EFT tapping: Why the Emotional Freedom Technique is a Valuable Tool for Expat Emotional Health

Living abroad as an expat can be a life-changing, amazing experience. It can be filled with wonder and awe, travel and living in exotic countries, new job opportunities, cultures and people. However, just like life anywhere, expat life brings with it its own set of challenges. EFT tapping is an excellent tool to manage emotions, beliefs, and your mental health.

EFT for Expats

Living abroad as an expat can be a life-changing, amazing experience. It can be filled with wonder and awe, travel and living in exotic countries, new job opportunities, cultures and people. However, just like life anywhere, expat life brings with it its own set of challenges. In fact, according to many studies, many expats face stress and anxiety, depression, exhaustion, and loneliness. EFT tapping can be an effective tool to deal with these issues.

"The ex-pat's life with all its homesickness and loneliness and privileges and perks, with its dizzy ups and miserable downs, was certainly not ordinary."
Brigid Keenan (Diplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse)

Expat Life

At times, expat life is focused on a go-go-go mindset where they prioritize productivity, and expats might put aside their self-care, and efficient management of their emotions and feelings. As we all know, another huge challenge for expats the last two years was the pandemic, being forced to be away from family, being home alone and spending a lot of time all by themselves. For many expats, the constant worry about something happening to their family members while they’re on another continent or far away was too much for many and greatly affected their mental health.

One thing that perhaps should be mentioned: expats do not have psychological afflictions different from the rest of the population, but many other factors can influence their mental health. Being away from loved ones or sometimes social support, being isolated in a new country, and having difficulty finding help in their native language can keep people from seeking the psychological support they would have had at home.

In addition, professional representations also come into play. When you become an expat for professional reasons, it can create a lot of extra stress due to meeting projected expectations that require excellent performance and great commitment. Whether it’s to work in a large multinational company, humanitarian organization or carry out an internship, moving abroad is generally perceived as a great professional investment in a new opportunity. Admitting you have difficulties is complicated and it’s hard to accept sometimes when things get emotionally unmanageable.

Another side of emotional distress for expats can come from social isolation during the time it takes to build up social circles and have friends. Or perhaps they struggle as trailing spouses to find their sense of identity and create a life for themselves. Others moved to be with partners or got separated from them once they moved there.

Photo: Dave Weatherall


What is EFT tapping?


The Emotional Freedom Technique was started by Gary Craig and consists of tapping acupuncture points that are found along the face and in some points of the body. It begins with identifying the feeling, emotion, of a situation, person, memory, or even a physical symptom. There is a set-up statement, a negative rounds, and finally, positive rounds to replace the negative feelings, ideas, or beliefs with more positive and helpful ones to regulate the emotions.


At the beginning, the person takes a rating of the intensity of the feeling, belief, memory, situation, etc., and as the different points are tapped, the sensation / emotion / symptom begins to diminish during the rounds until it disappears. Depending on what the issue is, it can take only one tapping session to feel better. For more stubborn ideas or core limiting beliefs, EFT tapping needs to become a habit that addresses the issue over time.


The belief or deeper work is a bit like an "onion": you need to peel back the different layers. Some beliefs are tied to people, situations, times in your life, and these events, people etc need to be tapped on separately to get to the core root of the belief, perhaps heal, and change it. For emotional situations, such as stress and anxiety, or even panic attacks, EFT tapping can be extremely helpful. Clearing fear and worry can be done quickly and easily with EFT tapping.

"Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."
Corrie ten Boom


Does EFT tapping work?


According to studies like this one, yes, and the results of tapping can be immediate and long-lasting. There are plenty of articles online about EFT tapping where you can read about the benefits or scientific studies on a variety of issues. The end result is to feel more stable emotionally, have a tool you can use on your own to manage your emotions on a daily basis, or with an EFT practitioner to resolve past and current issues, to have more confidence in yourself and confront limiting beliefs.  


10 benefits of EFT tapping

Releases depression, stress and apathy, anxiety, nervousness

Treat low self-esteem, fears, self-sabotage,

Memories

Limiting beliefs (not feeling good enough)

Treat allergies, headaches and physical pains

Unleash guilt, anger, frustration, and resentment

Release emotional pain and fears, depression

Calm down in negative situations

Works for many things when other things haven’t

It is a method similar to acupuncture, but without needles


To put it very simply, tapping is based on the premise that many problems, whatever their type- are rooted in an energy imbalance within the person who suffers them. And yet it works, as you can read on various sites about mental health and therapy. You can read more about the benefits and the effects of EFT tapping here.

The goal of EFT tapping is simply to remove this imbalance as acupuncture does, and it does this by gently tapping certain points on the body.

How Does Tapping Work?


With EFT, you have the chance to reframe feelings and beliefs about situations and you can also deal with limiting beliefs to create a more positive mindset and rewire your brain for success.


The idea of ​​EFT tapping is to honestly articulate the concern and bring it to the surface, and then clear it layer by layer. In this sense, saying the phrase that describes it is the way to bring out the problem, and tapping it eliminates the intensity of the negativity behind it before replacing the negative thought with positive affirmations to shift the mindset into something more helpful.

Photo: Medical News Today


At first, this idea is a bit surprising and does sound a bit weird, because positive thinking has become a buzzword lately and everyone has a solution. Well, positive thinking is fine, and it works too, but in a tapping session the opposite happens: the problem is named to bring it up to the surface so that it can be eliminated and processed accomplishing a new inner balance and a calmer state of mind. There are many studies on the efficacy of EFT tapping and it’s finally making its way into the mainstream as seen on Oprah, the Today Show, and many other places. For expats, having another tool to manage emotions is even more important, and learning this simple technique and also go deeper with a qualified EFT practitioner.


Are you interested in trying EFT tapping?


Andrea Hunt is a transformational life coach and EFT practitioner who does both 1 to 1 sessions with clients and also group sessions with Trova Health for expat. If you’ve been wanting to try it out, you can always book one of the upcoming workshops in December and beyond. These sessions are a combination of life coaching discussions with EFT tapping techniques, so you’ll get to try it out and see if it works for you. There are many benefits to EFT and it can be used on a variety of issues. Try out a group session and see for yourself - most respondents have overwhelmingly positive results even the first time.

Or book a free consultation with me to see if it's right for you.


** disclaimer: even though EFT tapping is shown to have extremely positive results when it comes to trauma and PTSD, Andrea Hunt is not a licensed therapist and does not work with these issues. If you’re currently undergoing psychiatric care or therapy for trauma, please check to see if participation is right for you. There are many situations where people who are dealing with more serious emotional issues can still benefit from EFT for stress and anxiety or limiting beliefs without addressing the trauma directly. It can be extremely helpful, but nevertheless, it’s important to check with your therapist.



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