Have you ever wished you had a magic tool that could help you manage a grief grenade, lower your stress levels, and support you through not only the challenges of grief but literally all areas of life?
This week I’m introducing you to that tool. And over the course of the next two episodes, you’ll learn the basics so you can start using it for yourself.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 158, Grief Support with EFT Tapping Part One.
Have you ever wished you had a tool that could help you manage your grief grenade, lower your stress, and help you with not only the challenges of grief but literally all areas of life? Well, today on The Widowed Mom Podcast I’m going to introduce you to that tool. And over the course of the next two episodes, I’m going to teach you the basics so you can start using it for yourself.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St. Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. How you doing? What’s going on in your world? I’m still not a 100% but definitely feeling so much better. I would appreciate though any good vibes, any thoughts, prayers, knowings of perfect turning to health, whatever it is in your faith tradition or whatever works for you that you send them to my stepmom. She has COVID, got it from the rest of us and as I’m recording this she is on day eight and she’s been pretty darned miserable.
And her doctor says day 10 is often the day where you either start to make a positive turn or a not so positive turn. And she just tends to have a very weakened immune system anyway. So would appreciate some love sent her way. And I know for some of you, you lost your person to COVID, and I know that that’s potentially rather triggering. But I really appreciate that you of all people understand the struggle firsthand. So, thank you for sending her some love.
I also want to tell you, if you are, because I know a lot of certified life coaches listen to this podcast. If you are a Life Coach School certified coach, I want to let you know that I am working on something I’m really excited about for you which is an advanced certification in grief and posttraumatic growth coaching.
So, I see all the time unfortunately, coaches who are uncomfortable coaching grief and coaching posttraumatic growth. And they shy away from it, they tiptoe around it. They worry that they don’t have what they need. They want to help clients with the scary issues, or issues that they believe are scary and they don’t quite feel confident in doing that. And so, we’ve got to fix it. We’ve just got to fix it. So, I am working on a certification. And again, it is only for certified Life Coach School coaches. So, you have to have gone to The Life Coach School. You have to be certified.
You will have to be in good active standing in order to get into the certification. But I just want to let you know that I’m working on it. And if you want to get added to the interest lift so that you get notified when we launch, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just tell us to add you to the interest list. So, email@example.com. And we’ll add you to that interest list, really excited to bring this advanced certification your way.
So, let’s go ahead and get into the episode. This is going to be a two part series. And in part one we’re going to talk about how widows can use EFT tapping, which is also called Emotional Freedom Technique, that’s what it stands for. And I’m going to tell you what it is and how it works, why it’s one of my favorite tools. The three main reasons that we use it inside My Mom Goes On coaching program and because of course while I hope you will join us in Mom Goes On, I want you to be able to support yourself with EFT tapping even if you don’t.
This is one of my favorite tools and I want you to know about it because anybody can use this tool. Then in part two of the podcast series we’re going to cover how to tap. And I’m actually going to walk you through a tapping exercise that you can use on your own so you can see just how easy and effective it is. And you can start to feel more comfortable with it and decide whether you would like to add it to your toolbox.
So, before we talk about EFT tapping, I want to remind everyone that grief is not just an emotion, it’s an umbrella term for the internal experience of loss. This includes all the thoughts and feelings that we have about the loss. And I want to remind you that grief is unique for everyone. It’s a natural response to a perceived loss. And there are many ways to support ourselves when it comes to grief. So, EFT tapping is one of those ways.
One of the things that my Widowed Mom clients struggle with the very most, especially before Mom Goes On, is they struggle with how to deal with the emotions of grief. Most of us grew up in homes and schools where we were not taught how to navigate feelings. In fact, we were generally sent messages, implicit, explicit messages that our feelings were something we should fix, or we should avoid, or hide, or at least deal with in private.
So, it’s no wonder that when our person dies we are woefully unprepared because we live in a culture that espouses more myths than truths about grief. And we’ve all had more than a couple of decades of experience cementing patterns of dealing with emotions that actually make them harder instead of easier. So, if this feels true to you, I really want you to stop and have so much compassion for yourself.
And when you find yourself struggling with intense emotion I want to remind you it is not a sign that something is wrong with you. It is not a sign that you’re doing grief wrong because that’s impossible anyway. There’s no right or wrong way to do grief. It’s just a sign that you’re a product of a culture that doesn’t get grief and that didn’t teach you how to deal with the emotions that you’re feeling.
So given your experience and your upbringing, you’re right where you should be but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other experiences available to you, that there aren’t tools to help you. And that’s why I want to talk to you about how we use EFT tapping in my coaching program specifically for grief. I discovered tapping a number of years ago, somewhere in the early 2000s. And I think I first discovered it in one of Jack Canfield’s books.
