Pronounced “fffffftttt” (kidding – it’s actually pronounced “I spit a lot”), Emotional Freedom Techniques is, in brief, a series of body movements, singing, tapping and eye rolling that you perform in a specific order to achieve emotional freedom.
Lest you say, “But I did not know I was in emotional bondage, Charlotte!” I must point out that everyone has some binding emotions. Think of this as an emotional laxative. Plus it will really make those family reunions a lot more entertaining once the Aunts get a load of you doing this.
Gary Craig, the founder of emofree.com, and one of the most ardent supporters of EFT explains, “Based on impressive new discoveries regarding the body’s subtle energies, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) has proven successful in thousands of clinical cases. It applies to just about every emotional, health and performance issue you can name and it often works where nothing else will.” (emphasis his, actually if you go to his site you will discover he is very fond of The Bold.)
He asserts that this technique will help with everything from pain management to addictions to eating disorders to weight loss and everything in between. For my studies though, I was particularly interested in how some people use the technique to help manage cravings.
To be completely honest, I was pushed into this experiment by an overly aggressive bag of Sweetart jelly beans (the absolute best kind ever invented I hate you Willy Wonka and your CandyLand house of HFCS horrors). You see, it’s been hanging around my house since Easter. Perhaps you have something of that sugary ilk lurking in your household? A bean here, a bean there, pretty soon I was pooping green food dye and getting sugar hangovers in the mid afternoon. The neighbors were starting to talk.
How to EFT?
Full of good intentions (and you know where those lead), I downloaded the free EFT instructional manual. First thing you should know – it’s not a manual. It’s eighty-freaking-seven pages. It’s an e-book. As if your butt isn’t already squished into the shape of your (very uncomfortable IKEA) office chair. I skimmed. A lot. Okay, so I just read the bolded stuff. But there was a lot of bolded stuff!
You get the two-minute rundown: basically there are points on your body that are supposed to be emotional release points. Using your index and middle finger you either tap or massage each point. Craig gives a very lengthy explanation and list of steps with various different formulations. Some would say I have a short attention span, I would say I’m built like a hummingbird, but however you look at it Paul McKenna is more succinct:
PS> There’s a video if you follow the link to Paul McKenna’s site.
Bring On the Tin Foil Hat
That’s right, you will be systematically tapping yourself in strange places whilst chanting happy birthday and counting like an over caffeinated preschooler. But other than your pride, what could it hurt to try?
For the last 3 days, every time I have gotten a craving for one of those nefarious little beans I have, much to my children’s amusement, got down with the tapping, singing and eye rolling. In fact, it got so bad that the younger one really thought it was his birthday and the older ones were starting to imitate me. (“You can’t do that sweetie, Teacher will think you have strange tics and send you home early and then I’ll never get my workout in. Plus Teacher already thinks mommy is crazy but we won’t talk again about how mommy missed your randomly assigned “birthday” – since you were a summer baby – and left you bereft of peanut-free cupcakes and/or smelly erasers.”)
The end result? I ate less jelly beans. For reals. I don’t know why. Gary Craig would say that my negative attitude is making me skeptical. I personally think my negative attitude makes me fun at parties but I digress. Whatever the reason – whether it was just distracting myself long enough for the craving to pass or that I “set my emotions free” – it seemed to work. In fact, during one rebellious moment I consciously argued with myself about actually doing the technique:
Me: I want the jelly beeeeaaaaannnnnns!
Other Me: Do the EFT!
Me: No! Because then I won’t want to eat the jelly beans anymore.
Other Me: Well, huh.
I didn’t do the EFT and I ate the jelly beans, feeling marvelously defiant. Take that – ! Um, who am I rebelling against exactly? Me? Oh. Take that, me.
Like I said, I don’t know why it worked. I don’t even know if it will keep working. But there is a surprising body of research supporting this as a valid technique beyond just the power of positive thinking. Check it out. In the end, what do you have to lose? Except a little bit of credibility but who cares what those homeless people in the alley think. You shouldn’t be shooting up smack anyhow. Besides, they’re just jealous of your nifty hat.