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How a sloth is helping kids with stress and anxiety

Posted at 3:15 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 17:20:23-04

Even the smallest humans aren't immune to stress and worry! That's why Utah's Kristina Butterfield created Zen Friends, which she showed off on the show today.

The Zen Friends Sage and Shiloh are poseable, Bluetooth  sloths that are designed to teach kids self love through mindfulness, meditation and yoga. They have an inner frame that allows them to move and be put into different yoga positions. They also have a Bluetooth speaker inside that you will be able to connect your smart device to, and then play meditation tracks through the sloth.

Kristina came up with the idea three years ago while going through a course learning how to love herself and heal from different traumas she'd experienced.  "I kept thinking that I wish I had learned about mindfulness and meditation when I was young. I have 3 kids of my own and decided to start teaching them everything that I was learning so that they could learn how to connect to themselves now instead of needing to heal when they're older," Kristina says.

At the same time she was teaching them all of this, there was a huge rise in suicides at her local high school, and it was heartbreaking for the entire community. "So between my kids and the kids in our community, I really wanted to find a way to help. There's a quote from the Dalai Lama that says "If every 8 year old in the world was taught meditation, we would end violence from the world in one generation". That quote really resonated and stuck with me, and I realized that we needed to be looking at teaching our younger kids the importance of connecting to themselves if we want to reverse the rise we've seen in youth depression and suicide. One night the idea came to me to make a little best friend that could help kids feel comforted and at the same time help them learn to really love themselves," Kristina explains.

She'll be launching a Kickstarter starting in October with a goal of raising $50,000. This will allow her to be able to improve the prototypes and have the funds to manufacture them and get them out to families.  Kristina also wants to raise enough money to be able to donate one sloth to every school in America.

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