The other afternoon I was feeling quite dazed and confused for several reasons. We’ve been living in a cloud of smoke for over a week due to the terrible fires in the forests and mountains near us. The drought we’re experiencing has resulted in low lake levels and a blanket of dry, crisp leaves and trees, providing perfect conditions for raging fires. With no rain in sight, it’s frightening and sad to watch the forest and mountainsides burn. Changes are happening to our familiar physical landscape.
Indeed changes are happening all around us. It’s frightening and sad to watch and hear friends argue with each other over political wins and losses, fears of what’s to come, and to see violence, anger and hatred so easily erupt all over our country. Suddenly everyone is on guard for what might happen. We are all living with so much stress right now.
When I feel fear come up for me, I notice a tightness in my chest. So first I take 3-5 slow, deep, ocean-sounding breaths* to stop it from becoming full-blown. Then I tap, using whatever words come to me at that time. Tapping can be as this simple. Tapping on the side of the hand:
Even though I feel fear, I accept how I feel and right here, right now, I’m OK.
Even though I’m scared and I feel it in my chest, I deeply and completely accept myself.
Even though I feel fear and my chest feels tight, I deeply and completely accept myself, and I’m OK.
Top of the Head (TOH): I’m scared.
Eyebrow (EB): And I feel it in my chest.
Side of the Eye (SE): I’m scared and I don’t know what to do.
Under the Eye (UE): This tightness in my chest.
Under the Nose (UN): All this fear.
Chin (Ch): I’m not sure what to do.
Collarbone (CB): All this fear.
Under the Arm (UA): And this tightness in my chest.
TOH: I’m scared because I don’t know what’s going to happen.
EB: Everything is changing.
SE: All this fear.
UE: I’m scared.
UN: This tightness in my chest
Ch: All this fear.
CB: And I don’t know what to do.
UA: All this fear.
I tapped for several rounds but I didn’t feel totally better. I still had some lingering fear. But I also had some insights into what I was feeling (an awesome benefit of tapping), which gave me food for thought. I decided to do a little more tapping to neutralize my remaining fear and find some positive statements to go along with it. Tapping on the side of the hand:
Even though I have this remaining fear, I’m starting to feel better and I accept how I feel.
Even though I have this remaining fear, I choose to feel calm now.
Even though I still have some fear, I accept how I feel, I accept myself, and I choose to relax now.
TOH: This remaining fear about what’s going to happen.
EB: I’m starting to release this remaining fear.
SE: Maybe I can call a friend to see how they are feeling.
UE: Maybe we can spend time finding a way to help others feel better.
UN: Maybe it’s safe to try to help where I am needed.
Ch: Maybe it’s safe to find compassion for others who are scared.
CB: I’m starting to feel safe to reach out.
UA: I can breathe a little easier now knowing I can do something to help.
I woke up the next morning with a completely new attitude, filled with determination, hope and gratitude for everything that is good in my life. Yes, there is still uncertainty, but now it doesn’t trigger fear in me. It triggers compassion and the renewed desire to help.
I hope you are taking care of yourself during this stressful time. Taking care of yourself is critical for clearly understanding a situation, making the best decisions, and for helping others. Plus it just feels good. Self-care is not selfish!
*If you’d like to learn simple techniques to relieve stress, including the ocean-sounding breath mentioned above, you will find guided breathing, tapping, and relaxation instructions on my CD, Relieve Stress Now. It’s a great gift to yourself, and for helping friends and family as well. Enjoy!
Keep Calm and Tap On!