Anyone who struggles with feeling anxious and/or stressed on a consistent basis knows that it can be exhausting. When we have anxious, worried thoughts that persist, it begins to take a toll on us mentally, emotionally and physically. We often have less patience in our relationships, our productivity goes down and we often have a hard time getting the rest we need.
It is well documented that anxiety is increasing among all age groups. As a result of this, programs have been developed and self-help books have been written to help us learn how to become more emotionally resilient. A common theme has emerged. If we can learn to effectively manage our stress, we tend to feel better and function better in all areas of our lives.
What causes anxiety?
There are many contributing factors as to what causes or heightens our anxiety. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to give an overview.
Genetic: Some of us struggle with anxiety because there is a family history of it.
Situational Anxiety: This can vary widely from person to person but typically means when the stressor is over, your anxiety reduces. An example of this would be giving a presentation at work or in class.
Trauma: Trauma impacts every aspect of our lives and it is normal to struggle with anxiety and high levels of stress, sometimes for long periods of time after the traumatic event has occurred.
Anxiety due to a medical condition: There are many medical conditions that cause us and our loved ones to feel stressed, anxious and worried.
No matter the reason you are feeling anxious or stressed, the very best resources to access involve regulating your nervous system first. The higher your stress and anxiety levels are, the more difficult it becomes to remember the things we have been taught to do to lower our stress.
Regulation before Reasoning
Because of the way our brain is structured, it has to pay attention to things that it senses. This is why we automatically smell popcorn when we walk into a movie theater. This is why we turn and look when we hear a loud noise. Many mindfulness and grounding techniques focus on paying attention to the here and now by focusing on our senses. What do you see, smell, hear, touch, taste? Tapping activates the sensing part of the brain. It is one of the easiest things you can do to help you regulate your nervous system.
What is Bi-Tapp?
Bi-Tapp stands for bilateral tapping. Bilateral tapping is something you can do on your own or you can use Bluetooth tappers to do the bilateral tapping for you. If you were to do the bilateral tapping on your own, you could tap on the side of your legs (left/right, left/right) or you can tap your feet back and forth.
Although manual tapping is effective, sometimes it is difficult to maintain or inconvenient to do if you are around others, especially in public. The advantage of the tappers is you can use them anytime you need to. You can put the tappers in your socks or your pockets and simply go about your day. No one would even know you were using them. Since we have different preferences, we have made it possible for you to adjust the rate of speed and the rate of intensity. This allows you to determine what feels calming to you.
Why does bilateral tapping work to reduce stress and anxiety?
- The lower regions of our brain automatically senses the bilateral movement and begins to pay attention to it.
- If the alternating pattern continues, this part of the brain “continues” to pay attention to it.
- As the bilateral stimulation crosses the two hemispheres of the brain in an alternating pattern, the amygdala is automatically inhibited. (1)
The amygdala is the part of the brain that is responsible for activating the fight/flight response. We need to react quickly when there is danger, but when we have the same amount of stress hormones being released when there isn’t danger or the danger has passed, this repeated process begins to wreak havoc on our physical, mental and emotional health.
Bilateral tapping automatically increases a sense of calm and safety within a short amount of time. You don’t have to do anything other than hold the tappers. The tappers will do the tapping for you, making it a resource that you can access anytime you need to feel calmer. Bilateral tapping is not a fad. You cannot habituate to it, it simply works every time you use it. Because the tappers are effective, reliable and easy to use, they are becoming one of the first things people use to feel calmer.
Use Bi-Tapp to help you return to your optimal level of functioning
There are different models that have been created to explain the different states of our mind. Dr. Dan Siegel, M.D. coined the term, “window of tolerance” to reference when we are functioning at our very best. Gaining a working understanding of the window of tolerance will help you manage your stress more effectively, which in turn will improve your emotional, mental and physical health.
Window of Tolerance:
We want to spend as much time as possible in this zone.
- The thinking part of our brain is fully engaged
- We have insight, perspective and can think through options
- Connect with others more easily
- Absorb new learning
- Common terms: green brain, green zone, optimal level of functioning
When we begin to feel overwhelmed, our nervous system begins to focus on keeping us safe. We respond the same to real threats as we do to perceived threats. Our nervous system cannot initially discern the difference.
- We begin to feel overwhelmed, anxious, stressed
- The fight/flight response is activated
- Emotionally reactive and easily frustrated
- Sometimes our thinking becomes rigid, “I can’t do this!”
- No new learning can take place
- Common terms: red brain, red zone
If the threat persists, our nervous system tries to shut things down in an effort to help us feel safe.
- We want to disengage or disconnect from others
- Harder time tracking conversation in the moment
- Freeze response is activated
- No new learning can take place
- Common term: blue zone
This is when you are not okay, but you can still fake being okay.
- Adaptive at times, but can be exhausting
- Difficult to absorb new learning
- Common terms: faux window, yellow zone, mild dysregulation
This chart created by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (http://nicabm.com) is focusing on how trauma can affect your window of tolerance. This model is applicable to all of us, no matter the reason we are struggling to stay in our window of tolerance.
Each of us experience stress and anxiety in varying degrees. Resources that can help us shift quickly back to our window of tolerance are the resources we want to access first.
When you can tell you are beginning to feel anxious or stressed, meaning you are in the “yellow zone”, this is the best time to use your tappers. The next best time to use your tappers is at any point you recognize you need to feel calmer or less stressed. Your ability to recognize when you need to use the tappers will improve over time. As you repeatedly return to your window of tolerance, your emotional resiliency strengthens and you begin to feel better because you are functioning better. Try Bi-Tapp today.
Go to http://bi-tapp.com/reviews/ to see how the tappers are helping others.
1. Scaer, R. (2012) 8 Keys to Brain-Body Balance. New York, NY, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 144-145.