what to do when you're stressed

What to do when you’re stressed 1: S.T.O.P.

In this first post of what to do when you’re stressed, I offer you the STOP practice to create some space in your day to get out of your thoughts and into your body.

Victor Frankl, the famous Austrian psychiatrist, concentration camp survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaningfamously said:

Between stimulus and response lies a space. In that space lie our freedom and power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.

If you’re feeling stressed right now, there is a stimulus.

And it’s possible right now to create and cultivate a space for more freedom…for more growth…for more happiness…and ultimately to be able to respond to what’s happening in your life rather than reacting (and possibly regretting).

One way to cultivate this space is to pause.   The STOP technique is a mindfulness technique that gives structure to that pause.

Let’s go through it together:

S = Stop

Stop what you are doing: Press the pause button on your thoughts and actions.

T = Take

Take 3-5 deep breaths to center yourself and bring yourself more fully into the present moment.

O = Observe

Use your 5 senses to notice what you are experiencing…

Sensations: What are 3 things you can feel?

Sights: What are 3 things you see in the space around you or 3 colours?

Sounds: What are 3 things you can hear?

Smells: What can you smell?

Taste: What can you taste in your mouth, if anything?

P = Proceed

Proceed with whatever you were doing.


Notice how that felt.

If you feel even a little bit less stressed, perhaps commit to practising STOP regularly throughout the day.   You could set a timer or practice it each time a notification appears on your phone or you hear a bird sing or a particular difficult thought arises.

Consistently coming back into your body can have a cumulative stress-reducing effect.

Let me know how you go.


If you are facing life challenges and would like some 1:1 support to be heard and find mindfulness- and evidence-based practices that may help, I’d be honoured to hold the space for you.

1-to-1 Meditation & Stress Reduction

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