Life can feel overwhelming when you’re dealing with a lot different stressors and you feel like you’re stuck on an emotional rollercoaster. It can leave you feeling completely drained and wiped out. The good news is, there are a few things you can do to make a little more easier and help you to cope. All you have to do is “S.T.O.P.P.”
Stop, and Step Back
When you’re dealing with one of those stressful situations, hit the pause button for a minute and step back from the situation mentally (or even physically if you need to). It’s important to stop the cycle of just responding automatically or immediately.
Take a Breath
Once you’ve paused, take a couple deep breaths in and out. Make sure you’re breathing deeply from your abdomen and not your chest. This will help you to slow down your heart rate, which naturally helps reduce your levels of stress and anxiety. Having a hard time slowing your breathing down? Try breathing in and out along with the image below.
Now that you’ve been able to take a step back and breathe. Take some time to observe what’s happening around you. Ask yourself the following questions…
- What am I thinking and feeling?
- What are the words that my mind is saying?
- Are the thoughts descriptions, or evaluations?
- Are these thoughts 100% true? Or are they an opinion
- Are these thoughts helpful to me right now, or unhelpful?
Pull Back and Gain Some Perspective
Try to view the situation like an outsider would. Is there another way of looking at this situation? If you had told another friend about this situation, what would they say to you about it? What meaning are you giving to this situation by acting this way? Will this still be important 6 months from now? Is your reaction in proportion to the event?
What can you do with this new information going forward? How can you act differently? Is there something else that may be more effective than the way you normally respond to this situation. Do what works, and act wisely. Do what would be most helpful for this situation and/or yourself.
If you follow these steps, it can help you cope a little better with most stressful situations you will encounter. Worried you’ll forget about STOPP while you’re out? You can check out printable cards to place in your wallet here. Want to learn more about Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and how to implement this in your own life? Feel free to contact us to make an appointment and learn more about how we can help you.