Why it happens...
The stress of worrying about the possibility of having a bathroom accident causes the bowel to over-react and increases the possibility of an accident!
This can be called ‘anticipatory anxiety’. You are worried about something happening in the future.
Usually people experience anticipatory anxiety because of a specific event that has happened. They have had a bathroom accident or a ‘near accident’. So the brain has every reason to worry because it feels it has the proof of the actual experience to go on.
As with any difficult or negative emotion, it is extremely helpful to let go of judgements and to develop some degree of acceptance. It is also very helpful and healing to give yourself permission to take care of your own needs. Even if that means having to go back in the house to use the toilet. I worked with one client who was eventually able to say to me (and herself) “So what if I have to use the toilet; everyone has to use the toilet.”
What to do...
EFT tapping can be very helpful in dealing with anticipatory anxiety and the ‘nervous stomach’ that goes with it. If you don't know how to tap, please watch this video.
Tip: Tapping the fingertips of your two hands together when you are a passenger in the car will often reduce anxiety and reduce the urge to go back to the toilet. If you are the driver, tap the fingertips of one hand on your thigh or the side of your leg.
These techniques can be practised by just going out and riding around the block. Gradually increase the distance that you travel. This will give the brain a new positive experience of successfully leaving the house. Because you are tapping while driving around, you will be reducing the triggers associated with walking out the door, getting into the car, driving away from the house etc.
EFT can also be used to process the details of the specific event of the bathroom accident or near accident and reduce the emotional intensity and anxiety created by it. This will make it easier to leave the house without the fear that you will have to run back.
I knew a woman who had to pull her van into a parking lot and squat behind a building because she couldn’t get to a bathroom. This incident created feeling of helplessness, shame and embarrassment for her. Tapping through the specific event will reduce these lingering feelings and the anxiety you feel about leaving the house in case you get into a similar situation again.
Here’s a general script for an accident (or near accident). Before you start to tap through it – write down a sentence or two to describe the details of your own experience – In this way your brain will work on your specific incident as you tap through the general script provided below:
KC: Even though I couldn’t get to a toilet and I nearly had an accident, I love and accept myself anyway.
KC: Even though I nearly had an accident and I felt so helpless, I love and accept myself anyway.
KC: Even though I felt so embarrassed and ashamed, I love and accept myself anyway.
EB: I couldn’t get to the toilet
SE: I nearly had an accident
UE: I felt so embarrassed
UN: I felt so ashamed
CH: I couldn’t get to a toilet
CB: I nearly had an accident
UA: I felt embarrassed and ashamed
H: Now I’m afraid it might happen again
EB: Even though I’m afraid it might happen again
SE: I love and accept myself anyway
UE: Even though I’m afraid it might happen again
UN: I choose to feel calm and relaxed
CH: Even though I’m afraid it might happen again
CB: I love and accept myself anyway
UA: Even though I worry about having an accident
H: I choose to feel calm and relaxed
Repeat the rounds of tapping until you can think about your own incident in a calm way.
You can also change the words to better suit the details of your own experience and repeat those rounds until the emotional intensity goes down on your own issue.
Here is a tapping script for acceptance and to give yourself permission to care for your needs:
KC: Even though I can’t leave the house without running back to the bathroom, I accept who I am and where I’m at
KC: Even though I can’t leave the house without running back to the bathroom, I choose to give myself permission to go back if I have to
KC: Even though I can’t leave the house without running back to the bathroom, I choose to give myself permission to take care of my needs.
EB: I can’t leave the house
SE: I always have to run back
UE: I have to use the bathroom
UN: I never make it out in one try
CH: I can’t leave the house
CB: I always have to run back
UA: I have to use the bathroom
H : I never make it out in one try
EB: Even though I can’t leave the house without running back
SE: I accept who I am and where I’m at with this
UE: Even though I always have to run back
UN: I give myself permission to take care of my needs
CH: Even though I never make it out in one try
CB: I’m open to the possibility that this can change
UA: Even though I can’t leave the house without running back
H : I give myself permission to look after myself
EB: Even though I usually have to run back to the bathroom
SE: I’m open to a new possibility
UE: Even though it’s hard to believe it could be different
UN: I’d be delighted and relieved if it could be
CH: Even though I never make it out in one try
CB: What if I actually did one day
UA: Even though I don’t know if this can change
H : I’m open to believing that it might
This tapping script can be used directly on the physical symptoms of anticipatory anxiety:
KC: Even though I’m feeling anxious about leaving the house, I choose to feel calm and relaxed
KC: Even though I’m feeling anxious and I have a nervous stomach, I choose to feel calm and confident
KC: Even though I feel anxiety in my stomach, I accept myself and I choose to feel calm and relaxed
EB: I have a nervous feeling in my stomach
SE: I’m anxious about leaving the house
UE: feeling nervous
UN: feeling anxious
CH: it’s right there in my stomach
CB: I always get a nervous stomach
UA: I’m anxious about leaving the house
H : this nervous feeling in my stomach
EB: What if this feeling could go away
SE: and I could feel calm and relaxed
UE: what if my stomach could settle down
UN: and I could feel calm and relaxed
CH: what if this nervous feeling could go away?
CB: and instead I’d feel calm and peaceful
UA: I’m open to the possibility this could happen
H : I would love to feel calm and peaceful
Use these tapping scripts – or your own versions of them – to “re-train” your brain for less anxiety and more self-acceptance. Try them out more than once a day for a few days, or ahead of time when you are planning to leave the house. Then see how this affects your urge to run back to the house.
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