always going to feel this way, I just feel this way right now. And I set my intention to gently let that go and to begin to relax.

Top of head: All of these anxious thoughts
Eyebrow: I can feel them in my chest
Side of eye: But I choose to gently challenge my belief that there is danger out there
Under eye: I understand it limits me and keeps me stuck
Under nose: I want my life to return to normal
Under mouth: I choose to take back control
Collarbone: Right here, right now, I know I’m safe
Under arm: And I allow my body to relax
Top of head: I acknowledge how hard things have been
Eyebrow: But I choose to take back control right now
Side of eye: I choose to call on my courage
Under eye: I choose to release all my old fears
Under nose: I’m open to trusting myself and trusting in life
Under mouth: Right here, right now, I know I’m safe
Collarbone: I choose to feel grounded and calm
Under arm: Right now this is enough, I’ll figure it out as I go along
Top of head: Once more I honour my body for keeping me safe. But I can take it from here, I’m doing well, and I’m proud of myself.

Once you’ve completed this sequence, Nicola invites you to take a moment for reflection.

“Gently stop tapping, take a breath in, and let it go,” she says. “Tune-in to see how you feel. Check-in on that feeling of stress or anxiety, and notice where it is on the scale now.”

Usually, this exercise helps people get an instant sense of relief. So, whether you practise EFT regularly, or keep it in mind for particularly overwhelming moments, tapping can offer a welcome sense of calm.

Find out more about Nicola and EFT on