April 11, 2005 by Thriving Now Support

EFT Tip #08: Pay Attention to Body Sensations

Listen (06:41) or Download MP3

Key points:

  • An emotion is a body sensation with a label attached to it.
  • Why am I worried?
  • Where do I feel this in my body?
  • Use EFT on your vivid description of the body sensation and the emotional label.

by Rick Wilkes

See also: Energy Tapping (EFT) – Quick Start Guide

An emotion is a body sensation with a label attached to it.

The problem is that most of the time we focus on the emotional label and the conversation going on in our heads. Very little attention is given to the body sensation (the actual feeling). Change your approach to emotional relief, and you may find that you are a lot less emotionally distressed than you think you are.

Let’s say you have the thought, “I am worried.” As soon as you have that thought, your brain asks itself, “Why am I worried?” And believe me, your brain will always come up with a reason! As you think about this reason, you will likely feel even more worried. As more intense feelings of worry arise, you will naturally think of more and more reasons why you are worried (and should be!).

Do you see the trap? Do you feel it?

Hearing the question, “Why am I worried?” is enough to send most of us into the mental trap of thinking about all the personal and global reasons we “should” be worried. The more numerous or intense the reasons (real or imagined) and the greater the mental energy we apply to our worries, the bigger the burden on our physiology… after all, in order to have an emotion, we have to feel it in the body.

Do you believe that emotions have to be felt to be real? Test it! Put a big, silly grin on your face and sing out, “I am so depressed!” Didn’t work, did it? We can’t really feel the emotion of depression with a big silly grin on our face and a smile in our voice. To make the emotion of depression real, I would have to slump my shoulders, lower my voice, and think of all the reasons I have to be depressed. That would work, wouldn’t it? I’m feeling down already…

You see, the emotional thought has no power except as it is reflected in our body. Unless the nervous system, body posture, hormones, and organs get on board and start behaving depressed, or worried, or angry, we won’t experience the emotion. We won’t feel it. There are many ways this can be used to our benefit as we apply Energy Tapping.

First, we change our mental approach. When we have the thought “I am worried,” we stop asking “Why?” Instead, we ask: Where do I feel this in my body?

Is it in my wrinkled brow?
Do I feel a tightness in my throat?
Is my stomach churning?
Do my shoulders feel tight and constricted?
Is my breathing fast and shallow?
Is my heart galloping?

Next, describe the body sensations specifically:

Is the sensation big, small, hard, soft, smooth, sharp, burning, stinging, stabbing?
Is it churning, rising, sinking, or stuck?
Is it a red hot poker, cold as blue ice, or black and empty?

Notice the body sensations. And then pay attention to them using Energy Tapping. Use the colorful description along with the emotional label as your Energy Tapping setup, and start tapping. Here are some example setup phrases to get you started. (You would tap on the Karate Chop point while saying the phrase 3 times, then repeat the reminder phrase as you tap through the points. We bolded a sample reminder phrase in each example).

“Even though I have this twisted knot of worry in my forehead, I deeply and completely relax myself.”

“Even though I have this strangling fear in my throat, I choose to feel safe and at ease.”

“Even though I feel this foul, churning, green anxiety in my stomach, I am okay.”

“Even though I have this huge mountain of responsibility crushing my shoulders, and it’s no wonder I feel tired and overwhelmed, I’ve decided to set the mountain down and climb it one step at a time.”

“Even though I have this angry corset crushing the breath out of me, I choose to relax and take deep breaths anyway.”

“Even though I have this red hot knife of betrayal stabbing me in the heart, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

We live in a “heady” culture. We think that we can think our way out of our negative thinking! If that were true, we’d all be emotionally free! The reality seems to be that that which we continually think about just gets bigger, and Bigger, and BIGGER. It’s the law… the Law of Attraction.

What I recommend is that we all learn how to quickly move from a negative emotional thought into an accurate description of the body sensation. Then, immediately use Energy Tapping on the actual feelings, as they appear in the body. If the body sensations move or change, follow them. Chase the pain! And notice, as I do, that you lose much of the desire to “figure it all out.” You’ll be out of your head, and feeling peace, calm, and confident in your heart. And that is where we belong.

 

  • Avatar
    Coco Trigos says:

    Exactly!  That is exactly what happens in the body.

    Reply

  • Avatar
    Eastern Body/West-East Mind says:

    I hear you.  As a personally trained in Western Psychology, the mind-body connection couldn’t escape my intellect.  The problem, however, is that reconciling the mind-body has been quite difficult.   I experienced emotional and physical abuse as a child and just today ironically, as I wept- a deep and gut-wrenching cry, the thought that came to mind was that to know is not as deep as to accept and perhaps eventually, to understand.  Is EFT allowing the body (soma) to process, or is it another form of repression.  Clearly, getting the mind out of the way has great merit, as it is only good for tolerance and allowance of the passing emotions. 

    The problem which persists for me, for which I’ve mindfully meditated and now seem stuck in the noticing of the sensations without thought connection, nor emotional movement, is that the bodily contraction continues and it seems the body wishes to go (and stay) fetal and paralyzed.  How might I use tapping to free myself from the gut-wrenching and paralysis, yet not continue to dishonor and repress.  So much self-pity.  This all seems quite unfair.

    Thanks for listening in this format and for any advice.

    Sincerely,

    Eastern Body/East-West Mind

    Reply

    • You may want to review our presentations on the Primitive Brain and Inner Tapping. You can find them here: https://www.thrivingnow.com/trauma

      The energy behind EFT is self-honesty, self-honoring, and connection with the fragmented / frozen parts of ourselves. I would not be interested in an approach that simply repressed. We all have had enough of that! -Rick

      Reply

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    Slavoljubka says:

    Dear Rick, this is very powerful approach, and for me, this is something of great value and importance. You remind us of something basic, that we have our body all the time, in every situation, and it represents our feelings in gestures, in color of the voice, in tension of the muscles, and our living is reflected in every cell, in our organs, in whole body.
    Thank you for teaching how to use this for well being. Thank you for wonderful instructions how to change negative thoughts using these techniques , and sending back those thoughts to our body, and then , make them disappear by using EFT. 
    For me, it has given a great release. My stuck emotions and negative thoughts , I usually feel in my stomach and in my chest. Thank you Rick for beautiful and powerful helping. Love from Ljupka  

    Reply

  • I have been tapping for days now on depression – things are not moving as fast as I would like and finances looked dire.  Yesterday I added a heap of just positive affirmation tapping – telling the universe that I know I’m sending out mixed signals (worry and hope), but that I trust the universe to know my soul’s deepest desires and fears, and not to give my fears preference.  Silly, but I needed to clarify where I was coming from….  Mid-morning today I burst into tears.  An hour later things started happening!  The pressure has been removed. So the universe did hear me!   Wow!!!   And then your tapping script arrives in my in-box….  I’ve just printed it.  When one’s back is against the wall, it is sometimes very hard to tap one’s way out of it – especially when on one’s own.   My tapping last night resulted in me almost cracking my jaw with the amount of yawning (stress release) and the involuntary tears were streaming down my cheeks.   I am forever grateful for finding EFT.  And I am grateful for these powerful tapping scripts.   Thank you for taking the time and effort to keep us on our feet – especially when our knees are buckling…  God bless and big hug.

    Reply

  • Avatar
    Been-There says:

    The suggestion that depression is an emotion hit a trigger for me. Depression CAUSES emotions – dark and difficult ones- but depression itself is a disorder.

    Reply

    • There is a medical diagnosis of depression as a disorder.

      We’re focused on the energy system, where “emotion” is defined as the label applied to a particular state of being. In the cultural lingo, when most people say “I’m depressed” they do not necessarily mean Clinically Depressed.

      Indeed, if someone has moderate to severe depression as a disorder, they should be under a doctor’s care. EFT Tapping in such cases can be used to shift energy, clear old traumas, etc., with proper supervision. Thanks for the feedback.

      Reply

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