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Emotional Freedom Technique For Performers and Creatives

So I think it’s safe to say 2020 didn’t quite go the way any of us planned! But I have found some pretty exciting things happening amidst the chaos, and one of those is that I recently took the plunge in starting my training as an EFT practitioner, alongside my dance career. Excited! Now you may be wondering firstly- what is EFT, and secondly how is it relevant to me as a performer/creative person?

These are great questions! In answer to the second, I think it’s important to note that we have to put who we are before what we do. As humans we are a magnificent tapestry of every past experience we’ve ever had (both good and bad.) Really when you think of it that way, each of us carries a whole world inside of us. We’re planets constantly orbiting one another. So it’s not surprising, that life (and by that I mean we) get a little messy sometimes. And this is where EFT comes in. In order to be the most effective performers and creatives we can be, we need a way of navigating the highs and lows that come our way. It’s never fun when we feel stuck experiencing a yo-yo of emotions that we’d  rather not. It’s like a rollercoaster we didn’t pay for! (Honestly I’d rather go to Alton Towers :P) EFT however puts us back in the drivers seat, so we can clear negative unwanted emotions in situations that are triggering, thus giving us back control over them. With EFT, we are able to step into the most empowered version of ourselves. It may sound a little cuckoo that you can feel so differently about something (in some cases after as little as one session,) but I promise you it is totally possible!

So with that a little clearer, I will now address the first part of the question: what is EFT?

What EFT Is Not…

Perhaps when you’re reading this, you are thinking you’ve tried many things, so first of all let me put your mind at ease and tell you what EFT is not. It is not some form of magical thinking based on hard work where you just have to ‘think’ more positively. Nor is it therapy. You don’t sit around talking about your problems all day (although there may be some talking, but only whilst clearing an issue, and once it’s done, it is done!)

So What Is EFT?

EFT is short for Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as tapping- but not the dancing kind) and is essentially an energy therapy with a growing body of scientific evidence to support it. It involves tapping on the body along various meridian points whilst thinking about an issue you are wanting to shift. I am aware that it may sound a little ‘out there,’ (I myself when I first came across it thought it was a bit quirky to say the least!) However I always encourage people to never take things on blind faith (I’m always that person placebos never work for anyway) so I always advise just approaching things with an open mind and getting to feel the difference for yourself! I would also say, please don’t worry about whether you subscribe to the whole energy idea- it won’t interfere with the effectiveness of it (although these things do benefit best from keeping an open mind) and you don’t even have to believe it’s going to work. If it’s more comfortable for you, you can look at it from a scientific perspective instead (yay for science!) I’ll be discussing the science behind EFT in another post so stay tuned for that (yes I know, I sound like a TV presenter) but in this post I’m going to be sharing what EFT does and how it’s relevant for us creative types.

What Does EFT Do?

The reason I’m so passionate about EFT is because it can change the way we emotionally experience and recall memories, which is huge- AND it can do it in a relatively short space of time. It can also take the charge out of limiting beliefs (thus giving us the freedom to choose new ones, huzzah!) Most importantly, the differences are TANGIBLE. It’s wonderful to have something that isn’t just about thinking a new thought over and over again, or just having to ‘try harder.’ And let’s face it, we’ve all been there and got the t-shirt! How many times do we find ourselves in situations where we are fighting to be free of the same thoughts, or limiting beliefs, feeling like no matter how determined we are, something just isn’t shifting. If it were simply a matter of trying harder, I truly believe we’d all be walking on sunshine! As humans, it is in our nature to TRY. And to keep trying. But what’s great about EFT is that it is NOT about trying harder. In fact, it’s about making things easier. It’s about making the hard things effortless, and experiencing greater freedom in who we really are and who we want to become.

What Can Emotional Freedom Technique Help With?

The list is pretty extensive, so below is just some of the most common issues that it can help resolve:

Specific Phobias

Trauma

Depression

Anxiety

Stress

Eating disorders and body dysmorphia

Cravings

Addiction

Stage fright

Panic

Break ups

Limiting beliefs

Specific memories

Grief

OCD

Burnout

And much more!

