Can EFT Tapping Work for Anxiety?

Liesel Teversham

Liesel helps HSP introverts to embrace their sensitivity as a superpower, and overcome obstacles so they can thrive. She also works with clients to solve their health issues, and has authored 2 books. More here.

Published on 2020/05/23

A number of people in my circle of family, friends, colleagues, clients, and acquaintances suffer from anxiety. I know it intimately myself.

I get the question often:

“Can EFT really help my anxiety to calm down?”

The short answer is yes. Please, do go ahead and try it!

Here’s the longer, more comprehensive answer:

Yes, it can relieve anxiety symptoms and… if you want the anxiety to calm down permanently, it’s about more than tapping for the symptoms.

Anxiety symptoms are things like:

  • Shortness of breath (shallow breathing)
  • Butterflies on the stomach
  • A feeling of impending doom
  • An awful feeling that something horrible is about to happen
  • Shaking hands
  • Panic attacks
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Not being able to feel calm and still
  • Racing thoughts
  • Racing heart (palpitations)
  • And more

The list is long – and if you’ve experienced anxiety you know how awful this can feel.

Tapping for Symptoms

Addressing the symptoms with EFT can be really helpful in the moment. For instance, if you have an upcoming test and start feeling really anxious about it, you can do this:

“Even though I have palpitations and butterflies on my stomach just thinking about this test, I love and accept myself anyway”. 

Then go ahead and tap many rounds of EFT on all the points, for all the symptoms you’re currently experiencing.

An important point about scripts:

People often ask for a “tapping script” to use for their problem. The truth is – tapping while just “telling yourself the truth as it is for you right now” is far more effective than any script out there. EFT works best when we are specific and when we use words that feel completely true for us in this moment. No-one else’s script is going to be as specific and to the point, as our own language.

If you don’t know how to tap yet, or how to create your own tapping phrases, yes, go ahead and tap with a video you’ve found on the topic of your current problem.

By far, the most effective is this:

Create a tapping statement by stating your problem (make sure you use your own words). For instance:

“I have butterflies and I feel nauseous”.

Then, combine it with a short phrase of affirmation that can be anything like this:

  • “I’m still okay”
  • “I’m still a good person”
  • “I can love and accept myself anyway”
  • “Maybe I can learn to love and accept myself one day”
  • “I soothe and comfort myself” (this phrase was created by my wonderful EFT mentor, Sejual Shah)

Then combine the 2 like this:

“Even though I have butterflies on my stomach and I feel nauseous, I soothe and comfort myself [or any of the other phrases above]”  – while you tap on the Side of Hand point.

Then tap through each point (Eyebrow, Side of Eye, Under Eye, Under Nose, Chin, Collarbone, Under Arm, Top of Head) with a short reminder phrase of your problem, on each point. For instance “I’m nauseous” or “these butterflies”. (See the attached image for the points).

Tap a few rounds if you’re very anxious. Keep going until you feel relief and calmer.

We have to find the roots

Here’s the reason I said tapping for symptoms is not as effective as getting to the root.

Sometimes people will notice that they tap and tap and tap, and make no headway. Their anxiety does not calm down, they still feel the same, and they give up thinking “EFT just does not work.”

You may even know a person like that.

That is exactly why we need to be able to get to the root of an issue.

It’s like taking a headache pill to kill the headache, while actually the underlying cause of the headache is a bad posture at the computer. If we don’t address our posture and the resulting muscle issues, we’ll keep needing to take the headache pill.

That’s a temporary solution, while the root keeps creating more issues for us.

Reminders of previous times

In the same way, sometimes we’re anxious because the current situation reminds us of another time in our life where something awful happened or that had an undesirable result. There are parts of our brain that keep watching out for danger. It will try to alert us and make us get out of the situation by creating “symptoms” like palpitations, nausea, sweating, trembling and the dread on the tummy.

If we don’t figure out what this reminds us of and resolve that issue, we’re going to keep feeling the anxiety in the present – over and over. And then we think EFT does not work because we tried it on the current issue (test anxiety).

Again, that was the “long” answer to “Does EFT really work for anxiety?”

Yes, it does. If you get to the root of it and use EFT for the root cause. The deeper issue. It’s so important to find the cause so that you can finally be free of that old trigger.

A few more thoughts:

Anxiety is not usually “cured” in one session. It often has been building up over a lifetime and there can be many contributing factors. It’s usually a complex issue to solve and needs trust between client and practitioner to get to all the roots. Yes, there can be more than one. Layers were created on top of each other. And we need to peel all the layers, gently, one by one.

Can EFT help with anxiety?
YES it can.

Does it go away in one session?
No, not usually.

What is necessary to help anxiety to fully resolve?
Persistence, perseverance, patience, a willingness to try new angles, getting to the root.

And a skilled practitioner helps tremendously so you don’t just tap for the symptoms.

If we don’t solve our computer posture issue, symptoms will return. Getting to the root and working through that, will solve the issue permanently. It usually doesn’t happen overnight, and due to posture habits, it might take us a little while to settle into new habits.

In the same way if we don’t find the roots of anxiety, symptoms will return. And it may take us a little while to learn new ways of being in the world.


Feel free to ask any questions you might have about EFT. It might become the next article and will help others too!

Image by Plukje from Pixabay


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