Do you get anxious about public speaking? If you get anxious before a performance such as taking a test, playing an instrument or competing in sports, you may have difficulty achieving the best that your talents would allow. Memories of past failures may haunt you and prevent you from breaking through your own mental barriers. Fortunately it is possible to tap your hidden potential using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and other mind-body spirit approaches.
I have incorporated many of the various techniques I am including in the 18 chapters of Let Magic Happen into the protocol I use routinely with clients in my private practice. This approach is partially summarized in the EFT tapping handout with additional imagery and color reframing components. Two new sample chapters are posted at http://www.letmagichappen.com along with a revised table of contents.
This newsletter is linked each month to a Blog where I teach the individual steps of the EDANVIR tapping protocol including video demonstrations using generic phrases. In the newsletter, I offer a different clinical example each month illustrating the use of this approach with customized language for each situation. Upcoming newsletters will feature phobias, infertility, and attracting abundance.
This month I address performance anxiety, because I just taught a group EFT session on this theme at Oriental Health Solutions. I also work with individual performance clients there in my private practice. The tapping can be used to address the past failures that hang like a shadow over future opportunities for success. A recent randomized study of Turkish students studying for a college entrance exam showed excellent results for EFT compared to progressive muscle relaxation.
My first test taking anxiety client was a 30 year old student who was terrified of flunking her next teacher certification test. She had studied hard and knew the material well, but had failed once before even though she had been prepared. She had memories of panicking on a section of the test that she should have known easily. While we did EFT, she could actually see herself sitting back in the dreaded exam room.
She was visibly relieved after the tapping, so much so, that she passed the test easily and forgot how anxious she had been the week before. At graduation she said she really hadn’t been that worried about it. That phenomenon is known as the Apex Effect in the EFT literature, where clients remove the blocked energy from their system so effectively that they forget they ever had it.
EFT can be very useful in addressing these limiting beliefs about achieving performance goals. There are often barriers to success which relate to unconscious resistance that stems from previous negative experiences. These forms of self-sabotage may occur on the verge of life altering breakthroughs where we “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” These hurdles can be overcome by tapping them away.
To start the EDANVIR process, you need to temporarily ENERGIZE an effective reminder phrase as detailed in the January Blog. My first client’s phrase was, “I’m afraid I’ll blank out again and fail the test” with a Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) score of 10/10. She then repeated the self-acceptance statement, “Even though I’m afraid I’ll blank out again and fail the test, I deeply and completely accept myself” three times while rubbing the sore spot.
The second step is to DESENSITIZE the phrase by repeating it while tapping on each acupoint in the sequence with the middle finger, just long enough to say the phrase once at each point, as detailed in the February Blog. Start with the left Eyebrow point and proceed downward to the Under Breast point, then finish with the Top of the Head point. At the end of this first tapping sequence, take some deep cleansing breaths to let the negative energy drain back into the ground on expiration.
The third step is to AWFULIZE the anxiety as detailed in the March Blog. Start with the original phrase at the right Eyebrow, then tap through the points using a sequence such as the following: “It was a disaster; it haunts me all the time; I can’t let it go; it is stuck in my body; it reminds of when I failed as a child; I thought I was over that; I’ll never pass this test.” Finish with the original phrase at the Top of Head followed by cleansing breaths.
The fourth step is to NEUTRALIZE the energy by alternating between negative and positive phrases as detailed in the April Blog. Start with the original phrase at the left Eyebrow, then tap through the points using a series of phrases such as the following: “My anxiety is gone; I going to flunk; maybe not; I’m skeptical about tapping; my fear is lessened; I can’t totally let go of it; what if it actually works.” Finish with “Life is a mysterious process” on Top of Head and breathe again.
The fifth step is to VISUALIZE what you really want to be true using all positive language. Start at the right Eyebrow saying “I have emotional freedom now,” then tap through the points using a sequence such as the following: “My anxiety is gone; I can succeed; I tap away my stress; I let go of my fears; I enjoy performing; my confidence is restored; I will reach my goal.” Finish with “It feels good to be free” on Top of Head and breathe again.
This time continue breathing deeper and more rapidly than before with eyes closed to INTERNALIZE the healing process. Keep the energies moving by breathing in your favorite healing color and blowing out any remaining anxiety in your body as a different color. Once the energies are circulating effectively, start to shake your arms and legs to REVITALIZE your body until your inner healer tells you that it is time to rest. These seven steps make up EDANVIR to immunize you to stress.
While resting with your eyes closed you can go to your favorite vacation spot, or somewhere else that is safe and secure. Use all five of your senses to get comfortable in that preferred place asking yourself: “What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting?” Look down at your feet in this place and pick up any small objects that you find such as stones or shells. Place any remaining anxiety into the objects and throw them far away.
Image how you wish your previous performances had unfolded instead of what actually happened. Give yourself permission to rewrite history and allow yourself to see a better outcome. Put a colored frame around this picture. Breathe this color throughout your body. Return to your preferred place. Notice a gift box that you hadn’t seen before. Open it and pull out whatever is inside. Accept the gift and the lessons you learned from your past disasters. Come back wiser and ready to succeed instead as described in my article Tap Your Hidden Potential.
Please review the other related materials at http://www.letmagichappen.com and the Let Magic Happen Blog. Feel free to post any comments you have on the Blog regarding the use of this approach for Performance Anxiety. I am planning a sequel to the book based on readers’ experiences with the techniques, so if you share an interesting story, I may ask you for permission to reproduce it.
Happy tapping and let magic happen!
Larry Burk, MD, CEHP