Composting for beginners

If you’ve had a rough day, you might decide to put your feet up and unwind with a bottle of Chardonnay, or a box of chocolates, a couple of hours of TV. It’s nice just to forget about those troublesome events, put them to the back of your mind and relax. However, you may have noticed that those things tend to show up again, perhaps as you’re trying to get to sleep, or waking you up and keeping you awake in the middle of the night.

If you apply EFT to the ‘crap’ in your day, things could be different; those troublesome events could become just another memory, and in the process you’ll change the way you respond to those kind of events in the future. Here’s an example of some ‘composting’ I did a few weeks ago.

One morning, a few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me how my therapy work was going. Sometimes I can find this friend a little bit intimidating, for a variety of reasons, I think he’s not very ‘enthusiastic’ about my therapy work. So at that moment I felt rather defensive about the whole thing, I hummed and hawed for a few moments, and did a bad job of saying how it was going. It was a little bit embarrassing at the time, I felt rather stupid, but I put it behind me and got on with other things. However, as the day went on, the memory of the exchange kept popping back up into my awareness, not particularly troubling, hardly traumatic, but it just kept popping up. By 10 o’clock that night I decided to take the hint and do something about it.

I replayed the incident in my mind, and came up with the following reactions (I also estimated the intensity of the reaction 0-10):

  • I was defensive about it with him (8)
  • I felt clumsy when I tried to explain myself (7)
  • I felt embarrassed at my performance (7)
  • I felt disapproved of (10)

Are these reactions real or justifiable? Often times the logical part of us says ‘that’s ridiculous, how can you be so childish/foolish etc etc’, on the other hand the emotional part of us knows how we feel and doesn’t listen to reason. Try talking yourself out of one of these ‘ridiculous’ reactions and see how you far you get! So regardless of how logical or reasonable the reaction appears I take it seriously.

Now that I’d identified the emotional responses, I applied a few rounds of EFT to as follows:

  • Even though I was clumsy, I deeply and completely accept myself – tap, tap, tap ….
    (The intensity went from 7 -> 0)
  • Even though I was embarrassed, I deeply and completely accept myself – tap, tap, tap ….
    (The intensity went from 7 -> 6 -> 0)
  • Even though I was defensive, I deeply and completely accept myself – tap, tap, tap ….
    (The intensity went from 8 -> 4 -> 0)
  • Even though I’m disapproved of, I deeply and completely accept myself. – tap, tap, tap …..
    (The intensity went from 10 -> 4 -> 0)

The whole process took about 10 minutes, I went to bed fell asleep easily and slept soundly.

Now when I look back at that situation I feel quite sympathetic to myself (and to him). I know I’ll do better next time, since the underlying emotional reactions to the situation have been treated to some extent, I expect to be less clumsy, embarrassed, defensive or disapproved of when a similar situation arises again.

Please notice the setup statements are all about me, not him. It’s much easier (and more ethical) to influence your own actions rather than the other person’s. Perhaps you’re thinking: “Damm!, I’m not the one with the problem, I really need to tap some sense into my husband / wife / child / parent / boss … !” You might like to consider this: if the problem was some interaction between you and another person, they were responding to you the way you were then, and now you’ve changed they will probably change the way they react to you.
Here are the steps for the ‘composting’ procedure:

  1. Get a notebook, your ‘tapping book.’
  2. During the day, make a note of bothersome experiences at home or at work
  3. At the end of the day, go through your list and estimate the emotional intensity of each event (0-10)
  4. Pick the worst!
  5. Create a setup phrase: ‘Even though ……, I deeply and completely accept myself’ and apply a few rounds of EFT until the intensity is reduced to a very low level.
  6. If little thoughts or reactions about the event come up as your tapping, write them down and tap on them as well.

If you can, process all the events of the day in the same way – why not go to bed with a peaceful mind? This sounds like it might take quite a while if you’ve had a very bad day, but it’ll probably be less time than it takes to watch Eastenders and you’ll feel a whole lot better afterwards!

What’ll happen if you do this regularly?

  • You’ll sleep well, there’s nothing to keep you awake.
  • You’ll fall asleep easily, you may have noticed the tapping is very relaxing.
  • You’ll find over time that difficult events are less stressful, although you’ve been tapping on specific events, the emotional issues or negative reactions, will probably have a lot in common, each time you tap on those reactions you are reducing their overall effect.

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