Managing Anxiety Through The Butterfly Method

Pathological Love Relationships leave an aftermath of problems of which the most bothersome are all the anxiety symptoms. These include racing heart, racing mind, intrusive thoughts. obsessional thinking, adrenaline rushes, and cognitive dissonance. Part of recovery is symptom management and finding tools that bring relief to the some distressing of symptoms.

The Butterfly Hug is a form of bilateral stimulation that I suggest my client use in between EMDR sessions or even during a therapy session to relax and calm them self when they need to do so.

The Butterfly Hug was originated and developed by Lucina Artigas, M.A., M.T., and Ignacio Jarero, Ed.D., Ph.D., M.T.  Ignacio graciously gave me permission to share this with you.  They used this process with survivors of hurricane Pauline in Mexico, in 1998.  Since then, it has been used with adults and children who have experienced various forms of trauma.

The process is simple and can be done anytime, anywhere you choose.  It can help you induce a sense of safety and calm and empower you to self-comfort and self-soothe.  It can also foster your resilience and to allay any disturbing feelings that come up.   Most importantly, it can help to ground your awareness in the present moment. Anxiety symptoms are always related to future worrying so any symptom management that helps to ground people to the present moment also helps to manage anxiety.

Here is how it’s done:

  • Sit with your back straight.  Do abdominal breathing. Imagine you have a little balloon in your stomach that you inflate and deflate, slowly, deeply, smoothly.
  • Observe what is happening in your mind, emotions and body as you would observe clouds in the sky.
  • Cross your hands over your chest so that the middle finger of each hand is placed below your collarbone.  The rest of your fingers will touch your upper chest.  Your hands and fingers are as vertical as possible (pointing more toward your neck than your arms.  You can interlock your thumbs.
  • Alternate the movement of your hands, right, left, simulating the flapping wings of a butterfly.
  • Continue to breathe slowly and deeply, observing whatever is going through your mind and body (thoughts, images, sounds, odors, emotions and physical sensations) without changing, avoiding or judging anything.  Observe it like clouds passing by.

The butterfly is an ancient symbol of transformation.  As you use this simple tool, you are facing, rather than avoiding conflict.  Whenever you stop avoiding, you raise your level of consciousness (awareness).  As you do this, you are strengthening your inner radar detector by becoming more of who you really are, empowering yourself and calming yourself all at the same time.