Tapping – A Powerful Tool to Help Regulate our Emotions in Stressful Times

March 2023

By Linda Edwards, RN, MSN, Owner, ResilientMe, Inc.


Taking a test, speaking in public, making that put to stay under par, coping with a breakup, and dealing with a difficult person are all stress-provoking scenarios that involve a range of negative emotions. In these and similar situations, it is helpful to have a tool on hand that sends a calming signal to the brain. The Emotional Freedom Technique, commonly known as EFT Tapping or just “tapping,” is a free, easy-to-learn tool that requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Tapping involves applying light pressure with the fingertips on certain energy hot spots known in traditional Chinese medicine as meridians. Although common first impressions of tapping are that it looks a bit strange and being doubtful about how it could ever work, many find that with some knowledge and practice, tapping can be a very powerful self-care tool for people of all ages. It is easy to get on board with tapping and experience the many benefits.

How does Tapping work?

Tapping works by bringing awareness to emotions and thought processes that contribute to stress and negative thoughts and behaviors. Tapping on energy meridians in combination with a personalized verbal script disrupts negative thought patterns. As a result, the body is calmed, and the negative reaction to the stressor is re-learned or rewired. A 2012 published study conducted by Dr. Dawson Church showed that tapping decreased the stress hormone cortisol significantly more than traditional talk therapy or resting. A 2020 study by Dr. Peta Stapleton documented similar results with a 43% decrease in measured cortisol.

After learning the basics and with some practice, tapping is an easy-to-master self-help tool. In addition, coaches and therapists use tapping with their clients. Mental performance coaches teach tapping to help their athletes “stay in the zone” and crowd out negative emotions that will affect performance. For example, an Olympic-level boxer would get anxious and intimidated when he checked his opponent’s ranking; the higher the rank, the more self-doubt. Tapping helped him recognize and acknowledge his negative thoughts and stay focused on his game plan. Professional therapists can be trained and certified in tapping. They can help their clients with conditions like trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. In fact, tapping has been approved as a “generally safe” therapy by the US Veterans Administration Integrative Health Coordinating Center. They made this endorsementafter reviewing the extensive evidence for safety and efficacy.

How do I get started with Tapping?

Before getting to specifics, it is important to know that different tapping experts teach many variations.. For example, some teach using one hand to tap, and others use two hands. The good news is that you don’t have to be precise to be effective. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Identify the negative emotion you are targeting so this process can help neutralize it. Ask yourself, what is going on with how I feel right now? Remember that you are identifying your negative emotion, not the behavior of another person causing your issue. For example, my boss just berated me in front of my colleagues, making me angry and embarrassed. So, you are not tapping on your boss, but how your boss’s behavior makes you feel: angry and embarrassed. Concentrate on one problem at a time.
  2. Before you begin tapping, rate the feeling you are trying to address on a scale of 1-10, and remember the number for comparison after tapping.
  3. At the beginning of each tapping session, recite a “set-up statement” that acknowledges your emotions or the problem you want to deal with. Next, state an affirmation. For example, “Even though I’m anxious about going into this meeting with my boss, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
  4. Tap lightly on each meridian 5-7 times.
  5. Watch a video(s) on YouTube to learn the meridians and other pointers about what to say while tapping. After completing 1-3 rounds, check-in, and rate yourself again on a scale of 1-10. If the issue is not improved to your liking, repeat with another round of tapping.
  6. There are many resources available on YouTube. Searching for videos by Julie Schiffman or Nick Ortner is a good place to start. Remember to customize your script as you follow along with the experts. Insert your own words into the routine based on the issue you identified in step 1.

With this new tapping tool mastered, you will be better equipped to calm your body and neutralize reactions to adverse events. It can even be done discreetly once you are confident with your technique. But, as always, if you feel like you may have an underlying mental health issue or are overwhelmed with your emotions, it’s important to seek professional help.



Linda Edwards, RN, MSN, owns ResilientMe, Inc. in Little Silver, NJ. She has extensive experience finding solutions to health and wellness challenges from all sources, especially safe and effective products, services, and technologies. Linda’s philosophy is simple: she is only interested in things that work.

ResilientMe, Inc offers Microcurrent Neurofeedback services that help optimize brain performance for people who have suffered concussions, endure high levels of stress, have athletic and professional performance demands, and experience difficulty with memory, concentration, and focus.

Linda’s experience includes clinical practice and managing Human Capital Health Management programs for Fortune 100 companies. www.Resilient-Me.com

Photo credit: Microgen