This is one of my favorite "feel good" exercises, and it only takes 3 minutes! There are 9 steps to it, and you do each step for about 20 seconds. It's a modification of the "Eight Step Process Technique" in Dr. Fred Gallo's book, Energy Tapping for Trauma (New Harbinger Publication, 2007). Before you begin doing the exercise, notice where you are on the Subjective Units of Distress scale (SUDS) of 0 - 10, with 0 being, "I feel great with no negative feelings," and 10 being, "I feel the worst anxiety (sadness, anger, etc) I've ever felt."
So, have a seat and get comfortable. Start doing some slow, deep abdominal breathing that I talked about in Week 4's Blog. Continue breathing slowly and deeply throughout the exercise.
1. Place your left hand on your right shoulder, and your right hand on your left shoulder. Begin slowly tapping, first with one hand and then with the other, alternating back and forth for about 20 seconds as you continue to breathe slowly and deeply. This is why the exercise is called the "Butterfly Hug."
2. Now place one hand on your heart and your other hand on top of the hand on your heart. Gently press into your heart with both hands and hold for about 20 seconds. This is called the "Heart Hug."
3. Now gently move your right hand from the top of your chest over your heart to the bottom of it, and then follow that with your left hand doing the same thing. Keep alternating left and right hands as you gently stroke your heart for 20 seconds.. It's called the "Heart Glide."
4. Next, keep one hand on your heart and move the other hand so it is resting flat against your forehead. Hold that position for 20 more seconds.
5. Now keep the hand on your forehead and move the other hand so it is resting against the back of your neck. Hold that position for 20 more seconds.
6. Now keep holding your hand on the back of your neck but move the other hand to your heart. Hold that position for 20 seconds.
7. And now it's time to work your way backwards. Again, do the Heart Glide for 20 seconds.
8. Now do the Heart Hug for 20 more seconds.
9. And last, do the Butterfly Hug one more time for 20 seconds.
Once you get into the rhythm of this exercise, it can feel even better if you repeat comforting or nurturing words to yourself, either out loud or inside your mind, such as, "It's ok" or "It's going to be ok," or whatever feels calming to you, or even something that connects you with the best part of your spiritual faith, such as, "You're accepted, loved, and welcomed by God."
Once you have finished this exercise, notice where you are now on that 0 - 10 SUDS scale.
You might try doing this exercise 1 - 3 times every day and then pay attention to the impact it has on your happiness level this week.
(Photo credit - db_beyer)