There are so many factors that play a role in what is holding us back from our goals and dreams. Whether that may be finances, location or motivation, it is hard to stay on track to succeed. Stress and anxiety are oftentimes big reasons people give up on chasing their dreams. The fear of rejection and failure stresses people out to the point of giving up and walking away.
Two-thirds of Americans say they need help dealing with their stress. Stress and the constant worries of life can lead to different illnesses when allowing it to run our lives. How can someone take back control? That is when the STOP method comes into play. This mindfulness-based practice was designed to help you defuse stress in each moment. This acronym is a helpful tool to help you stay focused, alert, relaxed and not allow your emotions get the best of you when a stressful situation presents itself.
Let’s take a look at what each piece of the puzzle means and how to apply it to our day to day
The first letter of the STOP method stands for the word stop. This part is telling us to stop what we are doing and hit the pause button. It is so easy to let ourselves get consumed in the projects we are doing and the stressors of life. Allowing yourself to say stop and to step back and regroup may bring better and more clear ideas that you did not have before.
The second letter of the STOP method stands for taking a breath. When we feel pressured by deadlines, or overwhelmed in our life, we forget to stop and breathe. Stress takes control of the mind, and thoughts are easily jumbled into a complete mess. Taking a moment to breathe and re-center your mind will bring clarity and mindfulness.
This is why meditation and breathing techniques are used when people feel stressed and anxious. Taking a few minutes to close your eyes and breath can also help with brain fog when you hit a mental roadblock. Studies show that even taking 12 minutes out of your day to breath and meditate helps to strengthen your prefrontal cortex, which helps you think more clearly.
The third letter of the STOP method is to observe. Give yourself a chance to step back and observe your surroundings, your thoughts and your emotions. Reflect on what you have already done and what still needs to be done. Collecting your thoughts and allowing yourself time to change your thought process can allow for more clear and fluid outcomes.
The last and final part of the STOP method stands for proceed. After stopping and taking a step back, allowing yourself to breathe and observe your thoughts, it is time to proceed. When in a stressful or overwhelming situation, each step prepares you on how you are going to taquel this last step.
Whether you decide to proceed in the direction you were already in, or change direction completely, taking time to decompress allows for better mindfulness. There is no right or wrong way to go through this process. You have to find the best way that works for you.
Final Thoughts on STOP Method
Taking time out of your day to stop and regroup, and evaluate why you’re feeling this way will help you grow. Whether in your career, in your personal life or emotionally, these steps will help you with clarity. Once you catch yourself in a negative situation or mindset, use the STOP method to reevaluate the situation and make it better. The more you STOP during the day and re-engage with reality, the more you disengage from the habitual busyness of your mind.