What is Emotion Hygiene?
I like to think of emotion hygiene as my toolbox that I can take with me anywhere that helps me get really good at feeling good. This toolbox is filled with different practices that I can do daily without any fancy memberships or studios.
Emotion hygiene gives me agency over my emotions and how I want to feel moment to moment. If we all learned emotion hygiene practices the same way that we learn to brush our teeth or wash our faces we’d all be able to experience joy, awe, purpose, peace, hope and more regularly.
I like to work in my emotion hygiene in the morning as I start my day and then call up different practices throughout the day. It can be as simple as setting reminders to check in with our inner gauge or invite our SOS along for a little extra support. I even work it in when I’m putting lotion on my face.
Some of the tools in my emotion hygiene tool box are tapping, meditation, my SOS, my homebase, movement, playlists, dance, post its and savoring. The Dalai Lama who I admire and look up to says “just as we teach children to observe physical hygiene for its benefits to our health, we need to teach them to cultivate emotional hygiene. They need to learn how to tackle their destructive emotions and achieve peace of mind.”
The average person has around 60,000 thoughts per day and almost 90% are repetitive and recycled everyday (Dr. Fred Luskin- Stanford).
So—what are your repeated thoughts? What proportion of your thoughts is self-nurturing or uplifting?
If you suspect that the bulk of your thoughts are negative or critical, don’t be alarmed—it’s quite normal for us to tip toward the negative.
Dr. Russell Harris states that approximately 80% of our thoughts have some negative aspect. It’s simply part of our brain’s primitive self-protective function. At a primal level, we will avoid the stick more than we will seek out the carrot. This is most efficient for our survival, but not as helpful for our day-to-day interactions and activities.
Tapping is a great way to keep ourselves out of that primitive survival mode and get us into the higher executive functions of the brain, bringing our higher selves back online, where we can consciously choose our thoughts.When decisions are informed by our higher mind, they are more likely to lead to positive outcomes. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, renowned emotional scientist, found that the positivity ratio that predicts flourishing is 3 to 1. Aim to generate three positive thoughts and feelings for each expression of negativity to go from languishing to flourishing!
Inflammation is a helpful, acute (short-term) bodily response to foreign stimuli. But when this protective response becomes altered or chronic, the body suffers and becomes more susceptible to aging and disease. So what causes this normal protective response to run amuck?
Inflammation is your body's response to stress—whether that stress is from your diet, lifestyle, or environment. When stress becomes chronic, the immune system responds by keeping inflammation in overdrive, leaving us feeling fat and frazzled! Taming chronic inflammation thus requires reducing dietary, lifestyle and environmental stressors.
Dietary Stressors To Avoid
In addition, only eight foods account for 90% of all food allergies in the United States. These foods are:
Lifestyle Stressors To Avoid
Environmental Stressors To Avoid
“Environmental toxicity from our air, water, food pollutants and toxic metals like mercury and lead all contribute to inflammation and have been linked to diseases as varied as endometriosis and cancer.”
Women experience twice the rate of depression as men. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, author of Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life, believes one reason for this could be women’s tendency to ruminate.
To ruminate simply means to think deeply. But in the world of psychology, it’s linked to worrying, except that rumination focuses on bad feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned with potential bad events in the future.
Whether the focus is on the past or the future, the outcome is the same…we’re stuck in our heads! And being stuck in our heads is leading us to sadness, depression, and anxiety.
Here are some alternatives to overthinking:
It’s helpful to understand why we have cravings...
Most of us long for sugary carbohydrates. Interesting enough, sugary carbohydrates help tryptophan (the “feel good hormone”) enter your brain. And guess what? Stress depletes tryptophan, so it’s no wonder you reach for carbohydrates when stressed! These days we’ve become so accustomed to stress, that it may be hard to recognize the connection between our cravings and the emotions that bring it on.
The reality: we often eat when we feel uncomfortable emotions like anxiety that we’d rather avoid.
During tapping, we first get clear on what emotions trigger cravings. Then we introduce replacements, or rather, we discover what we're really craving. The power to banish cravings is at your fingertips.
“Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain, 40-57% than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25%” —Dr. Zeiden
I know firsthand the difficulty of living with chronic pain—I spent nine years in ever-increasing pain. I was told I had a high rheumatoid factor and could break out into a debilitating attack of rheumatoid arthritis at any moment. The pain and stiffness reached such great severities, it would take me an hour after waking before I could turn doorknobs or stand up straight. My entire body ached and I felt exhausted and depleted. In addition to the pervasive joint pain, I had IBS (an aggressive gut bacteria), thyroiditis, severe anemia, and vitamin deficiencies.
My body made me feel like I was 90 years old. I had to quit pilates and stop working out. Socializing grew more and more difficult and I began isolating myself. Emotionally, I was depleted and depressed. My whole life was consumed by this pain and fatigue, but I refused to take medication. I knew I needed to try everything before I went down that road of a lifetime of medication. After reading countless books on the brain and the mind-body relationship, I began studying hypnotherapy, holistic nutrition, and tapping. With the help of Donna Gates, I started taking certain supplements and tweaked my eating and lifestyle habits.
It’s been a long road, but so worth every second. I’m beyond grateful for tapping and mindfulness training. I now realize the harm I did to myself and my body with my thoughts and repressed, unprocessed emotions. My mission is to provide others with the tools to heal and thrive.
Beliefs are the maps we use to define and navigate the world. They shape our neural pathways and determine our feelings, our responses, and how our bodies function. Beliefs shape our reality and yet, are not facts, they are feelings, and feelings can be changed.
Belief – n. The feeling of being certain that something exists or is true. — Cambridge Dictionary.
Limiting beliefs hold us back and empowering beliefs propel us forward. Most often our limiting beliefs are functioning below conscious awareness. They are the cause of negative emotions and they are the source of unhappiness.
To help identify limiting beliefs, look at where you’re having difficulty. If you’re struggling with weight loss, how do you feel about it? Fearful? Sad? What is the belief right below the feeling? For fear, perhaps it’s the belief that you won’t be loved if you aren’t skinny. For sadness, perhaps the belief is that something is wrong with you.
Write down at least 10 limiting beliefs you have about yourself. While we tap, keep the list in front of you as a reminder of the specific limiting beliefs that you’re in the process of clearing.
What is EFT/Tapping?
Tapping is a fast and effective approach to targeting and eliminating the underlying causes of what ails us. It's often described as a blend of hypnotherapy and acupuncture - but without the needles and without closing your eyes. You simply tap with your fingertips on meridian points while voicing specific statements. The tapping sends a calming signal to the brain which delinks the situation or issue we're tapping on from the stress response it triggers. After just a few rounds of tapping, we often find we can bring up the situation or issue without feeling any emotional or physical distress.
This simple yet powerful technique has produced remarkable clinical results for a wide spectrum of what ails us — from sugar cravings to complex PTSD.
Nothing comes closer to 'magic' than the positive results I have personally witnessed using EFT on thousands of my patients who suffered from physical and emotional pain and illness. – Dr. Joseph Mercola
What makes EFT/Tapping different from other forms of therapy?
Most other forms of treatment aim to get you to change how you think about something. EFT changes how you feel about it. This subtle change of emphasis is incredibly powerful when it comes to bringing about lasting change. Tapping has provided relief for issues where many other treatments fall short — chronic pain, emotional problems, disorders, addictions, fears and phobias, limiting beliefs and autoimmune diseases.
It's easiest to think of EFT/Tapping as acupressure for the emotions. Check it out for yourself!