You practice yoga, you've mastered mediation -– but have you tried tapping? The therapeutic exercise, also called Emotional Freedom Technique, is said to relieve stress and anxiety by using your fingers to gently drum on energy meridians on the body. Life coach Gabrielle Bernstein, who is trained to teach the technique, says it's one of her favorite tools.
"What you're doing is you're tapping on these different energy meridians -- and there are energy meridians on your head, in your face, in your neck, under your arm, on your karate chop point -- and as you tap on these energy meridians, you're also speaking and emoting about what's coming up for you," Bernstein says.
It might be something painful, a source of anxiety, or anything pressing going on in your life. "And while you're talking about the discomfort and tapping on the different meridians, you're sending a message to the amygdala that it's safe to come down," she explains. "That it's OK to let go of that addiction. That it's OK to let go of that fear of phobia."
In the above "Help Desk" video, Bernstein leads a tapping exercise with Alexa, a 22-year-old woman who is facing a huge amount of fear and anxiety. Alexa lives in New York and works in the fashion industry, her dream job. Though she's been able to achieve everything she wanted, a serious health scare has her thinking about walking away.
In her last semester at college, Alexa contracted a bacterial infection that left her in a coma for five days. With her immune system compromised, she now gets sick easily. She's considering leaving her job to move back home to Florida, where she has a support system of friends and family.
"It's very hard for me to be at peace with the past and how it's affected my future," Alexa says. "But most of all, I don't know who I am anymore."
As Bernstein has Alexa tap on her energy meridians, she asks her to repeat after her. "Even though I don't know who I am anymore, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. I'm scared to face the world. I'm so uncomfortable with all that's happened. Why me. I don't deserve this."
As they continue to tap, Bernstein changes her tone. "But I survived! I'm a survivor. I'm healthy. I'm alive. And I can explore new diets and ways of living. And with my health I can live beyond my wildest dreams. I am supported."
After taking a deep breath together, Bernstein asks how much anxiety Alexa is feeling on a scale of zero to 10. Before the tapping exercise, she was at a 9. Now, she is at a 4.
Bernstein says she wants Alexa to continue practicing the tapping technique at home. "There's so much trauma living within you from that experience, even unconscious trauma, that needs to come forward," she says. "The tapping can heal that trauma, so use it!"