This technique allows us to gain distance between intrusive thoughts and distressing emotions, reduce the physical reaction during highly stressful times, and helps us to find calm by thinking more rationally. Say it to yourself, in your head, as soon as you notice your mind and/or your body reacting to a trigger. The earlier you use STOPP, the easier and more effective it will be.
Many therapists call this technique "CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) in a nutshell" It’s a mindfulness skill that’s quite simple to do (in theory), and helps those struggling with anxiety, overwhelm, negative thoughts or rumination.
STOPP stands for:
Stop - pause and take a moment to stop what you are doing when you notice intrusive or negative thoughts, fear, anxiety or overwhelm.
Take a few deep breaths, concentrating on your breathing in and out, as this will help calm you. Can you take yourself away from the trigger to collect yourself?
Observe what is going on - emotions that have arisen, any sensations, thoughts, your reactions and where your focus lies. Notice what is happening within you and around you, as this helps you to be mindful and feel grounded.
Perspective is all about challenging what you have observed. What is another way of looking at this situation? What is the bigger picture? Is this thought a fact or opinion? What would you tell someone else who was experiencing this? Is this reality?
Practise! Choose a helpful and effective way to respond to the situation, considering what would be most beneficial for you.As with anything the more you practise the better you will get at it, and the easier you will fall into this should you find yourself struggling again. Next time you find your mind whirling, give this a go and see if you can't calm it down and think more clearly.
How does this help with manifestation? The STOPP technique can be used to reduce anxiety, manage stress, and promote healthier thought patterns. It encourages individuals to take a step back, assess their situation, and respond in a more mindful and constructive manner. Manifestation typically involves setting clear goals, visualising the desired outcome, affirming positive statements, and taking inspired action towards your goals. The idea is that by aligning your thoughts, emotions, and actions with your desired outcome, you can attract and create the reality you desire. So it goes without saying that if you have a lot of doubt or negative thoughts about yourself, you may find it more difficult to think in a way that will align you with your chosen manifestation goal.
Feel free to use the worksheet below to practise this technique.