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Finger Tapping – Eliminating Stress or Anxiety

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Return to Running – Mental Imagery

When returning from an injury it is normal to feel anxiety or nervousness about returning to full match/sporting/race intensity and taking and receiving contact if applicable. When you have an anxiety or worry it can change your movement patterns or skill execution/stride pattern level meaning you are a bit ‘rusty’. There is a way to calm your brain and desensitise this area in your brain to allow you to achieve your full potential and perform your skills at optimal efficiency called the finger tapping technique.

Focus on the stress or particular situation in a game THROUGH YOUR OWN EYES VIEW (Not looking at yourself getting tackled for instance) that is worrying you or you are nervous about. Feel the full effect of the game/sporting situation and give your stress a rating from 1 to 10 with 10 been uncontrollable anxiety. Take a note of this score.

Next rest your hands palm down on your thighs and tap your fingers on your thighs as follows:
Right index finger taps right leg once, then the left finger taps the left leg once.
Focus on your stressful image or feeling and continue tapping in this alternative pattern. Tap about two taps per second, one tap per leg. Continue the tapping or about three minutes. Don’t worry about the exact timing of the taps, its not important.

Once this first round of tapping is complete, give yourself a moment and describe what you are feeling now. There is 3 options, you feel a)Less Stress b) the same c) more stress.

If your stress has reduced, identify what you are now experiencing, your original stressful feeling, image or thought may have disappeared. Your next step is to focus on the remaining stressful feelings that you have and do a second series of finger tapping. About 3 minutes of tapping. After the third series of taps rate your current level of stress from 0 to 10. Continue with the finger tapping until the stress ratings reach a 1 or a 0. If there are any other negative feeling or discomforts appearing, continue with the finger tapping and repeat until diminished. This may take a few rounds. Remember to maintain a controlled breathing pattern throughout, inhale for 2 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds, pause for 5 seconds and repeat.

If your stress level has NOT decreased or INCREASED or the feeling has changed to something equally stressful such as symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea or other symptoms then we will use an eye movement technique instead.

Hold your head up straight and pick 2 spots in the room, one to the EXTREME left of your field of vision and the other to your EXTRME right of your field of vision. This could be objects such as a picture on the wall or speck of dirt on the wall etc, any two objects that will not move.

Now as you think about your current stress or physical symptom move your eyes side to side from the left target to the right target and back as rapidly as you can.

Do twenty five to thirty repetitions. One-repetition equals one back and forth eye movement. Then pause for a moment and continue with another round of the eye movements while focusing on your stress.

Repeat 2-3 rounds until your stress or symptoms has reduced to 1 or 0.

If your stress has STILL NOT lessened then identify any physical sensations or symptoms such as tension ion your neck, chest pain stomach distress or general tension or any symptom associated with the stress you now feel.

Focus on that physical sensation rather than the stressful feeling and do a new series of finger taps. Repeat up to 3 rounds or until your symptoms reduce.

If you are still struggling to reduce the symptoms or tension then make a note of the areas that have tension and inform the medical staff and we will manually release the tension and you can try again with the stressful situation in your own time.

If you have any questions or what us to take you through this in confidentiality then just ask!

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