Have you ever heard of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), aka tapping? I keep hearing about this, also in combination with BFRBs, but I have never tried it.
So, when I learned that Andrea from Happy While Healing Disorders (BFRB blog and recourses) uses EFT tapping to cope with her hair pulling, I wanted to know more.
I did a little interview with Andrea, who gave me a good insight into what EFT is, how it can help with BFRBs, and how to start using it.
Please give us some background on yourself and how you started with EFT.
When I was 16, I became obsessed with finding different textured hair. And the ones that “seemed out of place,” like coarse or kinky hair, caught my attention.
The next thing I know, I started pulling those hairs out. It led to bald spots and a compulsive disorder I didn’t even know existed!
Throughout the years, I’ve tried a ton of different strategies. But they weren’t always effective.
One day, my therapist introduced EFT and tapping to practice mindfulness and release tension. When she first taught me how to do it, I felt weird and like I was making a fool out of myself…
Little did I know it’ll be one of the most effective strategies to help me stop hair pulling!
What is EFT, and how do you use it?
EFT, or “tapping therapy,” incorporates a mixture of modern-day cognitive therapy and the ancient Chinese concept of acupuncture. It takes your fingers or hands tapping on different acupressure points on your body to relax.
How do you use EFT Tapping? (5 steps)
Whenever I feel the urge to pull my hair or am already in the process of pulling, I stand up and tap on my body.
1. Identify the trigger causing you to feel anxious, tense, or overwhelmed.
It’s time to dig deep and peel back the layers of what’s really bothering you. If it’s work, what about work that makes you anxious?
Finding your specific fear/worry is the first step! Focus on only one trigger at a time on which you want to focus.
2. Create your phrase or acceptance statement
The goal of the phrase is to acknowledge the problem and accept yourself despite the problem. The acceptance statement sounds like this: “Even though I feel/fear ______, I completely accept myself/how I feel.”
When you’re first starting out, this may seem a little weird to do! But, I encourage it even for beginners so you can start being okay with who you are.
I know that so many of us live with so much shame and guilt. This quick sentence can make you feel free of any chains holding you back.
3. Tap on pressure points
I tap on the areas of my body that feel the tensest or hold much of my anxiety. These parts of my body are usually stiff.
I tap and repeat my acceptance statements until that part of my body feels relaxed. I don’t set a timer or count. I just listen to my body and follow what I need.
Usually, I tap on my eyebrows, jaw, and chest. Other pressure points for ETF tapping are the side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, beginning of the collarbone, or underside of the forearm.
Use your fingers with light pressure when tapping your face. You can also use the fist and apply more pressure on your arms, legs, and chest.
4. Take deep breaths
While I tap, I also take slow deep breaths. Doing this helps me stay mindful and release tension without pulling my hair!
5. Create your tapping sequence and style that suits you!
I recommend making EFT tapping your own that meets your picking/pulling needs. If you want to set a timer, feel free to do so! But I usually commit to tapping for a few seconds and keep doing so until I feel completely relaxed.
I mainly tap on my face and chest, starting from my face and going down to my chest. But if I’m feeling more anxious than average, I’ll repeat the process (from face to chest) until the urge subsides.
Are there tips you have for someone wanting to incorporate tapping?
My first piece of advice is that it’s okay if it feels weird or like you’re doing it wrong! It takes some getting used to.
I recommend setting aside 2–5 minutes in your day to just sit or stand and tap on the areas you feel tension or heavy emotions.
But just go for it! You never know if you’ll like it or not!
If you’re busy, you can also practice tapping while doing your skincare routine! Whenever I apply serums or moisturizers, I take a few seconds to tap on my face and slowly breathe! It became a part of my skincare routine, and I love it!!!
Thanks, Andrea, for the insight on EFT tapping! Andrea also wrote a blog post about this topic. Click here to check it out!
Andrea has struggled with hair pulling for six years. She runs the blog Happy While Healing Disorders, which discusses hair pulling and skin picking. Andrea also creates useful recourses for coping with BFRBs. For example, the printable BFRB Starter Bundle goes over how many people get BFRBs, a diagnosis guide, the BFRB cycle, and more.