How to S.T.O.P. mindfully!
These people don’t want the long winded answer about how they should take up a formal meditation practice or even enrol in a mindfulness course - they just need something to help them now! Something to give them a little peace in an otherwise frustrating day! I usually tell them ‘You just need to STOP!’.
Using a short acronym like STOP makes it easier for us to remember which means we are more likely to use it regularly. You can do this technique in a relative short time frame and you don’t need any specials tools to get you started.
S stands for Stop. When you become aware that you are going down a path you really don’t want just stop. Catch yourself in the act, even if you are mid sentence or halfway through yelling at the kids because they haven’t picked up their toys again. You can either say the word stop out loud or just say it to yourself. Stop yelling, stop arguing, stop ruminating.
T stands for Take a Few Breaths. Now that you have stopped give yourself an opportunity to take a few deep mindful breaths, really focusing on inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
O stands for Observe. You will notice as you start to breath deeply you immediately release some of that negative tension that your negative thoughts have already built up in your body. Become aware of that tension and negative energy and slowly release that too as you continue with the breath. Whether you have balled up your fists, clenched your jaw or are just holding on tightly to something - it’s time to let that go and breath through it. Just observe your present experience including thoughts, feelings and emotions without judgement.
P stands for Proceed. Allow yourself to choose the best possible way to proceed in this moment. Do you need to walk it off, make a cup of tea or just remember that this too shall pass so you don’t need to hold on so tightly.
The more regularly you use this technique the better at it you will become. You will find after a while that just by saying the word STOP, you will become more aware, automatically release some of that negative energy and feel calmer.
Why don’t you STOP now and give it a try!