Using The Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) with EFT

Happy mom

You are excited to start learning more about EFT and tapping! Yay!

One way to gauge your progress as you tap through your issues, stress and concerns, is by measuring how you feel.


You can measure how you are feeling by using the Subjective Units of Distress Scale, or otherwise known as the SUDS Scale.

This scale was created in 1969 by Joseph Wolpe. It was originally created to help with ratings with anxiety disorders as well as for research purposes.

This scale ranges from 0-10, and the rating given is for how one feels at that very moment.

Before beginning EFT rounds, we want to gauge how our emotions and physical state is feeling. Being able to have a point of reference before starting gives us a way to see our progress and guide us.

Seeing the progress, guides us in our next steps as the number lowers on the SUDS scale.

There is no perfect answer, and you can’t “get it wrong”, so don’t worry about if you pick the correct number or not on the scale. 

This is just to help track your progress.

I’m going to give you a super brief description of each stage, 0-10, so you may be able to completely understand how to rate yourself on the SUDS scale.


Here’s the scale in simple form:

SUDS Scale

0 – Complete peace and no more anxiety about the issue you were addressing.

1 – Feeling pretty good, might have a slight doubt in thoughts, but nothing significant.

2 – Slight annoyance, you will notice that something is bothering you.

3 – Mildly bothered, upset or worried.

4 – Slightly upset, a feeling you can’t ignore. You feel ok, but not happy.

5 – Upset and bothered. You can manage, but the issue is front ant center in your mind.

6 – You have emotions that you feel can’t be ignored and need to be addressed.

7 – You are upset, like anger or panic. Feeling bad and concern about keeping control.

8 – Very upset, may even feel physically ill.

9 – Extremely upset, scared to lose control of your emotions. Feelings are unbearable and you’re scared.

10 – Feeling out of control, and overwhelmed with your thoughts. Extremely intense feelings.


Before you start a “tapping round”, you will want to identify what you want to tap about. This can be an issue you are having, an overwhelming feeling, or something you are stuck on.

If it is related to stress, you may be thinking about, “I hate the way I feel when I am overwhelmed”.

That thought is a negative statement that you probably want to turn into a positive one.

By tapping on this thought, you have the chance of turning that statement around to create a thought that you can accept the weight you are at right now.

Before you start tapping on that issue, look at the scale and be honest with yourself how you feel RIGHT NOW. This will give you a good starting point as you do tapping rounds, see how your thoughts change and how, hopefully, your emotions move down the scale.

happy mom


Now that you know how to rate your thoughts and feelings on the scale, you can easily understand how to analyze your feelings.

Using this scale isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does help to see progress.

Using a journal to record your ratings to your emotions, and noting the progress, will help you to look back as see where you have come from. Sometimes it is cool to see the changes that have been made with our issues through tapping.

Kind of like a before and after photo.

You may not remember where you came from without documenting the past. That being said, it’s also ok for those memories to stay in the past if you wish.

You are going to make lots of progress using this simple system and tapping with me!

Love – Coach Angela

Tapping Support