If we are lucky, most of us muddle through our daily lives without too much to worry about.
Most of us are lucky enough to have the basics of a job, enough food, and roof over our head, but as our standard of living and technology increases, so does the pressure of everyday life.
- According to recent studies, in the UK and the USA, the population is seeing an increase in stress, anxiety and depression, which now account for 28% of the disease burden in the UK.
- In a recent study in England by the NHS, it is estimated that as many as 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a type of anxiety or depression.(1)
- Anxiety, worry and depression, on any level, not only negatively impacts our quality of life, as chronic conditions, they are shown to reduce our life expectancy by as much as 20 years(2).
From personal experience, anyone who has ever experienced worry or stress on any level already knows, these thoughts and feelings cannot simply be switched off. Attempting to talk ourselves out of worry, anxiety and stress only compounds the problem as we begin feel even more out of control of our own mind and body.
For the majority of people suffering from these conditions, prescribed medication offers immediate relief but often comes with unpleasant side effects. Meanwhile, the root trigger of the problem, which caused us to feel, anxious, stressed and depressed, remains hidden and seemingly forgotten about.
In some circumstances, medication will remain the go-to solution, but for those, who are looking for a root cause solution, and want to regain some control over their wellbeing, prescription drugs are not the answer.
Our brain: working for us and against us
Our brain has an inbuilt mechanism to protect us from perceived harm. When it considers the scenario we are currently experiencing as threatening to our wellbeing, it automatically increases the production of stress response hormones and chemicals, preparing us physically to fight or escape.
This decision is based on what’s observed (i.e.: what you see and hear) and also from stored memories and emotions, i.e.: our thoughts, conscious and unconscious.
“Worry: Mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated”
Stress response is largely triggered by thoughts of a stressful memory, often long forgotten consciously, but the effect on our bodies is much more apparent. Worry comes into play when our brain weighs up all the possible outcomes to reliving the experience.
Chronic stress and worry not only make us feel exhausted and mentally overwhelmed, the chemical changes inhibit the body’s natural immune response and healing capability, leaving us susceptible to all kinds of degenerative disease and illness.
The World Health Organization and The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that 80% of cancers are not due to genetics but in fact caused by lifestyle choices, this they say this is a conservative number (Cancer statistics and views of causes Science News Vol.115, No 2 (Jan.13 1979), p.23).
According to Dr Bruce Lipton, (The Biology of Belief, 2008) 98% of diseases are lifestyle choices and therefore, thought related.
The word “choice” in these examples may appear controversial, as many of the stress causing thoughts go largely unnoticed by our cognitive thinking.How can we resolve this?
Resetting our stress-response
Growing thought awareness and talking about our thoughts and feelings has been proven to effectively help manage stressful thoughts and feelings, however, it doesn’t always work for all. It can be very traumatic to relive certain events and in some cases takes years of one to one counselling with a qualified professional to reach just a fraction of the solution.
But what if it were possible to quickly uncover the root cause of the issue, and find some emotion and physical relief in just one session?
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are an effective method which is safe and easy to use, any time, any place and anywhere.
Also known as Energy Counselling, the practice involves private discussion, with a qualified practitioner, about any thoughts and emotions that have caused upset, including, worry, anxiety, anger, fear etc.
While growing an awareness of the issue and how it affects your body, both you and the practitioner then activate certain Acupressure points by gentle tapping to clear the emotional intensity. This you can very easily do yourself making it the ideal self-care tool to use at work or home and bring much welcome relief from stress and worry.
Connecting mind and body to release these intense emotions with EFT has been scientifically proven to reduce the negative physical effects of stress in the body by reducing and eventually removing the stress response we have to particular memories of events.
EFT success has attracted a lot of attention in the scientific and medical community. Scientific research(3) has been carried out on this relatively new but simple modality with very convincing results. More interestingly EFT not only offers emotional relief from stress, it has also been shown to effectively reduce pain and improve physical health problems, with many reporting improvement and recovery from major illness and disease.
Easy to use solution for quick relief
Using this basic stress relief tapping practice, you can find some immediate relief when stress and anxiety begin to arise.
1) THE SET-UP: Karate Chop point 1 (see diagram below for location)
Using the fingers of one hand, tap lightly on the Karate Chop point of the other, labeled in the diagram, while stating out-loud or to yourself the following sentences;
NB: Choose whichever phrase feels most accurate and stress-triggering to you, continuously tap the karate Chop point until you have repeated the chosen phrase 3 times or until you begin to feel some emotional relief.
- Even though, I feel like I have no other choice, I’m OK and a good person
- Even though, I am scared of making a big mistake, I’m OK and a good person
- Even though, I am scared to make the wrong decision, I totally and completely accept myself
- Even though, I feel alone in this situation, I totally and completely accept myself
- Even though, I am so tired of all this stress, I totally and completely accept myself
- Even though, I feel so stressed right now, I totally and completely accept myself
- Even though, I feel like I’m going to fail, and that scares me, I totally and completely accept myself
- Even though, I am really worried about this “……” situation, I totally and completely accept myself
- Even though, I feel like I won’t be able to manage this “……” situation, I totally and completely accept
- Even though, I feel so overwhelmed right now, I’m OK and a good person
- Even though, I feel so out of control right now, and that scares me, I’m OK and a good person
After you have finished repeating the set-up phrase, tap on points 2-9 (about 6/7 times each point) while stating additional related thoughts, beliefs and feelings that upset you and add to the problem.
NB: This may include, aspects of a current situation, aspects of people you have difficulties with or any negative thoughts related to your original Set-up thought or event.
“All this stress, it feels too much, I really feel it in my chest and my stomach, it feels overwhelming, especially when I’m at work, working with (person), they makes me so angry, they are so demanding, and I get left with all the work, and I never get a lunch break, and that sucks….” etc.
While going through this process, you may also find your are reminded of other similar memories and feelings, maybe even from childhood, this is OK; continue tapping on all the points, while acknowledging these feelings and the intensity will subside. Finish tapping every so often so that you can check in with your body and sensations and register the improvement.
A nice way to end the practice is with a positive affirmation, so tap again on all the points with one of the following phrases or create one of your own,
- Even though I have a lot to do, I’m starting to feel better and more in control
- Even though I have this remaining anxiety, I’m open to letting it go
- Even though I know I worry about things, it’s OK, and I’m still OK
- Even though I have all this to do, I’m open to receiving asking for help, because it’s actually OK to ask and people I love, love to help me.
Once you try this practice, and find it works for you, feel free to share it with friends and loved ones so they can also find some relief.
For one to one sessions to achieve more personal and effective results, contact me through the website here.
(1) McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016) Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult
(2) ADULT PSYCHIATRIC MORBIDITY SURVEY 2014 (Thornicroft 2013; DH 2015)