Living a life less toxic…

by Faith Canter


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What’s all this tapping about?

For those of you that haven’t really come across EFT/Tapping before or haven’t got the foggiest what it is I thought I’d put together a blog to explain this amazing tool you could all easily learn to use.

This is the official definition for Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) / Tapping:
A form of counselling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy.

This is my definition:
It’s one of the most successful things I tried very early on in my recovery from ME/CFS and which I still use regularly to this day. It helped me deal with deep seated issues as well as day to day stress, anxiety and general ill health.

EFT was founded by Gary Craig and is similar to acupuncture (but without the needles!). Basically you tap on meridian points throughout the body whilst vocalising on areas of concern, and this releases the blockages created throughout the body by these toxic thoughts. This then releases the hold these thoughts have over us and most importantly it breaks patterns associated with these thoughts. It’s like a counselling session but without having to open up to someone about your darkest and deepest thoughts. For it to work most affectively you take yourself back to the first time you had the issue or concern and tap about how this made you feel both physically and emotionally. It’s believed that if you can address the root cause of the concern then all the other times this has effected you since then in your life will be addressed in this session also. It is an extremely powerful tool and can release a lot of hurt, emotions, toxic thoughts and long standing beliefs about yourself and others. This not only has really positive physiological benefits but it helps all sorts of physical issues that have actually started due to these underlying thought patterns or at least made worse by them. It can help anything from back pain and weight loss to your love life and depression.

If you look EFT / Tapping up you might get confused by all the different types and styles of it. Please don’t be put off, it’s really simple and is really up to you how you do it. Some people start with the head, others at the place they call the karate chop. Some start with a set-up phrase, others don’t bother. And some even do eye rolls and individual finger tapping. They are all right, no one person’s way of tapping is better than anyone else’s; they are simply different people’s preferences. I personally suggest you keep it simple to start with and once you get the hang of it, you can add other bits if you wish.

So how do you do it?
1. Think about something that is bothering you, but be specific. I am emotional would not be detailed enough, you need to list the reasons why and how this is affecting you within your body and mind. Does is make you feel sick in the tummy, tight in your chest, tearful, drained, scared etc.
2. For the sake of this exercise, let’s name your issue “stress”. Rate the intensity of your stress level on a scale of 0-10 (10 being bad).
3. Next we put together a set-up phrase. The set-up phrase not only focuses the mind on your issue, but has a deeply healing affect itself as it’s like performing affirmations directly on our meridians. Here are some options for the set-up phrase you can use:

Even though I’m feeling ‘stressed’ I deeply and completely love and accept myself
Even though I’m feeling ‘stressed’ I love and accept my young self
Even though I’m feeling ‘stressed’ I’m ok anyway
Even though I’m feeling ‘stressed’ I can choose to be kinder to myself
Even though I’m feeling ‘stressed’ I can accept that this is just where I am right now
Even though I’m feeling ‘stressed’ I want to love and accept myself

Some people find picking the right set-up phrase difficult, as they do not feel very positive about themselves. If you’re one of these people then you can use one of the options further down the list, or make your own up, or not bother with the set-up phrase at all. Whichever way works for you is best.

I know it might seem strange focusing on the negative, as we are always being told it’s important to focus on the positive. But all you are really doing here is vocalising your negative thoughts that you are already having and haven’t already eliminated. You vocalise them to clear the blockages and then you finish your tapping routine on something positive that replaces the negative issue within you.

4. To perform the set-up, tap on the karate chop point (see below diagram) and repeat your chosen set-up phrase three times: Even though I’m feeling stressed, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

EFT

5. Tap through all the points shown on the below diagram, tapping each around 10 times (starting with the top of the head and working down one side of your body only) while repeating reminder phrases (like below). Reminder phrases are all the ways this stress has made you feel both physically and emotionally. You could say things like:

This stress makes me feel sick to my tummy
This stress makes me feel tense across my shoulders
This stress makes me feel emotionally and physically drained
This stress makes me feel like there’s a dark black ball in my chest
This stress makes me feel like I want to cry all the time and I have no idea why
This stress makes so angry with everyone, I want to bite people’s heads off
It’s …… fault, they make me stressed, they….
This stress started when…..
This stress makes me feel so out of control

6. If other things pop into your mind whilst you are tapping that seem unrelated then tap on those also. More often than not you’ll be surprised what pops up and is actually related.

