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.