Changing your mind will change your life.

Of course. What if I always wanted to eat Ben & Jerry’s while hiding in a closet with women’s underwear on my head, perusing the latest issue of The Economist?

Who says multitasking can’t be fun? No, this isn’t a confession, but I may give it a try to see if it’s really as awesome as everyone says.

Some party-for-one people out there are actually considering giving this a shot.

The rest of us are wondering whether we should bother reading any further.

Changing your mind will change your life.

This post is all about making adjustments to your own inner whack-job without having to confess your transgressions, pay hefty therapy bills, or self-medicate into a stupor.

And you don’t need an inner whack-job, or hidden demons, just thoughts and feelings that you have a desire to change. If you really enjoy the closeted safety of Ben & Jerry’s and The Economist then by all means continue (unless you’re diabetic). This is about making a change where you see fit; self-guided tinkering.

But for the love of all that is holy, stop turning those panties into turbans. Some lines shouldn’t be crossed, and that kind of behavior is completely unacceptable.

Unless you post a tutorial for everyone else it’s just not fair for to you have all the fun while we’re still trying to figure out how.

Emotional Freedom Technique

One of the easiest, most universally effective methods I know of for self-directing how you think and feel is called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), developed by Gary Craig. It’s a derivative of another method, called Thought Field Therapy, developed by Roger Callahan. If you want to learn about the latter method you’ll have to do it on your own time as I’m not going to look into it before finishing this post.

The reason I can say it’s the most universally effective is I’ve taught people a range of other techniques and this tends to work for the largest number of individuals. I have had some infrequent cases where other methods work better, and if you think you fall into that category shoot me an email and I can direct you towards some other options.

Recognize the Trigger

EFT begins with recognizing some part of your life that is a trigger. That means when you think a certain thought, or are in a certain situation you feel an emotion that you don’t like and can’t turn off or change that feeling.

It’s a knee-jerk reaction, almost like a reflex. And to some extent it can feel like you aren’t in complete control.

Maybe you fly into a mild rage when someone parks too close to your car, or have snack cravings when you sit on the couch, or fantasize sweet revenge when you picture that former school bully, or break down into a flood of tears and convulsions every time you discover the neighborhood cats used your lawn (once again) as a litter-box.

That last one is half of a true story. First time in my life I’ve ever disliked cats. An unmistakeable smell, a repeat offense, and always a welcomed start to my day. An opportunity to stay at peace.

Rate It

The next step is rating that emotion on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 is the most mild form of that emotion you have ever felt, and 10 is the most extreme form of that emotion you can imagine.

It is very rare but I have seen some people resist this step, not willing to put a number to a feeling. Perhaps it was because they believed that they needed to be more precise than they actually did, perhaps they weren’t ready to let go of whatever we were working on.

Whatever the reason, don’t worry about what the exact number should be, you can pick something arbitrary. The point of this step is to form a basis of comparison for later. As you practice more and more and have less and less extreme negative fluctuations your conception of this scale will change anyway. You won’t have those extreme 10s anymore and what you used to call a 3 you can now call a 10 because you hardly ever feel that bad anymore.

Clear It, Turn off the Trigger, Get in Control

Step three is to repeat a series of phrases while massaging and tapping on a prearranged order of points on the body. Click here for a┬ástep-by-step guide on the technique itself. There’s also various EFT videos and tutorials you can search online if you want to stage some small scale rebellion against the method I posted.

The tapping period lasts about 5 minutes or so. After this point you re-rate the feeling you are having about whatever thought/situation you were working on. Typically the negative emotion drops significantly and immediately.

A Permanent (more or less) Impact

When you adjust your mind with EFT it tends to stay adjusted. People with a disorienting fear of heights can spend 30 minutes or so with the technique then stand next to a 5 story railing without that puckering sensation in the nether region.

And the fear doesn’t come back unless some other situation triggers it, at which time EFT can be utilized again to eliminate it.

It can also help with PTSD, but you don’t have to necessarily have any crippling emotional reactions to benefit from this method, it can be used for dealing with general life stresses ranging from tax time trepidations to feuding with the mailman.

Another true story, another reason I can say this works.

Tips to get the Most out of Mental Tinkering

This technique works best for people that use it, and especially those that practice on a regular basis. I recommend when first starting running through all of the things that seem like they are obstacles to a happy life. Practice for 10 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning and last thing at night. You will be surprised at the change of only a week or two of doing this.

Be cautious at first, adventurous later. Start with the smaller issues to build up your confidence. You might not care that much whether or not you continue get angry at stop lights, so start with something similar. Later on you can examine those darker corners of the mind. Words can’t adequately express the relief you’ll feel when you confront those images and clear them.

Make happiness the priority. Develop the mantra “before I change this situation I’m going to change how I feel about it.” This isn’t necessarily possible in split second life or death scenario, but that’s not really what we’re talking about anyway.

You can always feel better about looking for a job while you don’t have one, or having to sell your house at a loss. When you feel better about a situation you’ll be dealing from a position of strength rather than weakness and be able to affect a more effective solution.

Lastly, this technique can also be used for raising positive emotions about certain scenarios (not just for turning off negative emotions). If you’re curious how this is done, shoot me an email, or ask me about it the next time I see you.

In case you missed the link above, here it is again, the nuts and bolts of EFT.