7. If you can remember the first time you felt this sort of stress then it’s important to tap on that time and all the thoughts and feelings around that time. This will help all the other times since, including the one you’re going through now.

EFT2

8. After a couple of rounds of tapping, you should pause, take three deep belly breathes and notice the effects. Then reassess the intensity level. Has the number changed? What is it now? If it has dropped then you’re on the right track. If it hasn’t then there’s something else you should be tapping on. What could that be? What’s REALLY upsetting you?

9. If it has dropped but is not down to zero then refocus on your issue and repeat the tapping process again. The second time around, we can change the wording as follows:

Setup phrase: “Even though I still have some of this stress, I ….”

10. Then say things like: “This remaining stress…makes me feel/hurts/is/etc” (adding in any new feelings both mental and physical about this issue).

11. After several more rounds of tapping you should find the intensity of the feelings reduced to zero. If you stop making progress then sit and think about what else could be affecting this issue (however small or irrelevant and tap on that as well).

12. Either way it is important to try to finish your tapping on a positive rather than a negative. So consider saying things like:

Even though I haven’t got to the bottom of this issue I am open to addressing it and know I will find a way to help myself.
I am open to healing both mentally and physically
I now let go of my attachments to these issues
These feelings do not serve me, I let go of them now
I thank my body and/or mind for protecting me, but they can let go of this pain now
Even though I find this issue to upsetting to deal with now, I know I am on the right track and I allow myself to be open and willing to heal

If you do have deep seated toxic thoughts I would recommend going to a practitioner (at least the first couple of times if nothing else) as they can help you get the most out of your tapping and help you find and fully address the root cause to your concerns.

EFT is also an amazing tool for dealing with day to day concerns. You can tap on the bus, in the dentist’s surgery, whilst waiting for a job interview or for helping you through a presentation or a date. It’s a wonderfully versatile tool. There are loads of different videos you can follow for free online if you want to see how it’s done. Just do a search for EFT or Tapping and then the type in the issue you want to address. You’ll see that there’s pretty much an online video for every issue you can think of. There are even some of my own. Just check out my You Tube channel for these.

I noticed a big shift in myself after only one session of EFT, so I decided to train in it.  I trained with EFT UK who were super trainers and who I highly recommend.  If you are in the Edinburgh area and what to learn more about this amazing technique then check out their website, here.  And if not then I hope this blog helps you with some happy tapping at home.

For those of you that already tap, what do you find it most useful for?

Here’s some other relevant pages:

Basic steps to your emotional free-from, click here.

The Tapping Solution, click here.

The energy therapy centre, click here.


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Sane New World – Taming the Mind

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Ruby Wax’s show Sane New World at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I knew the show was to cover the topic of depression but I also hoped for some of Ruby’s sense of humour thrown in for good measure.  I wasn’t disappointed!  Ruby managed to have us all laughing together, meditating together and taught us all a thing or two about the mind by the end of this jam packed hour.

Ruby is obviously extremely passionate about the topic of depression, having suffered from it for many years herself.  She went back to University to find out more about the condition, the mind , and then went on to study Mindfulness as well.  She is extremely educated and knowledgeable  about depression and has been called ‘the poster girl for mental health’. 10525588_10152186221895946_5715601201667533319_n

I loved the fact that she had everyone laughing about this mental health concern, especially as many people still try to hide this illness and others still connect such a stigma to it.

The show got me thinking about my own history with depression and what had, and hadn’t helped me.  So I thought I’d put together this blog to share this with you.  Even if you have not suffered from depression you might find it helpful for helping those that do.

How not to support someone with depression:

  1. Please never ever say ‘chin-up’ or ‘pull yourself together’!  Not only does this not help, but it very likely the recipient of the comment might want to jump up and smack you in the mouth.
  2. Never suggest that they have nothing to be depressed about.  They already feel like no one understands, and this would just be the icing on the cake.  They don’t need to hear this.
  3. Don’t ignore your suspicion that someone you know is suffering from depression.  They will need someone to talk to, even if it’s only to make sure they don’t feel alone.
  4. Don’t judge them.  They are doing enough of that themselves.
  5. Tough love never works, it only serves to make them feel more crappy and more alone.
  6. Never laugh or make fun of their feelings or behaviour.
  7. If they open up to you, don’t trivialize what they tell you.
  8. Don’t think that just because they have a ‘good’ day that the depression has gone away and don’t bring to much attention to ‘how much better they seem’ until there appears to be a more permanent change.

