Eric Almeida is an Emotional Guide that helps people to embrace their true selves and search for self-fulfillment. The method he uses is the Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as tapping, and Eric explains how the sessions work in this interview for MysticMag. Check out more about EFT and his story below!
In your website, you mention that, as your patients, at some point of your life you were also feeling tired, scared and lost in life. What was your turning point?
I was bullied a lot in school, which created social anxiety. Growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, when calling ‘gay’ anything that was different or unusual with me in the closet was pushing a button that people did not realize was there. I knew that I needed to work on myself because I was carrying a lot of pain, but I did what many people do and kicked that can for 15 years.
I was in a habit of compartmentalizing my emotions and throwing them in the back of my mind, hoping I’d never see them again. When I was 35, I ended up having a really nasty panic attack, which forced me to deal with everything. It took away my ability to compartmentalize and my situation became much worse very quickly, including developing agoraphobia.
So, I reached out to a mental health professional who specialized in the Emotional Freedom Technique. We started working together over the phone until I got comfortable going to her office and we started unboxing those emotions, one box at a time, processing those emotions and letting them go. This ended up relieving the anxiety, the depression and restrictions I had about self-expression. It helped me being able to open up and be my authentic self.
What is the Emotional Freedom Technique?
The Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as EFT or tapping, involves tapping on acupressure points on one’s body. The purpose of tapping is to calm down the fight, flight and freeze response we all naturally have. That’s the response somebody would have if you’re going for a hike and a snake crosses your path, making you jump back.
We need that primitive response for basic human survival and we share it with many species of animals. Happiness is a perk, but the purpose of the mind is to keep you alive. In a risk situation, the brain suppresses all emotion for you to respond – so you react. But we are not taught in most instances how to access those emotions again. A child who experiences a moment perceived as life-threatening does not have the capacity to return to those emotions at all. So, the child’s mind will suppress the access to emotion because they are too young to handle it.
The mind is like a muscle in our body and has its limitations. Many situations take place in life and then something like COVID or other traumatic event comes along, adding contemporary weight to all this extra weight you are holding from the past.
So, the mind struggles as a muscle that starts to shake. That “shaking” are early signs of mental illness: sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, moments of rage, leaning into drugs, sex or porn. When that “mental muscle” completely gives out, that’s a complete mental breakdown, like a panic attack, a severe depression, a state of mania or a state of rage.
Tapping is calming for the moment and then connections to the past gently come to the surface of mind. The mental energy used to suppress past trauma gets back into your everyday use and that part of yourself gets restored.
What are the main blockages in people’s lives you observe in your practice?
Their belief that they can’t and their belief that the life they have is all they deserve. I dealt with it firsthand and I’ve learned from my own history and clients that a person will choose to live in their version of hell for as long as they think they deserve to stay there. And they are the only ones capable of convincing themselves that it is worth leaving.
People understand, when it comes to addiction, that they need to reach their rock bottom before they are willing to put all their effort into fighting addiction. That is very accurate to addiction of any kind but it is also very accurate to any form of mental illness. It is amazing the hell someone will live in before being willing to deal with it. The frightening part that people don’t realize is that their version of hell does not end: you can always make your life worse. Unfortunately, a lot of people do.
The other side of that coin is that your life can always improve too, no matter how good it is. People don’t pay attention to that side as much because a lot of people don’t think they have a conscious ability to move in that direction.
There’s a lot of things in life we can’t control, such as war, inflation, how COVID has been handled, but we can control ourselves. We can control how we respond to all those stimuli happening to us. We can affect how the emotions happen, to a degree.
How does your approach change when it comes to professional solutions and goals?
I have plenty of clients who are dissatisfied with their career and it causes depression or anxiety. I help them with the symptoms experienced and to connect with their deeper selves for them to get direction as to what they truly want to do with their lives. A big thing that happens in the career front particularly is that the environment in which we are raised influences our belief about what is important around our careers.
If somebody has a belief that is harming them and if it’s something they’ve learned, they can unlearn it. So, it’s a process of going into the past, determining where it came from and discovering what is your true belief about yourself, and then swapping out the old damaging belief and replacing it with a new one. You need to have something to replace it, otherwise the mind will reject the void.
From a career perspective, a lot of people go down a path because that’s what their families told them to do and they thought it was the only thing they had. A lot of entrepreneurs become tyrants to themselves. I can’t tell the number of entrepreneurs I know whose schedules are punishing beyond belief, even though they determine them on their own. Underneath being a tyrant to themselves, there’s something else, either the idea of having to make as much money as possible to survive or a scarcity mindset or the feeling not to deserve having balance.
Some people don’t think it’s possible to have a career, family, friends and to take care of themselves – but it is! You just have to find how to find harmony in those places of your life, which takes work but can be done. If you don’t think it’s possible, you will not even try.