“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 manage your emotions, challenge your negative and unhelpful thought patterns, and regain control of 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.”

-Viktor Frankl


Nervous about taking the first step? Or not sure where to start?  Our psychotherapists offer Complimentary 15 min consults –  with availability at both locations, book your appointment now ONLINE.


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