Now I don’t want to get all woo woo on you, but I do believe in tapping. It’s an odd practice, especially the first time you see it done by somebody else, but it’s surprisingly effective. Tapping is a way to program yourself to accept messages about how you want to feel, and take advantage of the body to work with you rather than against you.
Pseudoscience and Perceived Reality
The theory is based on the fact that we are not simply our minds, but the integration of our minds and our bodies. What we feel communicates to our minds, coloring what we think, just the way that what we think communicates things to our bodies about how we feel.
Tapping is compatible with any metaphor system that you prefer to use for the energy in your body. Whether you follow the strictest interpretation of what the natural sciences currently tell us about how the body works, or prefer to visualize your body as a manifestation of meridians, chakras, or any other energy system, tapping is consistent with the way that you believe your body to work.
You tap in a rhythmic and consistent way against several key points in your body, stimulating the energy systems you perceive to be there, while focusing on a positive message about the way you want perceive yourself. The systems you touch will respond to the rhythmic physical stimulation, and help to record and reinforce that message.
You can use tapping to invoke the power of muscle memory, and the energy systems of the body, to help make a new idea stick. It sounds strange, and the reports from many practitioners read like pseudoscience. All I can tell you is that my own personal experiences, and those of people I have counseled and worked with over the years, have shown me that most of the people I’ve taught this technique to do benefit from tapping.
The Message You Want To Send
To start with, you need to find an affirmation that you want to program into your perceptions. As with many affirmation based processes practices, the difficult part is coming up with an appropriate affirmation. It’s very important that the affirmation you tap into your system is a positive one, not a negative one. It has to actively communicate the behavior and state of mind that you’re trying to encode into yourself. It must be specific, concrete, and positive.
I’ve seen too many experts give examples of tapping in which they show negative phrases being tapped into the muscle systems. For example, tapping a phrase such as, “I will not oversleep,” Or “I accept myself, even though I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.” Both of these declarations carry with them the weight of the negative concepts that someone may be trying to reverse. Similarly, affirmations such as, “I want to have more energy” are about the future, not the present, and they are not specific enough. You need your affirmation to be clear and explicit, so that you can visualize exactly how you want it manifested in your life.
The most useful affirmations are the ones that conjure up an image in your mind of yourself the way that you want to see yourself. Focus on the positive result you want from tapping. For example, you might tap a message like, “I wake up every morning refreshed.” The message is simple, positive, and specific about the way that you want to perceive yourself.
I think one of the reasons people shy away from some of the most useful positive affirmations is that they feel like lies. You’re stating, in the present tense, a description of yourself the way that you believe you want to be, not the way that you currently believe yourself to be. The critical point to realize is that the way that you perceive yourself right now is not the way that you actually are, but merely the way that you are perceiving yourself. Tapping is a way of adjusting your perceptions, not changing reality. You are not lying if you change your perception, and use tapping to help make that concrete.
The Tapping Procedure
The process of tapping is very simple. You just find a short phrase to affirm, and repeat it quietly to yourself out loud as you gently tap the index and middle fingers of both hands progressively, two or three times, against these parts of your upper body:
1. your temples,
2. your cheeks,
3. your jaw,
4. your neck,
5. your collarbone,
6. the center of your chest, and
7. the bottom of your rib cage.
I generally recommend following this sequence three times, And then stopping. You don’t want the affirmation to begin to sound like a nonsense phrase, or use it like a mantra. Importance is communicating the idea to yourself, and cementing it.
Some people prefer to start at the top of the head, and some people move all the way down to the feet, but the basic process can be done fully clothed, seated or standing, anytime you have a few minutes free.
Do It For Yourself
Even if you’re not shy, and even if part of you wants people to ask you what you’re doing, this is not a practice to be done in a public place. The point of this is you. You are communicating with yourself. If your attention is on whether people are watching you, or what questions they may have, or how you may appear while you’re doing it, tapping me not be as effective. Focus on yourself. Let this be something that you do just for you.
I generally prefer to tap no more than once or twice a day, and to focus on a single message for at least a week at a time. I find that I get results that are positive and noticeable within a day or two, but I try to continue tapping the same idea for a week, just to cement the effort. Making a significant change in your own perception of yourself takes time, and you need to give each message the opportunity to sink in fully. If you’ve chosen a message that’s important to you, you want to make sure to give yourself time to reap the full benefit from it. And if you’re tapping messages that you don’t really want to embrace, you may as well not be tapping at all.
Approach tapping using whatever system you prefer for identifying affirmations. Tapping does not have to be done exclusive of other approaches for working with affirmations, but it’s a powerful technique for giving an affirmation the support of the systems the body naturally provides.