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Day 67 – Hugging (Yourself) till Relaxed

Hugging till Relaxed is a great metaphor for how we are relating to our tricky, deep thoughts. It's a technique developed by relationship therapist David Schnarch, in which two people hug until there is an involuntary and accepting 'melting-in' rather than an habitual and reactive 'stiffening-out'. The instructions are simple:

  1. Stand on your own two feet

  2. Put your arms around your partner

  3. Focus on yourself

  4. Quiet yourself down – way down.

When you learn how to quiet yourself while your partner is flooding with anxiety, you don't have to move away or make her or him feel differently in order to control your own emotions.

This is consistent with the advice child development experts give parents about dealing with kids. Rather than rush in to comfort and soothe every discomfort and emotional wound, it's important for parents to stay near, quiet themselves, and not interfere as their children learn to repair themselves.

This is exactly what you are learning to do for yourself – hugging yourself – as you sit observing the thoughts coming from the hurt part of yourself. And just like children, your hurt will repair itself. It simply needs you to be 'near' and 'quiet' – aware and accepting.


Continue to observe the deep thoughts that come from your reactivity. Use your deliberate breath to bring your presence/awareness and (physical) softness/acceptance to them. This is the (more) relaxed you hugging them.

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