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Just STOP it!

I’ve fallen a bit behind on the blogging lately but want to jump back in today with a great technique for helping yourself out when in a funk or when you notice that you’re not feeling yourself. When stress or some other ick piles up, the STOP method is a great tool. I’ll be referencing this in future posts, I’m sure.

It’s a tried-and-true emotion and nervous system management skill. The catch is that you have to actually do it and you have to want to do it. There isn’t a short cut!

The Stop It Method is an acronym for a set of tasks that you can do when you’re feeling some kind of way.

S – Literally stop whatever you’re doing in the moment you first realize that you’re overwhelmed, feeling funky, etc. Stop moving your body, stop writing or reading or whatever task you’re into at the moment. Freeze in space for a bit. If it’s safe and you’re ok to do so, completely stop engaging or interacting with whatever it is you’re doing.

T – Take one breath or as many as you want to. Inhale for 4 seconds, pause for 7 seconds, exhale in a controlled, slow ay for 8 seconds. Focus only on your breathing until you’re feeling a bit more settled. Take as long as you need with this step, and just breathe.

O – Observe. Pay attention to your body and scan from head to toe. Observe any feelings of unease or tension or restlessness. Check in with your heart rate, too. What emotions are you feeling? Name them. Write them down if you want to. (I like this journal!) What is happening in your environment? Is it loud? Quiet? Messy? Neat? Bright? Dark? Smelling like yummy cookies or stale socks? Make like a scientist and just make some notes of the physical environment both around you and in your body.

P – Proceed with purpose. What is it that you need right now? What is both realistic and manageable for you right now? What is going to best serve you in this moment? Will getting back to work help you? Will taking a warm, calming shower do the trick? What about stepping outside to get some air? Decide what it is that will best serve you and your interests right now and commit to doing it before going back to your day.

Save the graphic I made below for easy reference! Try this out anytime you think it might help – it doesn’t have to take a long time to see some results. 20 minutes of a pause with yourself, some breathing, a cool glass of water and a stroll around the block won’t ruin the day or your current task – they may actually save it!

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