Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life. Stress is certainly not a bad thing to be experienced. In fact, it has been a crucial tool of survival. Being an important thing for our survival, stress is a response of emotional tension. It can be super helpful in times like avoiding dangers or meeting deadlines. But it can also be a bummer that can damage our body physically, such as high blood pressure, anxiety, nausea, and gastrodigestive problems.

Well, if stress is not the bad guy here, then, what is? It is the response to stress that does all the harms. Naturally, humans respond to stress using the “fight or flight” method. This can be helpful in some situations but often can’t. Mindfulness has a better solution to it.

Being mindful in a stressful day, shifting our emotions to the present is one of the stress-relieving practices that’s easy to be done. Experiencing the present surrounding — and also inner present — has been shown to calm the mind positively, removing the negative thoughts from it. A method to accomplish this, is the S.T.O.P. method.

STOP is an acronym for stop, take, observe, and proceed. It is a basic mindfulness practice that can be done anytime or anywhere. STOP does not require a silent room or a tranquil scenery to be practised. In a stop of a red light, in the middle of a class, on a working desk, anywhere. One only needs to grant some time and some space to themselves.

Here’s how it’s done  :

1. Stop

Stop whatever action is currently happening, and realize that you need to spare a distance from the activity.

2. Take a breath

Take some deep breaths and try calming yourself. Sometimes, saying some validations to yourself such as “calm” or “here” can help the mind to be calm. Counting breaths can also support yourself to give more attention to the process.

3. Observe

Observe your mind and your feeling. Look for what are the things that have been bugging your mind, and try to name them. Name the emotions, recall the thoughts. Naming the feelings we experience has been shown to lower its negative image on our mind. Observe your physical experience. How is your heartbeat and breath? Why are they how they are?

4. Proceed

Proceed with an action that will support your present self. This can be done through various things such as, calling a friend, grab a coffee, have some break, take a walk, or — you name it!

Stress is not a reason to feel bad about ourselves. It is, as mentioned, a crucial part of life, including ours. The response of stress can sometimes be too hard for ourselves. The STOP method is a way among other practices to get us out of overstressing. Take a time in a day to do a few stepbacks and be mindful. Try to STOP.