It is not a magic pill but to me it sometimes feels like ones. And I have found it useful in all areas of my life. When my children were little I used tapping to help them before bed especially. When they were stressed out, when their emotions were intense, when they just needed some help regulating their nervous systems we would go to tapping. And in the early days I would tap on the points for them. Many times, my son who is now almost 15 would say to me, “Mommy, will you do that tappy thingy?” He would ask me for it because he knew it would make him feel better.
I used it with him after Hugo died and of course on myself. I have used it many times with my daughter who’s now 18, but navigating the challenges of being a teenage girl in this world can be rough. And so, she and I have used that tool together on numerous occasions. And I now use it inside of My Mom Goes On program. Now, inside the program we use it for three main purposes. These are not the only purposes you can use tapping but these are the three main purposes that we use them. So, I’m going to tell you what those are.
And then I’ll tell you some of the other reasons that EFT tapping can be used, and a little bit about it, and how it works. So, in Mom Goes On, the three main purposes that we use EFT tapping for are first, to support ourselves when our emotions feel intense. If you’re listening to this podcast and it’s because your spouse died you know what it’s like to have intense emotion. And you know what it’s like to have a miserable experience of intense emotion. You’ve probably heard me talk about clean pain versus dirty pain.
Clean pain is very natural, it’s not easy. It doesn’t feel great, but it feels almost cleansing versus the experience of dirty pain, which is when we come along, and we judge ourselves for having that pain and we resist that pain. And we heap all sorts of thoughts and beliefs on top of it that don’t serve us, and we create an experience that’s way, way worse than the initial pain. And we create our own suffering, our dirty pain.
So, I love use tapping inside of Mom Goes On to help us have a clean experience or a cleaner experience of pain because pain is a part of grief, and it is a part of being a human on this planet. So, everybody wants to have a better experience of intense negative emotion. And whether it’s a grief grenade or just a stressful moment in your day or maybe it’s intense loneliness or intense sadness, or intense anger, tapping is a brilliant way to allow that emotion to just flow through you, to run its course, to just pass on through to lower your stress.
It literally sends a message to your amygdala, which is the little almond shaped part of your brain that controls your fight, flight or freeze response, tells that part of your brain that you’re safe. And it’s quick, and it’s reliable, and it helps you let an emotion flow through you. So that’s the number one reason that we use it. Also remember that when emotion is high, intelligence is low. And it’s cliché but it’s true and it’s easy to remember, which is why I say it. When emotion is intense we don’t have access to the part of our brain that allows us to think clearly.
And you’ve been there, I know you have. When your emotion is so intense, you know you can’t make a good decision. You know your brain is not showing you solutions to whatever problem is in front of you. You can’t see possibilities. We just can’t think clearly. And when emotion is intense in that way, sometimes that’s when we start looking for ways to leave our bodies, can I eat this feeling away? Can I shop it away? Can I work it away? Can I drink it away? Can I distract myself with social media? What can I do to get out of my body and make this experience better?
That’s what we start doing, which as we know sometimes it’s not a horrible strategy, sometimes it’s fine. But after a while if that’s the only coping mechanism we have or that’s our predominant response to negative emotion we can create some consequences in our lives that we don’t want because of that, because we have no other way to let emotion flow through us and we’re always trying to escape our bodies. And a few rounds of tapping can really, really help.
Now, you’ve also heard me talk about the NOW process which we also teach in Mom Goes On. So, I just want to remind you that that’s available for you too. If you want a quick primer on NOW which is another way of allowing emotion without tapping then go take a listen to episode 3 of The Widowed Mom Podcast. It’s called How to Feel Better Now. I believe both EFT tapping and NOW are powerful ways to support yourself when you’re experiencing an intense emotion. And I love providing both options, so both are options.
But you’ll tend to have a preference given the situation that you’re in. So maybe you’re in front of a bunch of people and tapping doesn’t really feel like something you want to do because people are staring at you. So maybe NOW is easier. Maybe your hands are full, you can’t actually tap. And so NOW is a little bit better for you in that moment. Maybe you just like NOW better, whatever your reasons are, doesn’t matter to me. I just like providing things that work and I think that both Emotional Freedom Technique tapping, and the NOW process are amazing tools.
So that’s the main purpose that we use it for inside of Mom Goes On which is to support ourselves when our emotions feel intense. And the second reason we use it is to shift a belief. And this might not be a reason that you would expect anyone to use tapping but it’s actually a beautiful thing that tapping can help you accomplish. So, remember that a belief is just a thought that we’ve thought enough times that we don’t have to try to think it anymore, it just shows up, we just believe it. It just becomes a neural pathway in our brain that no longer requires conscious effort.
