Tapping: a great way to help kids deal with anxiety?

The Tapping Solution Foundation explains that by tapping particular points on your body while talking through something that might be causing you to feel anxious, you can restore balance in your body and mind.

Ever heard of the Tapping Solution? It’s the practice of tapping particular points on your body with your fingertips while talking through something that might be causing you to feel anxious. This, according to The Tapping Solution Foundation, helps you to work through your emotions, restoring balance in your body and mind.

Dr. Dawson Church explains, “Acupoint tapping sends signals directly to the stress centres of the mid-brain” that physically and emotionally, you’re going to be just fine.

But how exactly does it work?

Parent24 spoke to the Director of Program Development at The Tapping Solution Foundation, Alison Partridge. She explains, “Tapping makes full use of the mind-body connection, acknowledging and integrating the concepts that physical pain, disease, and mental wellbeing are intricately connected to our emotional states.”

She continues, “The body is equipped with an energy system that travels along pathways or channels known as meridians. Tapping on these meridian endpoints helps to stimulate this system, and when verbally or mentally addressing the root causes of distress, the areas of blocked energy are able to release and flow naturally. Because of this, many say it is a mix between acupuncture and modern psychology.”

Biologically speaking Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Tapping revolves around the functions of the amygdala: the almond-shaped part of your brain is responsible for the negative emotions you might feel when you’re stressed about work, or similarly, the kids are feeling anxious about an upcoming test or conflict in their friendship circle. The amygdala triggers the body to release cortisol, i.e. the stress hormone.

Alison explains, “This process is highly useful when faced with a real survival situation or an actual threat, but can be detrimental when developed into an ‘irrational fear’ such as public speaking or a fear of rejection. Tapping has been shown to literally ‘turn off’ the amygdala, disrupting the stress response and allowing the brain synapses to be rewired for a more appropriate emotional response to a given situation.”

If you focus on what it is that’s making you feel anxious, and talk yourself through it, whether it’s saying, “I will meet that deadline – I am good enough” or “I studied really had – I will pass that test”, while at the same time using your fingertips to tap 5-7 times on the 9 meridian points, you can restore the balance in your body.

Instead of allowing negative thoughts to consume us, we end up taking control and conquering it, which Dr Church suggests, “gives you the best of both worlds, body and mind, like getting a massage during a psychotherapy session.”

Tapping in schools

“One of the major benefits of tapping is that it can be learned by anyone, even children as young as 4,” explains Alison.

It’s a good idea to introduce tapping in schools as children often feel anxiety over various responsibilities, including tests and presentations, as well as social issues, whether it be with a teacher or friend. Alison explains that teaching tapping can help children self-manage any negative feelings that might arise, thereby empowering students with a technique they can use whenever they feel apprehensive and stressed.

When to tap at school

Alison explains that tapping can be done in a whole-class situation, independently, or at home. She lists specifically the following situations in which tapping might be useful in class:

  • At the start of the school day to help calm students from any distractions they’ve experienced prior to starting, whether at home or on the way to school.
  • At the end of the day, as a closure or reflection on the day.
  • Before assessments, presentations, or any other whole-group activity that may cause anxiety for children.
  • After break time as a calming tool to bring students back to the classroom, ready to learn.
  • Some teachers could even have “tapping corners” for students to go to in class if they’re feeling particularly stressed during a lesson.

Where can teachers and parents learn how to tap?

Although there isn’t a specific location in South Africa where tapping is taught, the Tapping in Schools Quickstart guide is available for download.

There are also numerous other resources available on the Tapping Solution Foundation website. These include child-friendly tapping diagrams and Tapping Meditations for Teachers. You can also join the Tapping Solution Foundation Facebook group supporting educators and parents.

There also numerous books for parents and teachers to learn more about the technique.

Tapping could prove to be a very useful and inexpensive technique to help both adults and children deal with their fears and anxieties. Combining both mind and body, this could offer mental and physical relief for children.

Alison concludes, “As the scientific field of epigenetics is proving, when you change your internal environment – your emotions and beliefs – external changes in your mental and physical health will follow.”

Have you heard of tapping?

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