In How To Use EFT To Solve Everyday Problems and How To Use EFT To Soften Unpleasant Memories I described a simple way of splitting present problems and troublesome memories into bite sized pieces so that they could be resolved using simple EFT.
In this article I will describe a way of using this approach to take care of future events that may cause us distress in the present.
If we were just animals the future wouldn’t be such a problem for us, we would live in the present moment, coping as best we could with whatever came our way. But we are gifted with imagination and anticipation so we can create in our minds a future that hasn’t happened yet.
This is a great skill and allows us to invent, create, plan and imagine all sorts of improvements in our lives. Unfortunately the same skills allow us to invent, create, plan and imagine all sorts of terrible scenarios.
In some circumstances it is good to be able to imagine future difficulties to plan our approach and decide how best to handle it. If that was all we did then it would be a very useful skill, but many of us go much further than that by constructing the worst possible scenario in our minds, vividly living them out in our own virtual reality simulator (our mind) and feeling the bad feelings that go with that simulation.
Not content with feeling bad in advance we can endlessly repeat these poisonous fantasies and experience those bad feelings again and again. (This often happens at 3 am when we would be better off sleeping).
Having practised this negative mental rehearsal so many times it’s not difficult to see why the real experience when it arrives can be such a challenge to us, all our practice has primed us for a difficult time.
What if we could remove the excess negative emotions from our imaginations so that we can enter a situation at our best and not be burdened with the poisonous mental rehearsal that goes before it?
That’s what this process is all about. So if you have an interview, public speaking event, medical appointment or procedure, or any other situation that is keeping you awake at nights then this process may help you to be a little more at peace with it so that you can be at your best with whatever happens.
The process follows the format of the techniques for dealing with present concerns and unhelpful memories. In this case we split the upcoming event that troubles us into three aspects.
The situation: this is a description of what (we think) is going to happen.
The others: this is a description of the part we expect to be played by other people (if any) in this upcoming event.
Yourself: How you feel about the situation now and how you expect to feel and react when the situation occurs.
Once again we will use a sentence completion, “fill in the blanks”, approach to unpacking what we are expecting from this future event, so that these different aspects can be tapped on.
Pick an upcoming event that is giving you cause for concern. Bring it to mind in whatever way seems natural to you and try out these steps as we go along.
Remember this process is for dealing with moderate difficulties, if you are expecting to deal with very traumatic or difficult experiences find an experienced practitioner to work with. Start with something workable to get some experience of this process.
You could ask: “How do I know things will happen this way?” Of course you don’t know for sure, but not knowing what will happen probably hasn’t stopped you worrying about it.
It will …
This describes the overall thoughts, feeling and judgements about this future event.
Think about the future event that’s troubling you.
Complete the sentence “It will … “ with whatever comes to mind. Don’t think about it deeply, just write whatever pops into your head.
- It will be a disaster
- It will be devastating
- It will ruin my plans
Keep completing the “it will …” sentences until you run out of ideas or start repeating yourself.
Now, read each one of your sentences out loud giving it an intensity score from 0-10. This is to find out which sentences are carrying the emotional charge and need to be taken care of.
Once you have listed them you can tap out any high scoring sentences using the “It will … “ sentence as the setup statement
For example: “Even though it will be a disaster, I accept myself and how I feel” – use “disaster” as the reminder phrase.
Work your way through all the charged statements.
They will …
This section is about what you imagine other people will think, do or say in this future event. You can use this to unpack all the anticipated judgements and reactions of the other people involved in this situation.
Complete the sentence “They will … “ with whatever comes to mind. Once again don’t give it too much thought, just write down whatever thoughts or ideas come into your mind.
- They will be angry at me
- They will ignore what I’m saying
- They will criticise me.
Keep completing the “they will …” sentences until you run out of ideas or start repeating yourself.
Read each one of these sentences out loud giving it an intensity score from 0-10.
Once you have listed them you can tap out any high scoring sentences using the “They will … “ sentence as the setup statement
For example: “Even though they will be angry at me, I accept myself and how I feel” – use “angry at me” as the reminder phrase.
Remember, you can replace They will be with “He will … “ or “She will …” if those are a better fit for the situation.
I will …
In this section we unpack how we think we will react in this situation. How we think we will feel if this event turns out like this.
Complete the sentence “I will … “ with whatever comes to mind. Once again, don’t think about it, just write whatever pops into your head.
- I will make a fool of myself
- I will go to pieces
- I won’t know what to do
Keep completing the “I will … “ sentences until you run out of ideas or start repeating yourself.
Read each one of your sentences giving it an intensity score from 0-10.
Once you have listed them you can tap out any high scoring sentences using the “I will … “ sentence as the setup statement
For example: “Even though I will make a fool of myself, I accept myself and how I feel” – use “make a fool of myself” as the reminder phrase.
Go back to thinking about that upcoming situation.
What is that like for you now?
The intensity of the anxiety or discomfort about this future event should have diminished. Is there anything else that needs to be tapped out? If so, take care of it now.
Summary Of The Process
1. Get a piece of paper or download the It will ... Tapping Worksheet (500 downloads) for this process.
2. Briefly describe the upcoming situation giving it an overall score.
3. Start with “It will …”, making a list of sentences that start that way until you run out of sentence completions.
Note: Do not score or judge these sentences as you are going along. Aim to get as many sentence completions as possible, you will sift out the wheat from the chaff in the next step.
4. When you have completed your “It will …” list, work your way through each statement giving it an intensity score from 0-10.
5. Tap out all the high intensity items in this section using:
6. Write a list of sentences that start “They will … “. completing them with a list of thoughts, judgements and feelings about the other people who were involved in this situation.
7. Give each statement in that list an intensity score from 0-10.
8. Tap out all the high intensity statements from this section using:
9. Write a list of sentences that start “I will …”, completing it with all the reactions, feelings and thoughts that you experienced at the time.
10. Give each statement in that list an intensity score from 0-10.
11. Tap out all the high intensity statements from this section using:
12. Check back to the original upcoming event. How does that feel now?
Sadly there is no technique that can make all our lives plain sailing. Some experiences may be difficult, painful, tragic or heart rending. There is no escape from the realities of the human condition, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to face them at our best.
Photo Credit: Raymond Larose via Compfight