When you wake-up from a nightmare… use EFT

Have you ever woken-up from a nightmare and felt deeply upset? Our dreams can be traumatic, leaving us feeling like we just survived a life-threatening situation. Our body is flooded with the chemicals of fight or flight, and our energy system is vibrantly aware that our emotions are disrupted. It’s a perfect time to use EFT.

The other night I had a dream where I met an older woman who seemed so trustworthy. Then my car was stolen, by her! I was left walking alone through a neighborhood where I felt threatened. Then I awoke. I could have gone back to sleep, and tried as some do to rewrite the story. That seldom works for me. I just end up reliving the same nightmare. So, I decided to go downstairs and start tapping.

My initial intensity was an 8, even after 15 minutes of brushing teeth and putting on my contacts. Here is the statement I started with at the karate chop point, three times:

“Even though the woman I thought could be trusted stole my car right in front of my eyes, I deeply and completely accept myself.”  I used “This trust that wasn’t repaid” as the reminder phrase as I tapped the other points.

When I tapped the collarbone spot, I felt a big release. I felt better, a 3 on a scale of 0-10. While that was a big drop in intensity, there was still a feeling of unease present. So, I modified the statement I used at the karate chop point, another three times:

“Even though I still have some of these feelings that I can’t trust because it won’t be repaid, I deeply and completely accept myself.”  The reminder phrase became: “Remaining feelings that I can’t trust because it won’t be repaid.”

As I tapped through the points, I noticed that the ‘under nose’ spot gave me a big release this time. My intensity had dropped to a 1. Yet, I felt I was not done. A good question to ask in such cases is:

“What about this still upsets me?”

She looked and acted so trustworthy! Here was an older woman, the picture of a sweetgrandmother making chocolate chip cookies type. But in the dream there was something incongruous, something my intuition felt—noticeable but not intense—that I didn’t honor. This was at least a 6.

“Even though I didn’t ask my intuition for more information and was hurt because of it, I deeply and completely forgive myself, and I choose to ask my intuition and receive clear information in the future.” Reminder phrase: “This lack of asking and trusting within.”

The intensity around the old woman in the nightmare was now a 0. Yet, the emotion had switched. Now I felt stupid and vulnerable. Which felt greater? Stupid!

“Even though I feel stupid, I deeply and completely accept myself” with reminder “this stupidity.”

This round the karate chop and chin gave me the most relief, and my “stupid” feeling was completely gone. I was still feeling vulnerable. There was a specific scene in the dream, after the car was stolen, that I was running alone, there was a gang that I knew was going to say or do something to me… they didn’t, but the sense of being unprotected continued at a 5. Here I felt a positive choice would be helpful:

“Even though I was scared of the gang and felt vulnerable, I choose to be calm and confident.” Then, as I went through the points twice, I alternated the following phrases: “I was vulnerable”, “I was unprotected”, and “I was scared.”

At this point all the intensity from the dream was gone. As I ran through it again and tried to make it intense, I couldn’t. I wanted to finish off the session with just a positive round. Rather than tapping, I touched each spot in turn, taking a deep breath and silently repeating, “I choose to feel calm and confident.” I ended with very gentle tapping on the top of the head, in gratitude, with the statement:

“I love feeling calm and confident.”

This whole process took less than 15 minutes; it would have taken less if I hadn’t journaled the process so I could share it with you.

I have never studied dream interpretation. I do believe that our dreams expose us to aspects of self that are valuable to explore. When dreams are clearly upsetting, as this one was, I now know from this experience that it is fruitful to tap on whatever feelings are present. In this case the dream was still vivid to me; I would use the same approach if I didn’t know what the dream was about and I just felt betrayed, stupid, and vulnerable.

Did this dream connect to other memories and events from my life? During the tapping, I felt it did. Nothing rose to the surface as specific events, yet there was a sense of closure that went beyond “just one bad dream.” I encourage you to consider using EFT with any dreams you have that open up doors into your fears and buried feelings. And do consider using it with your children, too.