 

How to support someone with depression:

  1. Simply listen.
  2. Check in on them regularly, even if it’s only a text or a short email to say hi.  Even if they are not ready to talk, they need to know they have people that actually care about them.
  3. Make yourself available to them if they wish to talk or just be around others.
  4. Encourage (but do not push) self-care practices.  By this I mean, pampering sessions, getting out in nature, getting creative, doing things they love, spending time with pets, taking time out just for themselves and eating well.
  5. Offer to cook a healthy meal or two for them.  Often depression is made worse by a poor level of nutrients in what we eat, which is made worse again when we feel too depressed to be bothered about what we eat.
  6. Try to understand that it’s likely they feel pretty crappy about themselves and their life, so support rather than badgering is advised.
  7. Encourage them to seek, if not from a doctor then from a therapist of some description.
  8. Let them know they are loved and cared for often.
  9. Understand that if the depression is bad, they may have trouble attending appointments or doing shopping etc.  Offering support in these circumstances will really help.
  10. Never let them think you have given up on them, even if you have to take a back seat for a while for your own sanity. Explain this to them.  Explain that you still care for them, and are there if they need you.
  11. If they are using alcohol, drugs or stimulants of any sort, it’s probably because this makes them feel better, albeit temporarily  This could be a slippery slope to addiction, so encourage them to seek help for their underlying depression before it gets any worse.
  12. Let them see how truly amazing you think they are.  Allow them to see how much of a good friend or family member they are to you.  The nature of depression means that often think they are not, and that you have to keep ‘putting up with them’.
  13. Understand that most pills, potions and treatments don’t work straight away, so give it time.  Remind them that treatments aren’t instant.  They may want to give up if things don’t work right away
  14. If they allow them self to be used or abused by others, don’t judge them, but understand this is because they don’t feel worthy of anything else.
  15. Help them to find things to laugh about and have fun with.

 

How I supported myself when I had depression: 

  1. I started to understand that nothing out there is going to fix what was in here.  I had to look inside if I wanted to be happy.10312541_10152548206865783_3052405886960298638_n
  2. Listing what I was grateful for each day rather than what I felt was rubbish about me and my life.
  3. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) / Tapping.  This helped me deal with some deep seated stuff that was making me unhappy and also stopped me on many occasions for starting the depression cycle all over again.
  4. Mindfulness and meditation.  Learning to live in the now, rather than in the past or future helped a huge amount.  Meditating in general helped me as it gave my busy brain some down time, which then started to filter through to more of my daily tasks, meaning I wasn’t constantly running over the same stuff in my mind.
  5. I stopped trying to cover up how I was feeling and started talking and accepting that pretending I couldn’t hear my own internal voice was never going to fix things.
  6. I started to reduce toxins from my life, both inside and out (including reducing toxic skin and home products).
  7. I started eating a balanced and healthy diet (removing foods high on the GI index to help balance my adrenals and blood sugar levels).
  8. I dealt with food intolerances and looked at ways to improve gut health.
  9. I increased my consumption of all the B vitamins.
  10. I used Bach Flower Remedies to deal with some of my thoughts and feelings.
  11. I de-cluttered my life, which helped to de-clutter my mind.
  12. I learned to stop seeing my own worth it what other people thought of me (or what I think they thought of me).
  13. I stopped seeing my self worth in my processions or what I felt I should of achieved at this stage of my life.
  14. I learned to respect and forgive myself.
  15. I stopped watching so much TV, reading newspapers and deleted lots of repeat negative offenders from my social network pages.  Instead I decided to watch inspiring films and documentary’s, read all sorts of inspiring stories and surround myself with as many positive people as possible.
  16. I started to ask myself what I could learn from what I’d been through and how I felt and how I could help others in similar situations.
  17. Understanding that no one is perfect, but that we are all amazing begins in our own right.
  18. Eventually learning self-care and self-love.

