I learned to tap at a workshop on trauma. There are lots of versions out there on the net; this is just one.
Its main use (at least in my practice) is to "re-set" the brain. When you are severely stressed, as in a traumatic incident, the brain "goes limbic." The conscious thinking, planning, and plan-executing part of your brain shuts down and instincts take over. This is essential in a true emergency; unfortunately, the same response can get triggered in non-emergency situations years later and can get in the way of dealing with the present moment.
Tapping re-sets the whole system to default, bringing the executive portion of the brain back on-line and calming the physical symptoms of anxiety.
The beauty of tapping is that you can do it anywhere, it provides instant relief, it's non-addictive, and it requires no special equipment or training. Best of all, it's free!
Here's what you do:
Use three or four fingers. Hold your hands loosely, allowing the fingers of each hand to "hit" at slightly different times--the left hand taps just slightly off the rhythm of the right, and each finger on one hand also taps at slightly different times from the other fingers of the same hand.
Start at the top of your head. Imagine that your hair was parted on the center of your scalp, and tap for several seconds just slightly to each side of the midline, simultaneously.
Now tap just above your brows.
Next, tap your temples for a few seconds.
Move to your cheekbones directly under your eyes, and tap the top edge of the bones.
Using just one hand now, tap just above your top lip for a few seconds.
Move to the dent between your lower lip and chin, and tap there, again with just the one hand.
Again using two hands, tap just below your collarbones, close to your top ribs, a bit toward the center of your chest (there should only be about two inches between your little fingers). If you are in the right place, it should feel kind of hollow. Some people get tremendous relief from tapping this spot alone for several minutes!
Now tap your sides, below your armpits, about on a level with your nipples.
Last, turn your palms so that you can tap the outside edges of your hands against each other, kind of like a very gentle karate "chop"
There! Feel better?
Practice this now a couple of times through until you feel like you've "got" it.
Then, next time you're stressed, see if tapping works for you.
Try it the next time you think you just absolutely, positively, have to have a drink. Do this first.
Try it the next time you think you just absolutely, positively, have to eat everything in the kitchen even though you aren't really physically hungry. Tap first.
The next time you're telling yourself (or somebody else) "I can't stand this," try tapping. You might find that you can handle more than you think.