Updated: Oct 3
Fall is always a busy time of year… with children returning to school, the weather changing, and Halloween decorations creeping into stores at the end of August, it can feel like time is a moving sidewalk that keeps increasing speed - the world rushing past us, with ever growing to-do lists.
Busy seasons usually bring stress and anxiety, which puts our brains and bodies into oversensitive states. We are hard-wired to look out for danger and sound the alarm when it perceives danger (whether it’s a hungry lion stalking you or an ambiguous email from your boss), our brain triggers chronic stress and anxiety when we stay in a fight or flight state.
Releasing your body and mind from flight, fight, or freeze isn’t always easy, however, there are small habits that you can build into your workday that can assist in tricking your body into a calmer state - a form of biohacking. Biohacking is a very broad term with many different applications that is becoming increasingly popular when it comes to examining productivity or stress management at work.
Together, we are going to explore targeting the vagus nerve. Your vagus nerve (vagus meaning ‘wanderer’ in Latin) is a cranial nerve and the longest nerve in our body, connecting our brain with many organs. The vagus nerve does many things, but the one we’re interested in here is the way it triggers a relaxation response in the body and increases something called vagal tone.
One scientifically proven method for harnessing the power of the vagus nerve is through EFT Tapping. Also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), EFT Tapping is a powerful healing practice that has been psychologically proven to effectively resolve a range of issues, including stress, anxiety, phobias, emotional disorders, chronic pain, weight control, and PTSD, just to name a few.
Tapping therapy is based on the combined principles of modern psychology and Chinese acupressure. Tapping with the fingertips on specific meridian endpoints of the body while focusing on negative emotions or physical sensations, helps to calm the nervous system with repetitive motions, rewire the brain to respond in healthier ways, and restore the body’s balance of energy. Essentially, tapping helps you access your body’s energy and send signals to the part of the brain that controls stress.
So where to start your EFT Tapping practice? Look at your calendar and identify two times of the workday to schedule your time to tap. Set alarms or reminders until it becomes a more familiar practice. (Personally, my tapping time is at 10 am and 2 pm daily for about 5 minutes.) Tapping is a practice that sees an incredible amount of success when you do it often and regularly.
If possible, move to a quiet space where you can be alone. However, you can also do this right at your desk if needed! This is one of the great things about EFT Tapping - you can do it anywhere and all you need is your hands! No equipment necessary.
Before beginning your tapping time, decide on a simple reminder phrase or mantra to repeat while tapping the pressure point. For example: “Even though I am overwhelmed, I am safe and I am enough.”
While tapping, use two or more fingertips and repeat the tap approximately five times on each point. You will start in one area and then move on to the next, staying in the same repetitive sequence as follows…
TOH: top of the head — directly in the center of the crown of your scalp
EB: beginning of the eyebrow — the beginning of the brow, just above and to the side of the nose
SE: side of the eye — on the bone at the outside corner of the eye
UE: under the eye — on the bone under the eye, approximately 1 inch below the pupil
UN: under the nose — the point between the nose and upper lip
CH: chin point — halfway between the underside of the lower lip and the bottom of the chin
CB: beginning of the collarbone — the point where the breastbone (sternum), collarbone, and first rib intersect
UA: under the arm — at the side of the body, approximately 4 in below the armpit
…and then back to the top! Again, you can do this for however long you want with a minimum goal of about 5 mins.
Note: EB, SE, and UE — have a “twin point” on the other side of the body, so you can use both hands to mirror the tapping.
Want to level up your practice?
Consider listening to soothing, tonal music, also known to calm your vagus nerve.
Breathe deeply throughout your tapping sequence.
Incorporate calming aromas such as sea breeze, lavender, or vanilla.
Download the Tapping Solution app for specific tapping guides.
Tapping makes full use of the mind-body connection, acknowledging and integrating the concepts that physical pain, disease, and mental well-being are intricately connected to our emotional states.
We wish you well in your mission to regain balance in your workday. For more workplace wellness tips, visit the Work/Life Balance section of the Rivvly Blog!