Imagine there's a guard up in a tower, looking around for possible danger. When the guard sees something suspicious, they sound the alarm. Everyone goes into survival mode.
This guard is a good analogy for the part of your brain called your amygdala. You can also think of it as your home alarm system. When you perceive a threatening or stressful situation, your amygdala is part of activating your fight, flight, freeze and fawn responses. The amygdala lives deep in your emotional brain - that means below the level of conscious thinking.
That means our fight, flight, freeze and fawn reactions are automatic and happen faster than our conscious mind can react.
This response to danger is helpful when there truly is a threat that needs our swift, immediate attention. But the rest of the time, it just causes us to feel wound up, overwhelmed, sleep poorly, get sick more often, and generally think and feel negatively.
Of course, we try to work our way out of it. But there's a good reason why just trying to focus on the positive often doesn't do the trick: it's your body that's reacting, not your conscious mind. Your amygdala and nervous system are reacting, not the real you.
Here's where emotional freedom techniques come in and really do live up to their name. Tapping tells the fear control centre in our brain (the amygdala) that it's safe to relax. We can even see this happening on functional MRI scans when the tapping points are stimulated!
When we're back in control, we get to use the wise and logical parts of our brains to make decisions and solve problems. The body can go back to being at rest; recovering from training and injury, and getting stronger. Overall, we simply feel better!