To Be Clear…

Obviously this is only just the basics, and really this post only just scratches the surface but it’s important to note that with EFT, it is never about making an unpleasant thing pleasant. It is-put simply- just about taking the negative emotional charge away where it is unwanted and impacting on our present. We don’t have to keep reliving things that are unhelpful to us, and it allows us the freedom to take something from emotionally charged to factual. Think of it a bit like a filing system: it enables us to file away the things we don’t want to look at every day. At a very basic neuroscience level it essentially allows us to change the amygdalas emotional memories where they are problematic, and helps us retrain pathways in our brain. Don’t panic if that sounds like word salad as I will be explaining about this more fully in a separate post! You don’t need to understand all this for it to work, but if you’re anything like me and you love to know the how, then I wanted to include this!

You may wonder why I’m including posts on EFT on a dancing blog. It is common for us creative types to feel things deeply, and the demands of the industry are high. It takes a lot of guts and courage as well as being a high demand on your energy to put yourself out there for auditions, or perform night after night- not to mention that sometimes we are our own worst critics. It is paramount as performers that we cultivate resilience, not from a place of having to ‘toughen up’ but from a space of being able to listen to ourselves and know how to heal where needed. For this reason EFT can be a wonderful tool in our self care toolkit. But truly it is relevant for anyone 🙂

The great thing to remember about EFT, is it is long lasting! You don’t have have to keep revisiting the same thing over and over which is pretty impressive. It allows us to heal beautifully and with ease but can also just be really good for the every day stuff too. If you’re wanting to know more about Emotional Freedom Technique, or you have any questions, feel free to pop them in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

16 Comments

  • Tom

    Hi Natalie,

    This is such an important article, especially for people like my niece who hasn’t been able to attend her dance classes because of the pandemic and us being in lockdown here in the UK. This is really stressing her out and depressing her. Emotional Freedom Technique could be something that helps her a lot, and could help her dance friends.

    I am going to share this article with my sister-in-law (her Mum) and encourage her to take my niece through these techniques that can hopefully help her with her stresses, strains and bit of depression.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    • Natalie Bartlett

      Hi Tom, so happy to hear this. I really think it can be so beneficial so I’m so happy that you’ve passed on the information to her 🙂 I will be posting more articles on this, so look out for those too! (I’ll be going more into the detail of how it actually works, as well as the tapping points etc.) All the best, and I hope your niece feels much better soon. Lockdown really has taken a toll on a lot of people’s mental well-being I think, but I truly do think that EFT can help 🙂

  • Yvette

    I must admit, you have left me intrigued to find out more about EFT. I have never hear of it, yet am willing to give it a try, seeing the list of ailments it will supposedly help. I’ve never heard of the term meridian points either, so look forward to learning where those are and how to tap them! Very interesting article and I want to know more!

    • Natalie Bartlett

      Hi Yvette, I am so happy this piqued your interest. Yes, it’s quite an intriguing list isn’t it? Especially as we often get labelled as ‘having anxiety, or ocd’ or whatever the issue might be. I often think that the way this miss phrased can be somewhat unhelpful as it kind of,indicates,once you ‘have’ them, they’re here to stay. But once you have a tool like EFT, this definitely doesn’t have to be the case. It gives you a roadmap as it were for moving through them to a space of healing. I will definitely be covering a lot more about EFT soon in my other posts, so I’m sure it will all start making a lot more sense soon 🙂

  • Christine

    I have heard of EFT before. Last year I read a book that included a chapter on EFT, and it introduced me to the tapping technique. I tried it out and did it for a week, but I didn’t stick with it and obviously, that one chapter was not enough info anyway. I really liked the tapping technique, though, and I would like to get into it again. Your post taught me so much more about it! I had no idea that EFT could help with so many issues, that list is long … Although I do not need a science report to be convinced by EFT’s effectiveness 😉 I would be interested to read the science behind it.
    Very interesting article!
    Can you teach EFT to others and give treatment as an EFT practitioner?

