It’s easy to react to those you live and work with on a daily basis. Frustration, impatience and anger bubble up and hijack your ability to think clearly, act with good sound judgment, and live with more joy and meaning. Being more aware and mindful of what you are feeling and how you are reacting can improve those difficult situations. The STOP technique is a way to guide you.
S – STOP
As soon are you begin to notice your are feeling a negative emotion, STOP what you are doing. What are your early warning signs? Do you tense up in your body or your face? Does your breathing change? Do you immediately interrupt or raise your voice? What exactly do you do? Say? Pay attention when it is happening and remind yourself “ I must pay attention NOW”.
T – TAKE A BREATH
When you are upset, your body reacts and your thinking can be affected and your breathing gets shorter. When you slow down your breath, you have more ability to think clearly and use better judgment. So…. If you let yourself exhale and feel your body relax (like the energy that comes from a sigh) the negative emotion can soften . You can then think about how your want to RESPOND rather than REACT. This can often bring about a more desirable result!!
With more calmness and clearer thinking, you can begin to sort out your feelings. Ask yourself, “Am I reacting to old patterns? What am I telling myself about this that is causing me to feel this way? What other choices do I have in this situation? Is there another way to think about this?”
P – PRACTICE OTHER CHOICES
When you are open to change, you can sort out what might be possible. Focus on what might work for you. Stay AWAY from thinking what is fair or unfair- right or wrong – should or should not while you are sorting out the situation. Try not to evaluate and unglue your opinions. Acknowledge what is happening but don’t JUDGE. Try to meet your needs for this SPECIFIC situation. It may not be the situation you wish you were in or the one that is comfortable or just. Keep your eye on the results you want.
The STOP TOOL is just that- a TOOL. You can’t avoid conflict as long as you have connections to others. (YOU do need to interact with others for your physical and mental health.) You can’t control what happens to you all the time, but you can exert some impact on how you react to what is happening to you. STOP and allow yourself to pay attention to your negative reaction . You can choose to respond in many different ways – it is up to you. STOP gives you a tool to help you in that choice.
GIVE IT A TRY- I THINK IT IS WORTH THE EFFORT!!