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Transcript – Tap Out Anxiety With Brad Yates

Follow along with the transcript below for episode: Tap Out Anxiety With Brad Yates




[00:00:02] PF: Thank you for joining us for episode 438 of Live Happy Now. Do you ever wish you had a secret weapon to help calm your mind and body during stressful times? Well, this week’s guest says you do. I’m your host, Paula Felps. This week, I am talking with Brad Yates, an expert in emotional freedom tapping or EFT.


Tapping, as it’s commonly called, combines the principles of acupuncture and positive psychology to help people overcome fears, relieve stress, and just enjoy greater well-being. Today, Brad author of the best-selling children’s book The Wizard’s Wish and co-author of the book Freedom at Your Fingertips is going to explain how tapping works, why it works, and how we can all get started. Let’s have a listen.




[00:00:49] PF: Brad, thanks for being with me here today.


[00:00:51] BY: Oh, my pleasure, Paula. I’m very happy to be here.


[00:00:53] PF: This is a great topic. I was excited when I was approached about having you on the show because tapping is something that I’ve studied, I’ve used in my own practice for many, many years. I think before we dive into why it’s so awesome, I’m going to have you explain what it is.


[00:01:11] BY: So tapping, other than the tap dancing and all these other ways that we can use tapping to be happy, this is a process based on acupuncture. So for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, they’ve said there’s a flow of energy through the body along pathways that are called meridians. When the energy is flowing naturally, we experience our natural state of health and well-being physically and emotionally. When that energy gets stuck, we don’t feel so good. When we don’t feel good, we don’t think as clearly. We don’t make the best choices. There’s all kinds of unfortunate consequences for that.


So in traditional Chinese medicine, the doctor would stick needles in these key points around the body to stimulate that healthy flow of energy. What we’re doing is just using our fingertips to tap those same points. It downregulates stress in a very profound way. It’s the simplest, quickest way that I know to reduce stress.


[00:02:07] PF: Yes. It was the nineties when someone introduced me to it, and he was telling me about it. He was a musician, so I thought, “Well, you’re just high because there is absolutely no way that this works.” So then he’s like, “I swear, Paula. Just try this. Try this.” I was really amazed at how it could calm me in stressful situations. It’s not woo-woo. There is science and research behind it. Can you talk about that for a little bit?


[00:02:34] BY: Yes, absolutely. It’s wonderful that we have this growing body of research validating this process. Some of my friends who were doing this, Dr. Dawson Church and Dr. Peta Stapleton, are two of the leading researchers. Dawson did a study with cortisol levels. So when we are experiencing stress, this part of our brain called the amygdala that looks for threats and puts us into fight or flight, and we start pumping cortisol through our body. So they did a test where they measured people’s cortisol levels. It was a double-blind study. They had a control group. They had somebody just deep breathing or something like that and then the third group doing tapping.


When the researchers were testing the cortisol levels before and after, it said that the cortisol levels had dropped by an average of 24%. They said that’s not possible, threw it out, and recalibrated the machines, ran it again. It’s like, “Oh, no. That’s actually what’s happened,” and different tests have replicated that showing. Because it’s one thing for us to tap and say, “Yes, I think I feel better.” Sometimes, we profoundly feel better. Sometimes, we may not notice it. It may be very subtle, but there are biological markers that we can measure like our cortisol levels.


My friend, Dr. Peta Stapleton, has done FMRI studies where we can see the parts of the brain that light up and the different activity in different situations. Then after tapping, how that brain activity is calmed down. So, yes, there’s hundreds of studies now in peer-reviewed journals. They’ve mashed it up against CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, which is sort of the gold standard of therapy. It has performed showing results quicker, longer lasting.


One study that was done, the people running the study who were CBT people said, “Well, you can say that the tapping was not inferior to CBT.”


[00:04:40] PF: Spoken like a true researcher, right? So we know what it’s doing. We can see the results. Have they been able to explain why it’s so effective?


[00:04:52] BY: Yes. There are a number of theories as to why it is. Obviously, the original theory that was when tapping was first discovered. Well, it had been discovered many, many years ago. But the way that we do it now by a psychologist named Dr. Roger Callahan back around 1980 or so was just based on acupuncture. So saying, okay, well, this – it’s the meridian system. Either it’s stuck or it’s flowing, and the tapping stimulates that healthy flow.


We can look at it in terms of there’s a phenomenon when we’re tapping on these key points. It’s called piezoelectricity. It sends a bioelectrical signal to the brain that calms down that part of our brain, the amygdala and the limbic system, that is reacting to circumstances or what we believe the circumstances might be. That’s the great thing is it doesn’t tap away justified fear or stress. It’s not like if we’re being chased by a bear. It’s like, “Well, this is really uncomfortable feeling. I’m going to tap, and I’m going to calm myself down.”