    • Natalie Bartlett

      Hi Christine, that’s great that you have some experience with EFT. I think you’re right, a chapter is great to get you started but as with everything there is an art to EFT and that is where more knowledge can be helpful for garnering some deeper results. It’s also where having an EFT practitioner can be helpful 🙂

      Yes, the science really is interesting (honestly science is my happy place, or one of them outside of the studio and the stage) so I look forward to being able to write about this soon.

      So EFT the basics in and of itself is quite simple to use and sometimes a practitioner will give you homework to go away and tap on over the week. In this sense you can always use the basics and I always encourage people to get tapping on their own, but only in as much as they feel comfortable with as I think consistency can produce some really great results, particularly with riding the highs and lows of life. I tend to advise waiting to tap on the deeper stuff with a practitioner though as they know how to guide you through it safely and effectively. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  • Matt Lin

    Hi Natalie,

    Thanks for showing us what Emotional Freedom Technique is. It’s my first time hearing about it, so I feel it’s very interesting. I must admit that I need this technique to learn how to take away all the negative thoughts and to move my mind back to the positive side. By doing so, I can focus on something that really matters.

    I cannot wait for your next sharing,

    Matt

    • Natalie Bartlett

      Hi Matt, so happy I was able to introduce you to EFT! Yes, it really is a wonderful technique for clearing negative thoughts and emotions- it brings a lot of freedom. People often report feeling emotionally much lighter after they start it in their life so I’m sure you will experience great benefits! Thanks for stopping by and will be posting more on EFT soon 🙂

  • Kerry Burke

    Hi Natalie,
    Thanks for the great article Natalie, it resonated with me on a couple of levels. I’ve done quite a bit of coaching young adults sports in the past. Being a largely analytical and data driven person in my career, I would many times approach the psychological aspects of the game that way – most times with varied results. That is until I came across a peer who was very driven by positive reinforcement through visualization. It was an eye opening change to me not only in coaching but my own life as well.

    As I’ve gotten older and ‘wiser?’ I’ve tried to apply this in many aspects of raising my family as well as using it for my own challenges. I have heard of EFT or similar before but had not researched it much. Your article has peaked my interest and I’d like to learn more on the subject. Thanks for posting, I’ll defo be returning in the future to see what follow up articles you’ll be sharing.

    Stay safe and stay healthy!

    • Natalie Bartlett

      Hi Kerry, so interesting to hear your coaching experiences. I agree, creative visualisation can be incredibly powerful both for our performance and in terms of the emotional landscape we create for our own wellbeing. This is because there is a part of our brain called the RAS (reticular activating system.) When we visualise, the brain can’t tell the difference between that visualisation and reality, it essentially views it as fact and therefore primes itself to looking for opportunities and situations to make that thing come to pass. It basically acts as a command to our subconscious which is why visualisation is so powerful (also where the term self fulfilling prophecy comes in.)

      A typical example is an experiment done with people playing basketball. They were split into 2 groups (a and b) Group A were allowed to go and practise shooting hoops for 1 hour each day, whereas group B were only allowed to visualise practising. At the end of 2 weeks, both groups were allowed to go and shoot hoops. Group B (who visualised) got many more hoops in, simply because the brain had taken it as fact that they would, and therefore found ways to make it happen. This also ties in quite nicely with Law Of Attraction stuff.

      From what you’re talking about, I think you’d find EFT very useful with regards to clearing any blocks when you visualise 🙂 I hope that’s helpful, I’ve found it very successful when used for this as well as for clearing negative emotions generally.

  • Partha Banerjee

    Hey Natalie,

    First things first, let’s get the most important thing out of the way:

    “I Wanna Go Alton Towers!”

    LOL.

    Actually, just being able to go further than a few hundred yards down the road would be a treat.

    But, as you say, 2020 didn’t quite go as planned (and not so far into 2021 for that matter).