And what we believe matters because it’s how we create our life experience and through no fault of our own most of us are moving through our day on autopilot, simply believing our thoughts and operating from the same neural pathways that we operated from the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that. And we aren’t intentionally creating our lives so much as we are recreating the same old life. And this really matters if you aren’t loving the life that you’re living.
If your thought is as mine used to be, which is my best days are probably behind me. It’s never going to get as good as it once was. Imagine the result of having that belief. We don’t want to keep that one if we’re trying to get back to loving life. We want to shift it. But it’s not always an easy thing to do and you can’t just stand in front of the mirror and say, “I love my life, I love my life, I love my life”, because it doesn’t work. And if you’ve tried it, you know it doesn’t work.
So, in addition to the other tools that I teach in Mom Goes On which serve the same purpose like thought ladders, and bridge thoughts, and obstacles or strategies and different ways of practicing thoughts in ways that do work. We can also use Emotional Freedom Technique tapping as another way to shift a belief.
And the third reason that we use it is to reduce our resistance to doing the work that we want to do within the program. You’ve heard me talk about primitive brain’s motivational triad. If you haven’t, go back and listen to episode 23, called Widowhood and the Motivational Triad. But basically, we can notice that our primitive brain’s motivational triad can get in our way when we’re trying to change our lives.
Long story short, we evolved to have a brain that in order to keep us alive is very interested in seeking pleasure and avoiding pain and being efficient, conserving calories. And it’s a beautiful thing but what we’re doing in Mom Goes On, so that we can love life again after the loss of our spouse requires us to do the exact opposite of what our motivational triad wants us to do. We have to learn to seek discomfort on purpose.
We have to learn to allow pain to be part of our experience, to challenge our own thought and belief patterns, and to practice new ones, which to our brain is highly inefficient as we’re changing those unconscious patterns. So, our primitive brain is just not interested in doing any of this, it would just rather not. And that makes total sense.
So, we can use EFT tapping when we notice that part of our brain resisting, when we notice we don’t want to do the work, when we notice we don’t want to get coaching, when we notice we want to stay safe in the cave and we want to hide, or we don’t want to be vulnerable. When we notice ourselves feeling overwhelmed with the work of it, we can use tapping, we can notice the motivational triad getting in the way of the change that we want to create. And we can tap to reduce that resistance so that we can do the work that we want to do.
A couple of years ago I started a certification in clinical EFT with Dawson Church’s organization and I’m a big fan of his work. And I got, oh gosh, I had a lot of that certification done and then I came to the practical part which is where you actually had to start working with a tapping peer and doing tapping with other people on your own, and recording your tapping coaching sessions and sending them in for critique and so on. And so, I decided I didn’t really want to work with a peer because I didn’t want to be somebody’s guineapig who didn’t know what they doing.
I just decided, I’m going to find somebody who’s good at tapping, who already knows what they’re doing and I’m just going to pay them to tap with me because I had to have so many hours as a tapping client. And I started working with one of my instructors actually, and she went on maternity leave and she recommended another person who I just fell in love with. So much so that I decided, I don’t even want to get certified anymore, I just want to pay her to come in and work with my people. She’s so good that I just want to pay to have her come in and work inside of Mom Goes On.
So, for the last, sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a time vortex. Over a year at least she’s been coming in every other week and doing a tapping session with my Mom Goes On clients. And that can be done in many, many ways. But again, we use it to reduce the intensity of negative emotion, support ourselves when emotions feel intense, to shift beliefs and to reduce resistance to the work that we want to do. But it can also be used for other reasons. Healing a past trauma. I love this tool for that.
And I have done so much work myself on the accident, on all the things surrounding Hugo’s death, that tapping was tremendously valuable for me. And The Veterans Administration recently approved it as a tool for people who are suffering with PTSD. So, it’s now being used in clinical settings along with EMDR and other trauma tools and with great success. It’s being used with victims in all sorts of war torn countries, with victims of the Rwandan genocide.
There is an organization called The Tapping Solution Foundation, which was created by the Ortner’s, a sister and two brothers. And actually, had Jessica Ortner on an episode of the podcast where she talked a little bit about The Tapping Solution and how that work came to be. But they created The Tapping Solution Foundation to support the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which was, what, 10 years ago? Because they lived in that area, it was right down the road from where they lived, and it was their community.
And so, they raised a lot of money and brought in tapping experts to work with the first responders and the people in that community who were suffering from the trauma of that day. I have not validated this, but I would bet money that they are already working on how they will be providing tapping support to the community in Uvalde, Texas, in that elementary school shooting that just happened. I would bet so much money that they are on their way if not already boots on the ground to help because tapping can be so powerful in processing past trauma.