[00:05:59] PF: Much better. Yes.


[00:06:00] BY: “And I’m going to be so relaxed as I get eaten.” That’s one of the things is when we hang on to fear and anxiety, it’s because part of our brain says we need this. If I don’t feel this fear, I’ll be stupid. I’ll make bad choices. The funny thing is it’s just not true.


[00:06:21] PF: We sometimes make a habit out of feeling fearful or feeling anxious, and it’s not something we do consciously. But I know that has happened in my own life, where just certain situations will trigger it. Then you just never seem to be untriggered. So how can tapping help get out of a chronic situation like that?


[00:06:42] BY: Yes. We’ve learned to behave in that way, and we do what works. So if we see a dog, as a child, dogs scared us. We avoided dogs because we felt that fear. At a young age, we say, “Well, that worked. I didn’t get attacked by that dog because I ran away. So, obviously, having this response when I see a dog works for me.” It’s obviously not the only way to respond to a dog or keep yourself safe, but it’s what I found happened. So now, I may be triggered with that fear anytime I see that.


So the mind is always identifying, associating, responding. We see something, and we go, “What does this remind me of? Is this something I’ve experienced before? Or does it look similar to something I’ve experienced before? How did I respond to that in the past such that I survived?” We go through this pattern without even being consciously aware of it.


Ninety to 95 percent of our behavior is unconscious. We’re doing things before, which is necessary as human beings because we have to learn how to do certain things and make it unconscious. Otherwise, everything would take forever. As we’re growing up, we don’t sit there and go, “Okay. Well, this is really helpful. Well, this is less helpful, so I’m not going to remember this.” We don’t know to do that. When we’re learning how to walk, how to talk, how to think, we’re just taking it all in, and we’re not able to be critical about some of that. So we just take that all in. So we’re constantly just behaving on autopilot.


When we become aware of that, and we start tapping, and I totally recommend tapping on a daily basis. To me, it should be as much a daily practice as brushing your teeth because we experience stress and anxiety on a daily basis, especially because we’re walking. Most of us are walking around with a small device that is constantly telling us what to be upset about.


[00:08:49] PF: Yes. It’s reminding us not to relax, basically.


[00:08:51] BY: Yes. “Hey, were you relaxed?” “Oh, wait till I tell you what’s going on in Washington,” or whatever or a text from a friend saying, “Hey, here’s something to be upset about.” So we’re constantly being triggered by things, and it’s like being – falling in the mud on a daily basis but never taking a shower.


[00:09:14] PF: That’s a great analogy. I love that.


[00:09:16] BY: We practice physical hygiene on a daily basis; brushing our teeth, taking showers, whether we need it or not. Very few of us wait for a week and then notice that people around us are holding their nose and going, “Oh, that’s right. I haven’t taken a shower in a while. I should probably do that.” But with stress, most of us don’t have a daily hygiene practice. So that’s what tapping is. As we do that, we are less likely to be triggered. If we are triggered, it is going to be less profound.


[00:09:47] PF: Yes. I want to dive into that. If you don’t have a practice, and then you get stressed out, and you start tapping, is it going to take longer? Is it going to be more difficult for you to relieve yourself in that situation? Or how does that work?


[00:10:02] BY: It’s hard to say because we never really know how much is in there. There are times where we can start tapping, and the shift is profound. It’s in a matter of moments. We may be experiencing stress or anxiety at an 8 out of 10. Just a few moments of tapping can bring us down to a one or even a zero, sometimes.


Now, we see this happen. It doesn’t happen all the time, and sometimes we bring it from an 8 down to a 7.75 after several minutes of tapping. It’s like, okay, it’s a little bit better. To me, hey, any relief we get is great. But what takes it down to a zero, it’s hard to say why sometimes it’s faster than other times. So it’s not necessarily going to take much longer, but we increase the odds of it being quicker.


We also increase the odds of not getting to an eight if we have a regular level because stress also has compound interest. It builds up. The thing that we’re getting freaked out about may not be the thing that’s happening right now but just all the other things that have been building up for a while.


[00:11:16] PF: That whole cascade effect is kicking in. So what does a tapping practice look like? Is it people want things that are quick? Can you do it in a quick amount of time? Can you tell us like what is the recommendation? If you’re the doctor and this is a prescription, like what are we doing?


[00:11:32] BY: Yes. It’s like with washing our hands during the pandemic. They said 20 seconds. Sing happy birthday. That’s how long it takes to wash your hands. Now, obviously, if we’ve been – if you’re into auto mechanics, you’ve been working on the engine of your car, 20 seconds is not going to clean your hands after working on your car. So there are times where we want to do it longer. But if you can only do 20 seconds, that’s great.


