Tapping, a technique used to help reduce anxiety, has piqued interest online across the UK, with searches increasing by 376% since Boy George used the technique in the I’m A Celebrity Jungle.
While the technique has already been trending across TikTok, with 1.1 billion views for the #tapping hashtag, fans of TV show, I’m A Celebrity, recently noticed campmate Boy George tapping his face and neck to help him remain calm during his time in the jungle.
Anxiety attacks are extremely common, often triggered by certain situations, places and activities, alcohol, drugs or just a build-up of general worry and stress over some time.
Kate Bithell, a mental health nurse at Delamere, shares the benefits of this mindful ‘tapping’ technique on someone experiencing anxiety symptoms.
“This anxiety-reducing method, which involves repeatedly tapping yourself on the face and neck – what is believed to be an emotional freedom technique (EFT) – is used to help relieve feelings of stress, depression and anxiety by altering the body’s energy to restore balance.”
“Tapping begins at the top of the head before working down the side of the face and neck to the underarm. Tapping certain points helps relax our nervous system by disrupting our fight or flight response, increasing the number of endorphins in our body.”
“The tapping also aims to help distract a person from their stress and allows them to focus on their body and regulate their breathing instead. This is a process used to help control anxiety and improve a person’s ability of self-awareness.”
For those who may experience regular anxiety, the experts at Delamere have shared some signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack and four things you can do at home to manage these symptoms.
Physical and mental signs and symptoms of anxiety attacks
When we experience stress, our bodies go into overdrive, causing certain brain regions to become hyperactive. During an anxiety attack, the body irrationally goes into ‘panic mode’ for no apparent reason causing rapid breathing, increased heart rate, sweating and shaking.
Physical effects of anxiety attacks
- Churning stomach
- Fluttering heartbeat
- Teeth grinding
- Urge incontinence
Mental effects of anxiety attacks
- Incessant worry
- Approval seeking
Panic attacks can be incredibly frightening, and it can be hard to overcome the symptoms on your own, which is why you may feel you need help.
Four things you can do to manage symptoms
Practise your breathing
The body’s natural response to fear is to get as much oxygen into our systems as possible, which forces us to take rapid, shallow breaths. Focus on slowing down your breathing, taking long, deep breaths in through your nose and out of your mouth. Delamere uses focused breathwork and grounding techniques to help guests overcome anxiety with peer support.
Do regular exercise
Exercise has multiple physical and mental benefits. Yoga can help to calm the mind and focus your energy elsewhere. While aerobic exercise is especially good for managing stress levels, relieving tension and boosting your mood.
Retrain your brain
While your anxiety attack is happening, try to continue with normal activities. Tell yourself that this moment will pass, and focus on something else. Some anxiety sufferers use the 3-3-3 technique – name three things you can see, three things you can hear and move three parts of your body.
Look after your body
Stress can cause low blood sugar, which increases feelings of panic. Eating regular, well-balanced meals helps to stabilise your blood sugar and reduce symptoms.
It’s also important to avoid substances that can make panic attacks worse, such as caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
Studies show that substance use disorders and anxiety attacks often go hand in hand. Drinking alcohol and taking certain drugs, especially opiates or cannabis, can induce a feeling of calm and intense pleasure, which lessens the sense of panic.
If this becomes the only way someone can cope with stress and fear, dependence can develop, eventually leading to addiction.