 

Here’s some more depression tips:

9 Best Ways to Support Someone with Depression, click here.10606310_10152186221695946_1728456463488595068_n

Help a Friend with Depression, click here.

How to Help a Person with Depression, click here.

How to Help when Friends or Family are Depressed, click here.

The 10 Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone Suffering from Depression, click here.

What have you tried that’s helped your depression?

I’m now off to read my signed copy of Ruby’s book Sane New World – Taming the Mind!

For more information about Ruby Wax, her shows and her books please see her website – www.rubywax.net


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Gratitude is the best Attitude

One of my first experiences of gratitude really turning my life around was when I was very ill with ME/CFS.  I couldn’t leave my bed most of the time let alone the house.  I became very lonely, isolated, and quite negative and was starting to get very depressed again.  I read a book called The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman that made me realise I was making myself worse by thinking this way.  I learned that I needed to live more in the ‘now’ and learn to appreciate and be grateful what I could do, and did have.  Focusing my time and energy on what I couldn’t do was a complete waste of my precious energy; it doesn’t get you anywhere apart from further down the slippery negativity slope.  So I started to sit at my window instead of in bed and when I could I’d sit in the garden.  I started to notice so much more around me.  I realised I’d had blinkers on before I got really ill, because I was always busy rushing around doing ‘important’ things and not noticing what a beautiful world I lived in.

As a child I had been taught all about nature, the Planet and our environment, but somewhere along the line I’d lost my connection with it, or should I say I’d just plain stopped noticing it was even there, even though it was right there, right in front of me!

When I started sitting at my window and noticing the birds, animals, insects and even the trees, I became quite overwhelmed by how much of this amazing world I had been missing out on.  It was right there in my garden and my street.  I would sit for hours watching the birds and the squirrels coming and going in the garden and how the garden changed throughout the seasons.  This in turn meant that I started to notice more about what was going on inside my home as well as outside.  I became so grateful for everything and everyone in my life and although I wasn’t fit enough to do the things I used to do, I was honestly so grateful for what I could do, see and notice now and if anything I felt a little sad I’d been walking around with blinkers on for so long.

It’s amazing what a small shift in thinking can do to our overall pleasure from life.  I couldn’t do any more than I could the day, week, or year before but I gained so much more from my life.  I saw pleasant things and little miracles happening every single day that I just hadn’t noticed before.  Nothing else had changed, only my perspective and WOW! what a difference that had made.

So here’s a little gratitude experiment:

What are you grateful for today? Not what you can’t do, haven’t got, wish you could change.  What are you actually grateful for in your life right now?  I sometimes have people say things like ‘there’s nothing good in my life to be grateful for’ but if you start small and work your way up you’ll find it easier.  This could be health, love, family, pets, time, space, warmth, friendship, nature, peace, the ability to read, work, food, your hair, your smile, the smile of a friend, the lessons you’ve learned or any of the other amazing things, little or large that are happening in your day-to-day life.

Write down at least 21 things you’re grateful for.  Get into a habit of doing this daily (you can list less than 21 things each day if you find this easier).  Instead of listing off all the things you see as negative in your life, list the positive.  I know this seems like a silly little experiment, but trust me on this; it forms new habits, new pathways in the brain and a whole new perspective on your life!

You could write these down in on your phone or computer, in your notebook, on scraps of paper in a gratitude jar (and empty the jar to read these once a year) or you could get one of the many really lovely gratitude journals out there.  There are even beautiful children’s versions of these journals.  They can draw and write what they are grateful for, installing happy, positive habits, memories and keepsakes in your children about gratitude from a young age and having fun whilst doing it.

The final little titbit for this chapter: It’s great to get into the habit of listing what you’re grateful for, just before bed as it promotes the release of happy, relaxing and sleep inducing chemicals in the body and actually helps you to drift off into a much more peaceful and relaxing sleep. Winner!

Would any of you care to share what you’re grateful for today in the comments section below?

Here’s some links to some more Gratitude pages out there:

Why living a life of gratitude can make you happy

How gratitude can change your life

Gratitude Log

365 Grateful

Why gratitude is good for you

Gratitude