Want a quick, fun way to release stress or strong emotions? Try the butterfly hug with your child today. Developed by Lucina Artigas, M.A. in her work with survivors of the Acapulco Hurricane of 1997, the butterfly hug is a wonderful way to get your child’s focus back to her body when she is experiencing strong emotion. It also works after the fact to release emotions associated with a painful or undesirable memory. Here’s how to do it:
1. Think of a memory you would like to lessen the emotion associated with. Rate the strength of your feelings on a scale of 1 to 10.
2. Cross your arms in front of your chest with the tips of the fingers of each hand resting just below the clavicle on each side.
3. Gently close your eyes or look softly down.
4. Alternate gentle tapping on each side (it kind of looks like the flutter of butterfly wings, hence the name:))
5. Breathe deep and slow while you are gently alternating the tapping. Tap for about 3 minutes.
6. Now think of the feeling associated with the memory and rate it again. See if it feels weaker this time when you think about it.
If your child can’t think of any particular memory or you are not working with a specific stressful event, then just tap and observe what is passing through your mind as you are tapping. It can also serve as a beautiful mindfulness observation as well.