Navigating Stressful Moments: Embrace the Mindfulness STOP Technique.

We regularly hear how learning mindfulness techniques can be a benefit for dealing with stress and overwhelm. Particularly in those stressful moments brought on by the daily pressures of our modern lifestyle.  It is true, mindfulness is a wonderful practice to bring into your life, but it’s not easy to be present all the time. Especially when there’s so many distractions fighting for your attention! The mindfulness STOP technique is a powerful tool that will help you navigate these moments with ease, finding a sense of balance and serenity in your daily life.  And dare I say, you will feel the benefits instantly.

What is the Mindfulness STOP Technique?

It is a simple and effective practice that was created by the founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Jon Kabat Zinn. It is a practice that is used to cultivate present-moment awareness and bring mindfulness into your everyday life.

When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, by simply pausing and taking a moment to follow these four simple steps, you can learn to be more present, calm, and focused. Even in the midst of the daily chaos! The acronym “STOP” stands for: Stop, Take a breath, Observe, and Proceed.  

Sprinkling the mindfulness STOP technique throughout your day is also a great way to to remind you to be mindful throughout your day. It’s a wonderful practice to lean on when you need to take a little pause. You could call it a mindful reset.

How can the mindfulness STOP technique help to manage stress.

Why practice STOP? Well, it will enable you to do a very important thing. Instead of reacting or lashing out when you feel stressed or triggered by your current environment. Instead, you are able to respond to or manage the situation in a more calm and thoughtful way.

Why is this important? When you react, the decision and the response you make are not always the best option. We’ve all said and used the wrong words in the heat of the moment. This can often cause pain and hurt to the ones we care about.

Or let’s say in a work situation, you feel so stressed or overwhelmed you don’t know how to move forward. This is not the place to make your decisions from. You want your decisions to come from a place of clarity.

The STOP technique serves as a tool for self-awareness, self-regulation, and making intentional choices in alignment with your well-being. When you are present, you are in the moment. You are aware of what is happening around you, you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.

how mindfulness STOP technique helps with stress

This is a technique that will help manage your stress, because it gives you space. It interrupts an automatic pattern, the cycle of stress and anxiety allowing you to respond to stress in a more mindful, conscious, and intentional way.  Giving you a moment to stop, breathe, observe, and proceed.

Here’s your Step-by-Step guide to practising STOP.


S stands for Stop.

Pause whatever you are doing and physically become still. You can either soften and take your gaze downwards or ideally if it’s comfortable for you to do so, gently close your eyes.

T stands for take a Breath.

Take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Begin releasing the tension in your body as you exhale. This exercise is beneficial when you experience stress, creeping anxiety, or feel triggered by a situation, as it helps anchor your awareness. By directing your attention to your breath, you bring yourself into the present moment, which has a calming effect on your nervous system and alleviates the stress response.

O stands for Observe.

Begin to observe what is going on around you and inside of you. Are there any emotions present? Do you feel anything in your body, any sensations? Observe with curiosity.

Start to notice your thoughts. Allow everything and anything to flow without any judgment. Let them be, accepting any observations even if they are unpleasant.

When you are present and observing your thoughts, emotions, and sensations you start to take a step back from them, as a witness, as an observer, instead of being taken over by them.

Letting go

P stands for Proceed.

After taking some time to observe, think about how-to best care for yourself moving forward from this moment. Make a conscious decision, an intention how you would like to proceed. As you proceed forward do so with kindness and with awareness instead of reacting as we so often do when we feel stress, pain, anxiety, frustration or are activated by our environment.

This mindfulness STOP technique can help you find a renewed sense of focus, calm and balance in even the most challenging situations. I love this technique because you can practice it at any time and in any environment. For a few moments or as a regular meditation practice.

Tips for incorporating mindfulness into daily life.

In addition to using the STOP Technique, there are many other ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life.

It’s always nice to schedule time in your day to connect back in with your breath, to stretch your body or take a mindful walk connecting in with your environment.

Recently, I have reconnected with journaling and practicing gratitude. I reflect on five things I am thankful for each day. Developing a daily meditation practice can greatly enhance your mental well-being and cultivate present-moment awareness. The key is to discover what works best for you and make mindfulness a consistent part of your routine.

However, you won’t suddenly wake up one morning and become present or mindful all day long! I believe that living mindfully is a long-term strategy and a lifestyle choice.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like to read…

5 Ways to Enjoy the Benefits of Mindfulness without Meditation.

Mastering the Art of Relaxation: Techniques to Calm your mind and Manage Stress.

How can Mindfulness help in the Workplace?


Click the link to access a free 10-minute audio training, where you will learn a simple mindfulness practice that uses the breath to take you from your daily barrage of overthinking and worry to reclaim your calm, focus and clarity.