When the red mist of rage, anger, frustration and stress build up and comes into your thoughts it is time to S.T.O.P.P.
Stop – Say it to yourself, in your head as soon as you notice your mind and/or your body is reacting to a trigger or stressor. Stopping helps to put in the space between the stimulus (the trigger, whatever we are reacting to) and our response. The earlier you use STOPP, the easier and more effective it will be.
Take a Breath – Breathing a little deeper and slower will calm you down and reduce the physical reaction of emotion/adrenaline. In through the nose, out through our mouth, this is the brain’s reset mechanism. Focusing on our breathing means we are not so focused on the thoughts and feelings of the distress, so that our minds can start to clear and we can think more logically and rationally.
Observe – We can notice the thoughts going through our mind, we can notice what we feel in our body, and we can notice the urge to react in an impulsive way. We can notice the vicious cycle of anxiety, sadness or anger (etc). Noticing helps us to defuse from those thoughts and feelings and therefore reduce their power and control.
Pull back – Put the thoughts, emotions, and behaviour into some perspective. The thought challenging of CBT. Thinking differently. Do not believe everything that you think! Thoughts are thoughts – NOT statements of fact. When we step back emotionally from a situation, and start to see the bigger picture, it reduces those distressing beliefs. We can do this by asking ourselves questions.
Practise what works – Proceed. This is the behavioural change of CBT. Doing things differently. Rather than reacting impulsively with unhelpful consequences, we can CHOOSE our more helpful and positive response. Shift our focus of attention.
Applying this model to your life is the start of changing, empowering, and taking back control of your life, your behaviours and emotions.
The STOPP model is now a FREE app and available in the Microsoft store.
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