So with tapping and with brushing your teeth, they say two minutes. These are set amounts that this is helpful as a regular practice. So with tapping, if you can only tap for a couple of minutes. Hey, when you get up first thing in the morning and you’re on the can, you can multitask.


[00:12:19] PF: That’s an easy one to do. If you’re tapping, you can’t be scrolling on your phone.


[00:12:24] BY: Yes.


[00:12:24] PF: Another bonus.


[00:12:25] BY: Yes. It’s certainly going to be much healthier for you to be tapping rather than scrolling.


[00:12:33] PF: So what do you recommend? Okay, that’s one way you can do it is every morning when you first get up and sit down.


[00:12:39] BY: Yes. Tap while saying affirmations. Now, this is why I’ve created the YouTube videos. So I have like 1,200 videos on YouTube on a multitude of subjects. So whatever might be coming up for you, whether it’s feeling anxiety, whether it’s feeling stress, feeling anger, feeling fear, there’s a tap for that. If it’s something more positive, it’s like, “Well, I don’t want to – maybe I’m not aware of something bother me right now, but I do want to improve my relationships. I want to improve my finances.” There are tapping rounds for that.


So if you’re not sure what to tap on or what to say, I’m there for you. You can just go on YouTube and follow along. I’ve got videos. They’re ranging from 3 minutes to 15 minutes depending on how much time you –


[00:13:24] PF: That’s excellent.


[00:13:26] BY: I have people who say, “I spend an hour going through different videos.” Some people, it’s just one quick video. I have one called Amazing Day Quickie. I had done a video called Have an Amazing Day, which was like eight minutes. Then I did a four-minute version for people. It’s like if you can’t take eight minutes to have a better day, here’s four minutes. Even just that little bit is going to make a positive difference. Over time, we improve the status of our nervous system.


[00:13:59] PF: What if you’re going into a day that you know is going to be particularly challenging? Maybe it’s having to deal with an ex or something going on with your children or your in-laws, right? Something where it’s there’s a lot of potential for triggers and stress. Is there something special that you can do to kind of like rev up your system?


[00:14:18] BY: Yes. Certainly, when you know you’re going into something like that, I would say to someone check on how you feel right now. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just thinking about that event. How much anxiety are you feeling right now? Notice where in your body you feel it. What are you most afraid of? Start tapping right then because you can clear a lot of that fear even ahead of time. Then when you get to that event, when you get to that meeting with your ex or whoever it is, it’s like, “Hmm, I’m not feeling as bad as I expected to.” Then there’s subtle tapping that we can do where they might not even notice. I –


[00:14:57] PF: I’m glad you brought that up because I was going to ask how we can do that.


[00:14:59] BY: I’m looking forward to the day where everybody knows about tapping. It’s just an accepted practice for downregulating stress. You could start tapping in front of someone, and they’d say, “Oh, that’s a good idea. I could probably do that too.” When world leaders at Camp David are tapping to clear their egos and all the stuff, and it’s like, “Oh. Now, we can find some common ground here without being all uptight,” because that all comes from fear.


Ultimately, there’s love and there’s fear. If it’s not feeling like love, it’s coming from a place of fear. When we do the tapping, we calm that down. So we can do it ahead of time. We clear that anticipatory anxiety and then in the moment finding subtle ways. So we can tap in subtle ways. Like there are fingertip points that you can tap, and you can do that under the table. No one will even know that you’re doing it. You can also hold your fingers on certain points and just breathe and stimulate the points in that way or maybe gently rubbing. People probably won’t even notice you’re doing it.


[00:16:11] PF: That’s such a great tool to have in your arsenal because when anxiety hits and you’re in a public situation, then you’d really start feeling the overwhelm because it’s like, “Okay, I have to get out of this gracefully, and I’m surrounded.” So it’s a great little secret weapon to have.


We’ve talked a lot about it in terms of anxiety. I wanted to kind of dive into that a little bit deeper because that’s become such a – it was already an issue. But post-pandemic, it’s become such a huge challenge for people. Can you kind of address how we can use tapping in an anxious world?


[00:16:48] BY: Yes. That was a huge thing. During the pandemic, I was doing a number of Facebook lives and YouTube lives, just recognizing. I mean, it’s – tapping’s moment has really come. There’s always been a lot of anxiety.


[00:17:00] PF: Thanks, COVID.


[00:17:01] BY: But it really amped up. We were so afraid of so many things, and it just drove all kinds of different issues. So I really at that time and my colleagues were really trying to get it out there and letting people know, “Hey, guys. There’s a simple way that you can help your body calm down.” Again, like I was saying earlier, it doesn’t make you stupid. It’s not like, “Oh, I can just go out and put myself in dangerous situations and not care about it.” But we can reduce that anxiety. I can have common sense. I can make good choices without being driven by fear.


