By Judith Albright

For centuries the winter holidays have traditionally been a time for reflection, worship, spiritual renewal and connecting with family. But in recent years the reasons for the season have become increasingly obscured by mass marketing and the media.

If we are to believe what we see on TV, holidays should be a magic time when loving friends and families come together, dreams come true, problems are solved, and all expectations are met in two hours of prime time. And, if we just buy the latest and greatest thing or gadget, our happiness is assured. But we know this is an illusion: people don’t resolve all their problems in a couple of hours and things don’t buy happiness.

While supposedly a happy time, the fact is that for many people the prolonged season between Thanksgiving and the mid-winter holidays is a time of increased tension, pressure, loneliness, anxiety, and reflection on past failures. Life does not stop just because the calendar turns over. People still get depressed or angry. Tempers flare. Families feud. Conflict at home or work continues or escalates.

Emotional Freedom Techniques

One of the best ways to avoid holiday meltdowns is to learn how to use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). EFT is a highly effective stress reducer that can be employed anywhere and any time an emotional situation starts getting out of hand. EFT is a form of psychological acupressure that involves gentle tapping with the fingers to stimulate acupuncture points on the face and upper body. Tapping, combined with a series of carefully crafted words and phrases, relaxes the body and reaches the subconscious mind on a deep level where emotional issues can be addressed.

staying calm during the holidays

How does it work? Anyone familiar with a pressure cooker knows how the little valve on the top lets off steam gradually as the heat builds up in the pot. But, when the valve becomes stopped up or stuck there is no way to release the built up pressure and the lid blows off. Just like the valve on the cooker, EFT acts as a safety valve that provides a safe and drug-free way to cope with the pressures of daily living and release cumulative stress in the mind and body.

There are three basics to learn:

  • Formulating set up phrases
  • The tapping points and sequence
  • Reminder phrases

The set up phrase is the starting point and is an integral part of the process. It should be repeated three times.

The set up phrase has two purposes:

  1. To identify the emotion and issue to be addressed
  2. To correct psychological reversal if it is present (the body is electrical and if polarity is reversed EFT will not work).

After repeating the set up phrase, and beginning where the eyebrow meets the nose, proceed downward in a clockwise direction. Tap on all the points indicated in the diagram and end at the top of the head. There are many videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to do this.

Tapping, however, is but one part of the process. In order for EFT to be effective, it is important to identify the negative emotion and the reason for it. Using EFT is like trying to cut down a tree with many branches. The core issue represents the trunk and the branches represent all the aspects associated with it. If you incorrectly identify the core issue, you can spend a lot of time tapping on the“branches” without ever touching the tree trunk.

As a beginner it may be difficult for you to identify what the core issue actually is. This can be difficult to determine when you are part of the problem. What you think is the core issue is not always the case. And, relying on someone else’s canned words or phrases does not always work. Therefore it is important to learn how to use this technique properly. Before holidays stresses reach the boiling point this year, find a practitioner who can teach you to use EFT correctly and effectively.

Judith Albright

Judith Albright, MA, is a stress management specialist who uses EFT (tapping, PSYCH-K and other energy healing techniques to help people offload unresolved emotional issues, control stress, and change underlying beliefs and behavior patterns that are sabotaging their lives. Recently she published a workbook for people in addiction recovery, a free sample chapter of which is available on her website. For more information about the book and Judith’s work, visit .