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butterfly hug

Life events and our daily stressors can have the potential to create a situation in which our emotions become a destructive form of anxiety. These destructive emotions include but are not limited to a racing heart, obsessive thinking and, inability to breathe.

The “Butterfly Hug” method was introduced to help lighten these emotions. This method is a therapeutic intervention to help relax and calm these rapidly destructive emotions.

Here’s an instruction guide for the “Butterfly Hug” technique, to be read as a script with children while practicing relaxation techniques.

“Cross your arms over your chest, so that the tip of the middle finger from each hand is placed below the clavicle or the collarbone and the other fingers and hands cover the area that is located under the connection between the collarbone and the shoulder and the collarbone and sternum or breastbone.
Hands and fingers must be as vertical as possible so that the fingers point toward the neck and not toward the arms.

If you wish, you can interlock your thumbs to form the butterfly’s body and the extension of your
other fingers outward will form the Butterfly’s wings.
Your eyes can be closed, or partially closed, looking toward the tip of your nose.

Next, you alternate the movement of your hands, like the flapping wings of a butterfly. Let your hands move freely. You can breathe slowly and deeply (abdominal breathing), while you observe what is going through your mind and body such as thoughts, images, sounds, odors, feelings, and physical sensation without changing, pushing your thoughts away, or judging.

You can pretend as though what you are observing is like clouds passing by.” (Lucina Artigas and Ignacio Jarero, 2014).

This takes about 3 to 4 minutes and is known to calm down nerves. Previously, clinicians have also used this method with children and adults alike that have gone through traumatic events. While this method is used for easing these negative emotions, it is not and should not be a consistent coping mechanism and if the child or the parent are experiencing frequent anxiety and panic attacks, it is advised to visit a doctor/therapist.


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Kelly Farrell

Kelly Farrell is the Founder and Director of Oak Learners. She is dedicated to supporting learners of all ages and abilities reach their goals and love the learning journey. Kelly’s philosophy of education is based in the understanding that every child has the capacity to excel and succeed when they are given the tools and taught the skills to help them on their journey.
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