What increases your sense of safety?


Tapping is a lifesaver

Sadly,  we all have situations in our life where we don’t feel a sense of safety. It might be when you’re walking in a particular part of town, or maybe walking around late at night. It could be when you are in the room with a certain person. Maybe you feel unsafe doing something, like speaking in public or challenging an authority figure.

So what is safety, and how can we find a greater sense of being secure, even in challenging situations?


Perhaps to define safety, we should look at times when we don’t feel safe, and what that does to the brain. When you go through something that shocks your system, the memory is stored in the amygdala, rather than the hypocampus. And it remains in a constantly active state, ready to spot similar situations quickly so your defences can protect you from them.

When one of these amygdala-based memories is triggered, your cortisone and adrenaline shoot up, so that you are ready for fight, flight, or freeze. However, sometimes there is too much triggering of such a state, and that is when you might feel unsafe, even when there are few rational grounds for that fear.

A feeling of safety can be built by activating your polyvagal nerve. This calming effect can then allow your nervous system to return to a state of calm and creative potential.


Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is a proven way to reduce the cortisol levels in your body. It stimulates the polyvagal nerve both in the hands and in the face. It is something I recommend to all my clients, because you literally always have it there, to hand. If you use fingertip tapping, it is something you can put to use even in quite public settings to bring your stress levels down and help you feel safe enough to think and problem-solve creatively.

However, some people do not find tapping effective, despite the evidence base that it can create a calm state in your body quickly and effectively. This may be to do with the physical sensation of tapping, and there are several ways you can modify tapping, to see if it works better for you.

5 Ways to Modify Tapping

The first way you can adapt tapping is by changing the pace at which you tap. Often, when you are first starting to tap and if you are feeling aggravated or nervous, it can be good to tap quite quickly. This is a form of ‘pacing‘. You match your tapping to your emotional state.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you are tapping for sleep, or if you are in a state of freeze, then you may want to tap much more slowly.

The second adaptation is to simply hold the points gently, with one or two fingers, rather than tapping on them. This is less stimulating, and more calming. Some people are more sensitive to input stimuli, and will feel better with this type of touch.

Similarly, the third way to modify your tapping is by instead firmly rubbing the points. This is a firmer touch, less ‘ticklish’.

Fourthly, you can try something in between – a stroke. This can work well with circular motions, as shown in the video above. And you can also slide from one point to the other, maintaining contact throughout. This may feel less ‘brusque’.

Finally, some people find it most effective to float their fingers over the points, without any physical contact. As you have experienced at some time in your life, you can feel the body warmth, or the ‘energy’ of physical closeness without actual touching.

If you have been interested in tapping in the past, but something about the sensation didn’t feel right to you, I highly encourage you to try some of these modifications. Being able to adapt tapping meditations so that they work for you opens up a world of effective self-help, literally at your fingertips!

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