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  • Writer's pictureKate Hubert


While I have several tools for bringing my wandering mind back to the present moment and nipping any rising panic or anxiety in the bud, STOP is my first choice.

S – Stop!

T - Take a breath

O - Observe and name 6 things around you

P - Proceed

STOP is effective and it’s easy to remember.

When I’m driving, I use traffic lights, or a stop sign, as a reminder to STOP and be present.

I take a breath, notice 6 things and proceed.

A stop light or sign is an obvious reminder; however, you can use whatever works for you, every time you have a glass of water, a cup of tea or wash your hands.

The more I practice the easier it becomes.

I use STOP when:

· I start to feel overwhelmed, stressed or rushed

· I’m overthinking

· I need to slow down

Doing this, naming 6 things that I can see or feel, reengages the frontal cortex and moves my focus away from the flight/flight response.

I also use STOP in my formal seated meditation practice.

When my mind is very turbulent with thoughts that suck me in like quicksand, I close my eyes, focus on my breath and name 6 things I can feel, hear and smell around me. I might do this 3 or 4 times and that is my formal practice.

This is an excellent way to sit quietly for 5 or 10 minutes and just be present.

It’s easy and simple to do, I can anywhere, anytime and no one even knows that I’m doing it.

Image courtesy Nick Fewings - Unsplash

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