How to tap your way through mistakes (using acupressure to ease the growing pains)

How to tap your way through mistakes (using acupressure to ease the growing pains)

I’m in a training program right now and got some great live teaching this week from a master coach who encouraged us all to, in his words, “fail big.” (This is a wilderness coach who takes people into the woods to do some deep inner inquiry. As part of their process they acquire new outdoorsy skills, and the sooner the participants get their hands dirty (and fail) the sooner they learn what they need to learn to build a better fire or whatever the task at hand.)

Now this idea can be a bit silly, taken to extremes. Clearly our failures have consequences on other people and are painful to endure. But a lot of the sting of something going down differently than we would have liked is more internal than external. It is about what we make it mean. 

Here’s some good news: you don’t have to think your way out of the self-judgement box.

You can use your body as your ally through a process of tapping on acupressure points. This tool (think acupuncture minus the needles) is a wonderful complement to meditation and a simple, painless, and highly effective way to clear out the emotional charge around a situation. (The tapping sends a calming message to your amygdala–the integrative brain center for emotions– which helps restore the whole nervous system and the balance of energy in the body.) This rewires your brain to respond in fresh ways to the challenge.

And why wouldn’t we want to do more of that?

Tapping is my go to practice when I am stirred up by conflict or a situation gets under my skin. I use it on a weekly if not more often basis and I wanted to share this refresher with you!

In this week’s video I give a demo on tapping on the shame or self-judgment which can come after we make a mistake.  When we let the “inner critic” out (by voicing all those negative thoughts and simultaneously tapping on the acupressure points) we can find an easier way to be with ourselves in a hard moment– rather than simply wishing it wasn’t so or abandoning ourselves.

This whole process makes space for growth.

Which is vital because as we grow we are going to fail again. But the sooner we fail, the sooner we integrate those lessons, the freer we become for living ever more authentic + meaningful lives.

Have fun with this! Especially if it makes you feel silly or self-conscious. Before you tap rate the intensity of the stress you feel around the issue on a scale of 0-10. Write this down. After you tap check back in to see where that number is. You can keep going until it is a 0 or just get it to a more comfortable rating and move on with your day.

Here are some additional tapping resources.

The Tapping World Summit  (The free 2015 online conference is unfortunately over. But you can get connected to them for next year or purchase the audios.)

Everyday Happiness: EFT Tapping for Self Transformation That Really Works by Claire P. Hayes

Tapping When You Feel Overwhelmed (Another how-to video I recorded over the summer — this one a good fit is you are feeling super busy or stressed.)



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Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at or you can schedule a complementary clarity session to talk more.