    Anyway, back to the point, EFT.

    I will say that if I read your article a few years ago, I too would have found it a “little out there” and “quirky”.

    However, I have spent much of the past 3 years “working on myself” and my mental well-being.

    I’ve come to appreciate that the human mind is a powerful thing. Plus, it has an inordinate ability to control pretty much every aspect of our lives.

    Admittedly, my main concern with the “monkey mind” is more geared towards the future, I have a tendency to be a “What if” type of person.

    That being said, it is certainly something that I have far more control over nowadays.

    I will admit that your explanation of EFT, and the potential impact on emotional experience, recall, and limiting beliefs has me somewhat intrigued.

    Isn’t this something that holds all of us back at one point or another?

    I know you’ve mentioned that you’ve literally just started your training, but do you think EFT would be an effective technique for any form of overthinking?

    Something that has become obvious to me in recent years is the huge connection between mind and body, so the use of tapping and meridian points makes a huge amount of sense to me.

    You may possibly have your first EFT fan, LOL.

    I look forward to following your journey Natalie, and and your further insights into a fascinating subject.

    Partha

    • Natalie Bartlett

      Hi Partha, ah yes Alton Towers please 😂!
      It’s so true, how we think and feel really does feed into every area of our lives. It impacts not just our emotional landscape, but also what actions we take and therefore what results we see in life so it really is huge.

      Yes, EFT can work great on ‘what ifs.’ What ifs often come in the form of resistance, so it is a great way to clear this. It basically means that we stop having an emotional reaction to the thoughts and therefore the brain after a while stops reproducing them. (And if they do come in, it doesn’t affect us in the same way.)

      So in answer to your question, I think EFT is terrific for overthinking. From a neuroscience perspective when we overthink, it is usually (if we dig a little deeper) accompanied by a sense of worry or anxiety. When this occurs, what is actually happening is that the amygdala (the part of the brain that registers potential threat) is being triggered and therefore those neural pathways become more hardwired- hence the overthinking loop. EFT works to change our emotional reaction to the thoughts, thus downregulating the activity of the amygdala so that new anxiety free pathways can be formed and a more relaxed approach to life becomes inherent. I hope that helps 🙂 In case you are interested, I will be posting all about the science behind EFT in my next post!

  • Jamie L.

    Hi, great post! I’ve used EFT techniques for years. I normally get out of the habit and then run across articles like yours to bet me practicing it again. I find it especially helpful with changing my mood and feeling more positive. I’ve also used it to curb cravings.
    Thanks again for such a great post! I look forward to reading more from you.
    Stay Healthy!
    Jamie L.

    • Natalie Bartlett

      Hi Jamie, that’s great! I think sometimes we go for different techniques depending on what season we’re in, and sometimes it’s nice to have variety too so I totally get that 🙂 I’m glad you’ve experienced positive changes with it, and it’s always so nice to hear other people’s successes with EFT. And yes, it can be great for curbing those sugary cravings we get too!!

  • Andrew

    Any therapy or process that we can use to positively impact our lives has to be good.
    I’ve read about and talked with others about the EFT before and even used it. I can honestly say that my life now is changed in so many positive ways since I began a journey of personal growth and development about 25 years ago.

    EFT is one of many techniques I’ve used on my journey while trying to understand and make sense of ‘my life,’ and it has helped me to get to where I am today. For this, I am grateful for all the practitioners that share their knowledge and skills, and are willing to help others improve the quality of their lives, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

    I look forward to hearing more about your learning, practice, and sharing of this technique with others as time goes by.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Natalie Bartlett

      Hi Andrew, great to hear about your experiences 🙂 Yes, there’s a variety of great techniques out there, isn’t there? It sounds like you’ve been on quite a journey! Like you say personal growth is an ongoing process and we can really gain so many positive changes from it and reap so many rewards when we put the effort in. It’s a great and empowering thing to experience. So glad you enjoyed this article, and I wish you continued success on your personal growth journey 🙂

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