“Tap it out Mrs. Sopko,” my students suggest with smiles and an occasional giggle. They make this brilliant suggestion to help diffuse a moment of stress. I immediately “tap it out” and feel relief and relaxation wash over my body. My head becomes clear and I quickly gain perspective. The expression “tap it out” refers to Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This strategy was founded by Gary Craig in the early 1990s. He refers to it as “...a universal healing tool that can provide impressive results for physical, emotional and performance issues.” EFT has many proven benefits that include: stress reduction, improved focus, reduced anxiety, increased confidence, better sleep and, in school settings, a decrease in bullying. EFT is being adopted by many schools because of the profoundly positive impact on students. It is remarkably adaptable to a school setting because it uses a simple tapping motion on head, neck and chest meridian points that are easily learned. My childhood friend who introduced me to EFT, stress relief expert, Lauren E. Miller, has taught me that tapping is an effective strategy that can be used in a multitude of situations. Students can use it for any situation that arises in which they feel overwhelmed. Anxiety about taking tests or forgotten homework, worry about getting in trouble or social situations are some of the many reasons my students have practiced EFT. The goal is to push students away from their fear and into a sense of peace and calm.
EFT is a bit of a juxtaposition within the working of the brain. To begin the process of EFT, a statement of self-acceptance in the situation is made. This positive acceptance of a negative situation sends a new message to the brain and changes old response patterns. After the statement is made, gentle fingertip tapping begins on the meridian points while vocalizing the concern at hand. I then teach my students to assure themselves that all will be well with a statement such as, “I got this.” Tuning into the issue while tapping calms the amygdala part of the brain, which senses danger or threats, and creates a fight, flight or freeze response. This ultimately reprograms the brain’s reac-tion to a stressful situation. Calm overpowers worry, quickly. Extensive studies have proven the neuroplasticity of the brain adapts and changes the way thoughts, memories and patterns of behavior occur. This may be the reason EFT has become such an effective method of stress relief. My hope is to reach students as early as I can to provide them with this tool that will empower them to help themselves. Many of my students remember that they always have the option to “tap it out.”
- PAGES WINTER 2019
- Pages—Winter 2019
- Upper School