This exercise works well with children and is very effective for times when a child becomes overwhelmed by emotion and has a tantrum or cannot think straight after having a bad dream.
Tell the child to imagine placing the problem or bad dream onto the palm of one of your hands and to watch your hand. Be quick and assertive to interrupt their pattern of thinking.
Move your hand above your head and sweep it slowly from left to right and back again. Keep sweeping your hand slowly back and forth for around 15 seconds or so.
Slowly sweep the hand from the top right diagonally across to the bottom left, back and forth again for a while.
Move your hand slowly from bottom left to bottom right back and forth for a while
Repeat the movement from bottom right diagonally to top left, again going back and forth slowly again for up to around 15 seconds.
Now rapidly crumple your hand and quickly throw the problem or bad dream over your shoulder.
How does it work?
We all store a lot of information, memories, thoughts, and feelings in our unconscious brain. When something is on "the tip of our tongue" it's in our unconscious memory but we haven't quite managed to bring the information to the surface yet.
Our brain is like a filing cabinet storing all of the information away that we might need later. What most people don't know though is that different types of memory relating to different senses are stored in different parts of the brain. What is even more useful to know is that we can help our brain to access the right parts of the filing cabinet by moving our eyes to a certain place. For example if you look up and to your left it will help you to remember something you have seen. If you look down to your right it will help you to remember how you felt about something.
When a child has a bad dream or a tantrum they become emotionally "stuck" or confused and unable to "think straight" Encouraging them to move their eyes back and forth to access different parts of the brain helps it to "unwire" itself by concentrating on one area of the filing cabinet at a time. This in turn helps the emotions to become "unstuck" and move on so the child calms down.