And basically, the way that that works and I’m not a tapping expert so I want to preface it by saying that you could go out and have them explain it or have EFT Universe, Dawson Church’s organization explain it and probably get a better explanation than from me. But essentially trauma is stored in the body. So, something happens in our lives and it’s traumatic. And our body remembers it. So even though we might know that intellectually we’re safe, there is a trigger that takes our nervous system back to a time when we were unsafe, and our body remembers what has happened.
And it’s this disconnect where we intellectually know we’re okay, but our body doesn’t, our body’s holding on to something. And so EMDR, and tapping, and other such trauma tools can help your nervous system reconsolidate that memory. So, when you create safety in the nervous system and you remember and process, which I recommend you do with a coach and not so much on your own, and by that I mean a tapping coach, not just any coach.
But somebody who’s actually been trained in tapping. You can create safety in your nervous system, reprocess that memory so that when you have that same trigger in the future, your nervous system doesn’t go back to that period of time where you were unsafe. You don’t feel unsafe in your body in the moment. And I think that’s – I mean, gosh, huge. We all have trauma. We may not know the traumas that we have but we all have it. And I love that tapping is a tool that we can use for that purpose. Tapping can also be used for anxiety and depression.
It can be used to reduce pain and physical symptoms, it can be used with phobias and fears, test taking anxiety, sports performance. Maybe you’ve seen an Olympic athlete doing tapping work before they’re going out onto the court or the performance where they’re imagining themselves doing their sport perfectly while they’re tapping. They’re working on the stress and releasing it. Can actually cement patterns in the brain that increase their performance. And that’s been studied and documented.
Tapping can also be used to cement new beliefs, to establish positive neural pathways. And that’s one of my favorite ways to use it. It’s truly a tool with many, many uses, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future because now it feels like it’s picking up steam to me. There’s more and more studies and more and more evidence of how it works and where it works. It used to feel like I was the only one talking about it in my circles and now it seems like so many people are talking about it and using it for themselves and using it within their coaching and that’s super exciting to me.
So, what is tapping and why does it work? In a nutshell, tapping sends a calming message to your brain telling it to relax, telling your nervous system to calm down. That even though it might feel like to a part of you that there is a tiger chasing you, you are actually safe. There was a study done in 2012 which you can read about it in numerous places including thetappingsolution.com. And in that study, stress levels measured through the cortisol in a person’s saliva actually lowered 43% after 15 minutes of tapping which to me is phenomenal.
The basic tapping recipe which I will teach you in detail on the next episode of the podcast, on part two of this series. But the basic tapping recipe requires that you focus on a problem, it could be an intense emotion, it could be a fear, it could be something that you’re worried about or something that you’re upset over. And while you’re focusing on the problem, you use the tips of your fingers to tap five to seven times on a series of nine acupressure or energy meridian points on your body.
It sounds complicated. It is not. You’re just tapping on nine different parts of your body as you focus on the problem. It seems counterintuitive because you’re actually trying to focus on the negative. But what you will find is that after a couple of rounds, a couple of times going through each of these nine points is that the problem will shift. The negative emotion will lessen in intensity, although sometimes it gets more intense first. There is kind of a worse before better experience that we have sometimes.
If you’re like me, copious amounts of liquid will pour of your eye holes, I cry almost every time I tap which for me feels amazing. I never thought I would say that, probably I don’t know, before I became a coach. I thought you weren’t supposed to cry, or you’re supposed to cry less, or you shouldn’t be crying. But every time I tap I cry. And you will ultimately feel like you can breathe better. That’s how I feel. It’s like I lost 50 pounds of emotional weight and what seemed overwhelming becomes manageable. The emotion that was asking for my attention gets processed.
It feels like life wasn’t doable before I started tapping. And then after I’m done I can breathe again, I can think again, and I just love this tool. So, it looks strange, but it works well, and I encourage you to give it a shot. So, in next week’s episode of The Widowed Mom Podcast, in part two I’m going to walk you through the basic recipe of EFT tapping. I’m going to teach you the tapping points. I’m going to give you a tapping exercise, a tapping experience so you can see just how easy and effective it is.
I want you to give it a shot so that you can see what it’s like, feel more comfortable with it, decide whether or not it’s a tool that you would like to add to your toolbox. And if you would like to learn a little more about tapping before next week’s episode, because I’m making you wait a week, then I highly recommend you check out eftuniverse.com and thetappingsolution.com both are amazing websites.
I also love Dawson Church’s book called The EFT Manual. It is available anywhere and it’s quick, concise. It’s got a lot of value in it and a lot of tapping scripts in it. It’s a wonderful book, so I would highly recommend that. Again, The EFT Manual by Dawson Church. Nothing in it for me. I just think it’s a good book. And next week we’ll actually walk through a tapping experience, and I’ll teach you a little bit more about it. Okay, thanks for hanging out with me. Remember, I love you and you’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next week. Bye bye.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so that you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.