Could solving all of your money problems be as easy as tapping your forehead?
Tapping—a.k.a. the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)—might just be the most popular alternative therapy you’ve never heard of. It’s used by veterans to help with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), athletes to reduce anxiety—and everyday people to address past traumas and negative emotions.
And according to Margaret M. Lynch, a success coach and leading tapping expert, it can be used to get you out of a money rut—quickly and easily.
Get started with a free financial assessment.
Get started with a free financial assessment.
We were a bit skeptical, so we got Lynch on the phone to grill her about the technique just as she's about to release a new book, "Tapping Into Wealth: How Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Can Help You Clear the Path to Making More Money." Read on and judge for yourself ...
LearnVest: So what exactly is tapping?
Margaret M. Lynch: It's a mind-body technique that’s been around for about 25 years. My book is specifically about using tapping to address money anxieties. Most people feel a level of apprehension that prevents them from dealing with their finances. With this technique, you tap on acupuncture points with your fingertips, and when you do that, it turns off the fight-or-flight response. Within a few minutes, nothing is as scary or stressful—and your brilliant, analytical brain takes over.
O.K., but does it really work?
You can see cortisol levels dropping—they've actually shown this in clinical studies. It's a huge technique for PTSD, which has been used by the Department of Veteran's Affairs. Whoopi Goldberg has even talked about how she got rid of a flying phobia through tapping.
In terms of money anxiety, I look at traumas that can affect every part of your financial picture—and how you can use tapping to get rid of such lifelong phobias. It looks funny because you'll be tapping spots on your face when you suddenly feel a wave of emotion come up ... and then it's gone. At that point, you're ready to sit down and make a plan.
Part of why I wrote this book is to change the conversation about money. When people do this work, they become ready to make a huge change in their finances—especially if they can clear generational wealth programming.
What is “generational wealth programming"?
As kids, we're programmed with beliefs from our parents—from what money means to how to deal with it. So I do this one-minute exercise with people in which I tell them, “Think about your income, write it on a piece of paper and then write down your bills.” It triggers anxiety in people, and they'll quickly say, "It's not enough!"
I'll then ask them to close their eyes and visualize themselves at 6 or 7 years old, so they can picture their parents—and how they were handling money back then. It always matches up exactly with their current beliefs. Tapping works to disconnect and rewire this thinking.
Tapping is supposed to help with trauma. Does it work for traumatic financial events, like bankruptcy?
Is there an event that you can point to in your past, and say, “If that hadn't happened, I would have a totally different financial situation”?
When I bring that up, people start to feel the shame and anger and sadness all over again. Well, debt is a dollars and cents metaphor for that anger, sadness and loss. I've worked with guys who have started sobbing hysterically when we start tapping. When we're done, they say, “When I look back at that event, I trust myself more because I lived through it—and handled it.” I have seen people pay off debt at unheard-of rates because there's no reason to beat themselves up anymore.
So many of my clients walk out the door ready to work with a financial adviser. It's dramatic.
Can you tap before certain situations that revolve around money, like asking for a raise?
I do that with people all of the time. Anything that you're thinking about in your future is going to trigger the fight-or-flight response, and bring up programmed beliefs.
With female executives, I'll say, “Picture yourself walking into the room. What do you feel?” And they'll say, “I’m petrified that they're going to be mad.” The biggest thing that stops women from charging more or asking for more money is fear or shame. If I can take all that inner crazy talk and turn it off—and put them in a vibe where they feel 100% congruent—they'll walk in there with a charismatic, sparkling attitude. Not obnoxious, but owning their value.
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So how long does it take for tapping to work?
It literally could be a single session with a trained tapping coach. The old therapy model is gone—it doesn't take 20 years of work. I know it looks crazy, but just try it!
What about financial advisers? How do they come into play when it comes to tapping?
I do the inner work that prepares people for financial advisers. There's only so much that a financial expert can do if someone is dealing with a wall of fear, anxiety or shame. You're asking people to take the logical, rational portion of their brains and work on a problem that has their whole body running with anxiety. So many of my clients walk out the door ready to work with a financial adviser. It's dramatic.