The STOP Practice

Just in time for the occasional extra stress that the holiday season can bring …

This four-step mindfulness practice can support you whenever difficult moments arise throughout your day. It helps you develop the emotional intelligence and psychological flexibility required for greater mastery over the challenging moments. The STOP Practice is especially helpful if you need support to move through intense feelings so that you can note them and set them aside for the moment, with the intention of reflecting on them more deeply later.

S – Stop

Literally, just stop what you’re doing, whether it is typing or rushing out the door. Give yourself a moment to come to rest, pause, and collect yourself.

T – Take a Breath

Now that you’ve paused, take a conscious breath or two, allowing yourself to feel the expansion of the belly as you breathe deeply. Notice the sensations of being here, now. As you do so, it may help to bring your attention to the sensations of your feet meeting the floor. Feel the support of the ground and of your own relaxing breath as you do so. Conscious breathing is an effective way to calm the impact of your body’s normal “fight or flight” stress response.

O – Observe

Observe what’s arising in you, including any thoughts, emotions, or bodily sensations (such as tension, butterflies, tightness in the jawline, etc.). Broaden your awareness to take in the circumstances. Notice how you can be in this situation without being ruled by it. For added support, offer self-compassion as you release tension, stressful thoughts, and any judgment of yourself or the situation. As you calm down, open yourself up to the choices you have in terms of how best to move forward from here.

P – Proceed

Proceed with intentionality, taking the next step in your day from this place of strength, wisdom, and presence.


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