Scientists are now learning why silently mulling over a stressful event in your mind isn’t as comforting as talking about it with a friend.
Research shows that putting words to your emotions makes you feel better.
New brain imaging studies by psychologist Matthew Lieberman and colleagues at UCLA are revealing why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger, and pain less intense.
So calling an angry face an “angry face” makes us feel better than just looking at an angry face.
Keeping this in mind, I have created a process called Easy as Pie, for ease of locking in on emotions to be targeted through tapping in any given situation.
My motto is – if you can name it, you can tame it. The Easy as Pie process helps you name your emotions, so you can tame them with tapping.
The Easy as Pie process
Early philosophers like Aristotle and modern day scientists like Plutchik alike realized that there are certain basic emotions we all experience.
Even though human emotions seem too complex to categorize, every experience is a set of basic emotions. So feelings like “I’m pissed off” or “I refuse to accept this” are all composed of a basic set of emotions.
Simply tapping on a painful memory as a whole can miss out emotions that are not so pronounced. Each negative experience is a mish-mash of emotions and unless we clear them out thoroughly, the problem can return.
The idea of “Easy as Pie” method is to break up any negative experience into a basic set of emotions, and then use tapping to clear out those emotions thoroughly.
The Easy as Pie process is to be used when you already have an event or a painful memory to work with. This method gives you a ready checklist of emotions and various levels of each of those emotions. More than emotions, these are states of being. Look at the table below to see what I mean.
What is listed beside each state are different levels of that emotion. For example, anger can manifest in various degrees – from fury to annoyance.
It can be argued that shock is just a form of fear, anxiety is not really one single emotion etc. This debate about what exactly is a basic emotion has been going on since the days of Aristotle.
The Easy as Pie checklist is specifically meant for addressing negative experiences through tapping.
Just like you can go from a SUDS level of 8 to 5 in one round, you could shift from overwhelmed to calm without going through the intermediate states.
How do I use the Easy as Pie process?
Step 1: Describe the negative experience you want to clear.
Step 2: Select from the checklist the negative emotions this issue evokes in you. If it was an event, describe it and notice the emotions that arise. Do not do tapping yet. If you are up to it, make small notes near each emotion as to which aspect of the problem causes it.
Step 3: See where your emotions lie on the emotional scale for that given feeling. For example, you are angry, but are you furious to the point that you are shivering or are you simply annoyed?
Step 4: Get tapping. Pick an emotion and focus on that aspect of the event as you tap. Get that emotion down to zero. Then work with the remaining emotions.
I’ve been using this list to get to the last of those pesky emotions hiding inside problems. The Easy as Pie process has been working well for me. It is time for an example.
A real-life example
Step 1: I had placed an order for a dress to be made. But the dressmakers ruined the dress.
Step 2, 3: What are the emotions from the checklist? What is the intensity on the emotional scale?
- Surprise (shock) – Is this the dress you made?!! 9/10
- Disgust (betrayed) – Those idiots botched up the dress! 7/10
- Anger (revengeful) – I will give them a piece of my mind! 8/10
- Unfairness (need to blame) – They should have done their job properly. 7/10
- Sadness (despair) – So much time and money wasted, and the cloth is lost too. 6/10
Step 4: Then I tapped on the emotions.
- surprise (shock) 9/10 → 3 rounds → 6/10 (shock reduced to surprise) → 2 rounds → 2/10 (surprise reduced to hm…)
Start of the eyebrow Is this the dress you made?
Side of the eye All this shock,
Under the eye All this shock,
- disgust (betrayed) 7/10 → bitter → despair → disappointed → okay
- anger (revengeful) → 8/10 → resentment → (after a few rounds) peaceful
- unfairness (need to blame) 7/10 →
- sadness (despair) 6/10 →
Note that I have used the SUDS scale (0-10 rating) in this example. That is not necessary with the Easy as Pie process.
Tips on using the Easy as Pie process
- Although emotions have been arranged to reduce in intensity linearly, such as panic reducing to overwhelm, you could find yourself jumping from overwhelm to resistance. That is okay. Just tap on resistance from then on until you get clear or you jump to another emotion in the checklist.
- Don’t get too precise about picking the right emotion. This process is more like a guideline than a set of rules. So if you can’t decide whether you are feeling dejected (unfairness) or annoyed (anger), just go with your first choice.
- You do not have to work within the limits of this checklist. If you can’t spot a feeling in the checklist, go ahead and tap on that feeling, whatever it is. Then come back to the checklist to tap on the remaining emotions.
How effective is the Easy as Pie process?
The day the dressmaker incident happened, I only tapped on my anger at the dressmakers. And some sadness.
When I revisited that incident using the Easy as Pie process, I was taken aback by how many other emotions were left unaddressed. Because anger was very high in intensity, I had assumed anger was all I needed to address.
Now I feel truly clear about the dressmaker issue. It no longer bothers me.
Merits of the Easy as Pie process
- Tapping is laser focused because you are tapping on one thread at a time.
- Ready checklist makes it easy to identify the exact emotions to clear out.
- Revisit old issues and see if any emotional aspects were left untapped.
- The sliding emotional scale is a great alternative to the SUDS scale.
The Easy as Pie process takes you from feeling an intense negative charge to feeling neutral for each state. So this is a “negative to neutral” checklist. I will be creating a “neutral to positive” checklist as well.
In my next post, I will share with you a pie diagram and some more real-life examples of working with this process. In the meanwhile, do let me know how this process is working for you. Your feedback and comments are welcome.