Though it may feel counter-intuitive, the best thing we can do when driven by stress is to STOP. Stopping helps us to see more clearly how we are engaging with any task, whether we are bringing to it states of worry, frenzy, tension or a quality of calmness and ease. What is important is not so much the task itself but ‘how’ we are engaging with it. Stopping a few times a day, even for just a few moments, proves to be enormously helpful in mitigating the negative effects of stress.
Enjoy this short experiment:
S = STOP
Stop whatever you are doing, stepping out
of the ‘doing’ mode.
T = TAKE
Take a few longer breaths. If it helps, you can say silently the words ‘in’ with the inhalation and ‘out’ with the exhalation.
O = OBSERVE
Observe with curiosity: what thoughts, feelings or emotions are present and how are they being expressed in your body? Notice your posture: are you sitting or standing? Naming what is happening and becoming aware of your body can already help you to shift gear. You may notice that your thoughts are not facts; they simply arise and pass moment by moment. Rest for a moment in this flow of awareness.
P = PROCEED
Having taken stock of how you are doing, is there anything you need to support yourself in this moment? Do you need a break? Can you carry on with greater ease?