So just allowing ourselves to tap if it’s even just a few minutes a day but also anytime that you’re aware of it. It’s like, “Hey, you know what? I’m feeling a little uncomfortable right now. Can I do some tapping right now?” I’m at the point. I’ll tap in front of people. I don’t care. I’m all over the –


[00:17:56] PF: It’s like, “This is what I do.”


[00:17:58] BY: Yes. I’m all over the Internet tapping anyway. I’ve shot some tapping videos in public places; sitting outside Starbucks, at the zoo. You can see people walking by. It’s like I want to normalize this so that people can tap in that moment and not feel because I know what it is to have anxiety and to feel that pain. What do I do? What do I do? There’s nothing I can do. Oh, wait. Yes, there is a way. This is – my body is having this response, trying to tell me there’s something to be afraid of.


Fear and anxiety, like all of the uncomfortable emotions, anger and things like that, it’s a fire alarm telling us there’s something to pay attention to. When we’re not – with the fire, it’s like the fire alarm goes off. “Oh, I should grab my fire extinguisher and put out that fire.” Or find out, “Oh, there’s no fire, and the batteries need to be changed in my smoke detector.” But with anxiety, very often there’s nothing we can do. So we’re in this fight or flight, and we don’t know what to do.


But tapping is something that we can do and look at what is there that I can do in this moment. I might look and see there’s no real danger here. It’s allowing our self to recognize what I’m telling myself that’s causing the anxiety is not true. I’m able to calm that down as I’m doing the tapping. There may be a part of me that resists that. We resist change. We’re afraid of making changes. We want to keep things the same. So even if our lives are crap, part of us says, “Yes, but it’s my crap. I know how to deal with it.”


[00:19:36] PF: I’m comfortable with it. Yes.


[00:19:38] BY: Exactly. I dealt with it yesterday, so I know I can deal with it today. Doing it differently feels uncomfortable, so I don’t want to change that. So when I try to make changes, I have this anxious response. As I tap myself down and I recognize, oh, I can relax while I think about this change. You know what? I could actually handle this. I could make my life better in so many ways. I could allow myself to be happier, and that’s cool.


[00:20:05] PF: That’s awesome. So it helps with anxiety. What are some other areas that you’ve seen people implement it to really make some big changes in their life?


[00:20:15] BY: Paula, how much time do you have?


[00:20:17] PF: How about 16 days?


[00:20:22] BY: There’s an expression with EFT. So EFT stands for emotional freedom techniques, which was one of the – what most of the tapping techniques are based on. The expression is try it on everything. Any place in your life that is not as ideal as you’d like it to be, there’s probably something you can tap on there where you’re holding yourself back. If I’m not making as much money as I like, if I’m not having the kind of relationships that I want, if I’m not as healthy as I want to be, what stops me?


If there’s some belief, some fear, some stress that’s causing me to stop myself from taking the positive actions that would create this better version of myself, this healthier, wealthier version of myself, this happy version of myself. What limits happiness? Like we were talking just before about Michelangelo’s David, I always use that as this metaphor. Michelangelo said the statue was already there, perfect inside the marble, and he just had to remove what didn’t belong to reveal the masterpiece inside.


That, to me, is a perfect metaphor for what we’re doing with tapping work that our healthiest happiest version of ourselves, our most successful version of ourselves is here inside, covered under all this excess marble, which is anxiety and fear and doubt and feelings of unworthiness. These are tappable issues. As we clear those, we naturally think more highly of ourselves. We naturally behave in those more productive, healthier, more successful ways.


[00:21:51] PF: That’s excellent. You are doing so much good work to get this message out in the world. I know you have so many videos we can watch. We’re going to tell our listeners how they can find you. We’re going to send them to your YouTube page, where they can find all kinds of important resources. But as we wrap this up, what is it that you hope everyone who’s listening to you takes away from it?


[00:22:12] BY: Well, I would love for you to take away that you really are this magnificent child of the universe, worthy and deserving an awesome life, and that there is this simple tool that can help you clear that. That’s why I have a program on my website, so free five-day program called Tap Into Your Best Self that helps you clear away the misunderstandings about yourself. I like to call myself a gift unwrapper.


[00:22:39] PF: I like that.


[00:22:40] BY: You are a gift to the world, and you’ll unwrap that and share yourself more freely.


[00:22:45] PF: I love it. Thank you, Brad. I appreciate your time with us today.


[00:22:48] BY: Well, thank you, Paula. Happy to be here.




[00:22:54] PF: That was Brad Yates, talking about tapping. If you’d like to learn more about Brad, check out his YouTube videos on tapping, learn more about his books, or take his free five-day tapping course, just visit us at livehappy.com and click on the podcast tab.


That is all we have time for today. We’ll meet you back here again next week for an all-new episode. Until then, this is Paula Felps, reminding you to make every day happy one.



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