[This article is part of a four part series on how to get create with tapping when you are stuck or bored with tapping. A new part willed be added every few weeks. See the parts that have been published so far and check back regularly to see the full series.]
Mechanically tapping/Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a very easy thing to do. All you need is to provide stimulus to the tapping points plus tuning into the issue at hand. The tapping part is easy; what can be hard is the tuning in part. Often we are so close to an issue or we have been working on an issue that it is difficult to see it clearly.
Recently Jeremy Dean’s PSYBlog had a very interesting two part series (via kottke.org) which explored 14 of ways we can become more creative and more efficient problem solvers. In this four part series I am going to explore how we can apply many of these insights to tune into our issues in new ways (plus a few of my own).
Obviously not all of these are going to work for every issue, but by having a complete menu to choose from you are going to find new ways to approach the issue.
Two Problems Are Better Than One (via part 2)
People solve many problems analogically: by recalling a similar old one and applying the same, or similar solution. Unfortunately studies have found that people are poor at recalling similar problems they’ve already solved.
In a counter-intuitive study, however, Kurtz and Lowenstein (2007) found that having two problems rather than one made it more likely that participants would recall problems they’d solved before, which helped them solve the current problem.
So don’t avoid complications, gather them all up; they may well help jog your memory.
How to apply to tapping: As this study points out, sometimes we are not successful by being specific (and something we can’t even get specific). One of the ways I like to deal with this is through a simple basket process.
I close my eyes and start tapping (moving from point to point every few seconds). I take a few deep breaths and imagine a large wicker basket. Then one at a time I place all the issues I am currently working on into the basket. I am not spending a great deal of time going into detail with each issue, but just seeing the general idea of the issue going in. Once I have added everything to the basket I do a number of simple steps.
First, I recognize that all of these issues exist because on some level my system thought they were helpful at some point. I let me system know that many (if not all) of these issues/idea have fulfilled their task and they can move on.
Second, I recognize that many of the ideas/issues are burdens that I have picked up for others. It is a high act of love to pick something up for someone else, but it is a higher act of love to release and heal these burdens.
Finally, I ask the system what insight and information it has to help me get past the issues that are left in the basket. I am often shocked at the amazing insight and information that is brought forward in these moments.
Fight! Fight! Fight! (via part 2)
We tend to think that when people are arguing, they become more narrow-minded and rigid and consequently less creative.
But, according to research by Dreu and Nijstad (2008), the reverse may actually be true. Across four experiments they found that when in conflict people engaged more with a problem and generated more original ways of arguing.
Being in social conflict seems to give people an intense motivated focus. So, to get creative, start a fight.
How to apply to tapping: One of my favorite types of tapping is argument tapping. In argument tapping all you do is give voice to each sides of an argument. As you move from point to point you state the opposing point of view.
For example, if you are trying to decide if you should take a new job you might tap like this:
eb: (con change) I am worried I am not going to like the new job
se: (pro change) But I know I need to leave the job I am in
e: (con change) But you aren’t going to know anyone at the new job
un: (pro change) You didn’t know anyone when you started your current job and you made friends
Think Love Not Sex (via part 2)
Forster et al. (2009) found that when experimental participants were primed with thoughts of love they became more creative, but when primed with carnal desire they became less creative (although more analytical).
While it certainly isn’t the first time that love has been identified as a creative stimulus, psychologists have suggested a particular cognitive mechanism.
Love cues us with thoughts of the long-term, hence our minds zoom out and we reason more abstractly and analogically. Sex meanwhile cues the present, leading to a concrete analytical processing style. For creativity, abstraction and analogy are preferred.
How to apply to tapping: Start your tapping sessions on an emotional high. There are couple of ways of doing this. You could either tap to a list of things you are thankful for or you can tap while thinking of the people you love (or both!). (I go into a much large discussion of why this happens in the free audio Gratitdue v. Poverty.)
By taking a few minutes to do this type of tapping you are going to release a great deal of the general edge and emotion you are feeling. By doing this type of work you are clearing some of your emotional clutter which help you to see things clearer which help you see a path to healing much clearer. (Here is another possible way to achieve the same thing in the free audio Clearing The Deck
This is part 1 of a 4 part series. Check out all 4 parts for more creative ideas.