Relocation is a very exciting prospect. New setting, new experiences, new possibilities. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Settling into a new culture and a new way of life can be overwhelming. Luckily, there is a mental health exercise to help you get calm, centred and ready to face these challenges head-on; Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
This might sound like hoity-toity silliness to some, but this technique has been around since 1995. Extensive research shows that EFT can significantly improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even if you’re better adapted to drastic changes the focus on mental health has never been more important. Doing this exercise even a little bit can make a big impact on your well-being.
How does EFT work?
So, how exactly does it work? EFT is also often referred to as EFT tapping. The technique takes inspiration from acupuncture, but without the need for those pesky needles. Great news, if you’re not a fan of needles or injections. The general idea is to tap certain energy points on your body; predominantly on your head, in a specific sequence, while calmly focusing on the issue or issues causing you distress.
The energy points are known as acupressure or meridian points, derived from traditional Chinese medicine. If you’re unfamiliar with how to locate these meridian points, there are lots of free guides and tutorials online that can help you. Once you practice a couple of times, finding these locations will quickly become a force of habit and you won’t even need to think about it.
Choose your manta
Select a positive phrase to do with your area of worry. This will be the mantra you repeat during the exercise. What do we mean by “positive phrase”? It can be anything you like. It just needs to address the problem while being reassuring. For example – although I am struggling with <this issue>, I feel I can overcome it. Or, despite <this issue>, I am strong and feel empowered. Anything along those lines is great. Just repeating these words will already help you feel that the problem is manageable.
Next, you start the tapping. Pick a pressure level you’re comfortable with, just a gentle tapping will do. Use two fingertips of whichever hand is dominant or you feel most comfortable using for the exercise.
While repeating your mantra, tap (ish 5 times per spot to start off with) your head in this sequence: top of the head, beginning of the eyebrow (at the bridge of the nose), bone at the side of your eye (or where you typically find smile lines), just above your cheekbone, the point between your nose and upper lip, middle of your chin, where your collarbone meets your breast bone. Finally, the side of your body around 4inch below your armpit. It’s up to you if you want to tap your face points on both sides of the face, just do so symmetrically – ie not one side at a time, but using both hands to tap simultaneously.
Support for Expats
If you’ve moved to a new country all by yourself, this can make the transition that much harder and Emotional Freedom Technique for Expats may help. If you’re with a partner, your family, or a student group, there are others going through the same experience that you can lean on for support. But doing this solo is a very tough, but very boss move. Mastering a new culture on your own steam is extremely empowering and your friends will be super impressed by your knowledge and comfort in a new place when they come to visit.
From learning a new language, meeting new people, settling into a workplace with different conventions and even trying to find the right shops for your daily needs can all be a lot to take in, especially all at once. But just think, a few minutes of gentle tapping a day can completely rewire your senses, mental state and physical energy as well.
If you have the opportunity to decorate a new room or apartment, why not start off on the right foot and adorn your new living space in a way that’s designed to help you relax. There are lots of simple things you can do that will transform an everyday room into your personal haven.
So whether you want to do some EFT or just curl up with some tea and a good book, you’ll feel at ease and forget to be homesick as you get comfy in your new nest. And remember – when in doubt, just close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths!