“STOPP” DEALING WITH STRESS.
Written by psychotherapist Annie Amirault, MSW, RSW.
Are you feeling anxious, exhausted or overwhelmed by stress? When you are in distress, your thoughts are distorted and may not be based in reality. Negative, persistent, and intrusive thoughts about ourselves, others, and the world can get in the way of you living your full potential. Having negative thoughts is part of human nature, but we don’t have to take our thoughts as facts! Working through your thoughts by using the STOPP acronym can help you manage your emotions, challenge your negative and unhelpful thought patterns, and regain control over your life.
When you feel your emotions elevate, pause for a moment.
Take a breath
Tune into your body and create intentionality around your breathing. Notice how your lungs expand and contract with every breath you take.
What thoughts are going through your mind?
Where is your attention focused?
What thoughts or experience caused your emotional elevation?
Pull back – put distance between you and your thoughts
What is another way of looking at this situation?
Are your thoughts based in reality or are they an opinion?
Will you be upset about this situation next week? Month? Year?
Remember that no emotional experience is permanent and that your emotions will dissipate with time or other perspectives.
Practice what works for you
What is the best thing for you to do right now?
What can I do to help myself sooth? (Go for a walk, write down my thoughts, phone a loved one?)
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”