Long, long ago (it was the year 2000), I packed my bags and jumped on a train, a plane and then another train, and moved from my Edinburgh abode to my awaiting Japanese apartment. Yes I missed the highland cows at first, but I quickly fell in love with so many aspects of Japanese culture and life. I adored the spectacular cherry blossom season, beautiful bonsai trees, spiritual Shinto shrines, the calming simplicity of a traditional Japanese garden, the shouts of welcome when you enter a business (irashaimase!), trips on the bullet train, the melodic Japanese language, etc, etc.
One place that I ventured to in my Japanese adventures had a long-lasting impact on me – Hiroshima. The people there moved at a slower pace, they smiled more, were more open and from what I could sense, they truly understood a deeper meaning of peace and just how imperative it is to never forget that peace should be held as the highest priority when facing inner or outer conflict.
Traditional Japanese culture famously has many practices that offer the gift of ‘zen’. For the past two decades I’ve been aspiring to bring more zen and inner peace into my Australian life, especially when I am facing inner or outer conflict or stress. Let me share with you one simple technique I’ve created, as I’ve endeavoured to do what John Lennon and Yoko Ono once promoted, that is, giving (inner) peace a chance. I call it Clarity Technique. It’s inspired by and is a much-simplified version of Emotional Freedom Technique (founded by Gary Craig). Clarity Technique supports you to;
1. Move blocked energy caused by past or present stress, unresolved emotions, or trauma
2. Calm the sympathetic nervous system and the limbic system (a part of the brain that among other things alerts the body to a perceived threat and activates the flight, fight or freeze response)
3. Calm emotional overwhelm by releasing strong emotional charge that is unconsciously being held on to
4. Bring clarity to a goal you’d like to move forward with or an issue that is clouding your ability to function well
This technique involves gently tapping on or massaging four specific acupressure points (see illustrations below);
Tapping on or massaging acupressure or acupuncture points, while actively mentally tuning into or thinking about a stressful current or past situation, has been shown to;
- move energy along the energy meridian lines originally used in Chinese Medicine and now used in many Western complimentary or alternative therapies
- activate the Relaxation Response which is the opposite of the Stress Response (which triggers the limbic system in the brain)
- stimulate calming Delta activity in the brain
- release charge from unresolved emotions or unresolved trauma that is being unconsciously held in the body
- reduce emotional stress and pain caused by unresolved emotional stress or trauma
Emotional overwhelm is often a side effect of your survival mechanisms being triggered. This is normal, yet it also often triggers us into unhelpful coping habits and unconsciously blocks our intuition or ability to let something go or move forward with a goal. Unresolved emotional charge that is held in the body makes us reactive, we become easily triggered by certain situations, and less able to think clearly, sleep well, feel confident about our future, etc. Clarity Technique is a simple practice when you follow these three steps;
1. As you continuously tap on or massage each of the four points, express how you are feeling right now (out loud or quietly in your mind), or how you are feeling about something upsetting or traumatic that happened to you in the past and how that made you feel. Aim to get to the very essence of what is most upsetting for you, or what most distressed you in the past, or what you feel is most unjust or upsetting about this situation. Tap or massage on one point for about five seconds, and then move onto another point. Doing this allows you to tell your story, and in doing this you get to vent and let go of feelings and emotional charge that is causing distress (or stress in your body). It’s important to note however when using Clarity Technique the intention and perspective you bring is important. This is not about feeding a downward spiral or adding charge to a story that you have running – this is about creating a safe sounding board for yourself and letting go of emotional charge that your body has been holding onto.
2. Continue to tap/massage, express how you feel or tell your story and let go of emotional charge, until you notice you feel a significant shift or for now no longer have much to say on the matter.
3. Once you have let go of this emotional charge, often your feel clearer and lighter. Now you also have the potential to create a different perspective on the situation. This is the final and ultimate stage in bringing yourself back into a state of clarity with this situation that is causing you stress. Ask yourself if you’re ready to look at this in another light. Is there/was there a silver lining? Did you learn something very important from this experience? Do you need to forgive yourself, or someone else? Do you need to eventually accept something that ultimately can never be changed, so that you can completely let it go? How might you now respond to this situation differently? Is there a goal you want to move forward with, that this issue was holding you back from?
Perhaps you are only able to bring yourself back into a neutral perspective right now – that’s ok, just be honest with yourself. Some issues have a lot of layers and emotional charge, and it can be too difficult to bring a new perspective to them right now. There are many ways to bring more inner peace into your life, yet I’ve found that it’s impossible to feel peaceful when you are in the grip of emotional overwhelm. I am wishing you a festive season that brings you many moments of peace, and perhaps you’ll find Clarity Technique comes in handy. I say give it a try, and give (inner) peace a chance. Merry Christmas everyone!
Nicki is a Mentor and Holistic Counsellor, and the founder of The Inspiration Couch. For the month of December Nicki is offering a discount to Holistic Bliss Magazine readers on all first client sessions including Mentoring, Resilience Coaching, Holistic Counselling, Trauma Healing, and Kinesiology Sessions, which are all provided on-line. See www.theinspirationcouch.com for bookings or more details