Tis the season when many of us feel rushed, overwhelmed and stressed out!
Here is a short mindfulness practice that is quick and easy to use. No special equipment needed! Fittingly, it uses the acronym STOP and can be practiced as many times per day as needed.
It is very useful anytime you notice worried thoughts about projected future experiences or feel your body tense up with stress.
S: Stop, pausing from the rush of activity.
T: Take a breath (or two or three)
O: Observe your experience of physical sensations, thoughts and emotions, and if you’d like, open next to a wider field of awareness (e.g sounds, sights).
P: Proceed, or pause again, connecting with your present moment experience.
There can also be many joyful experiences to show up for during the holiday season: a child’s excitement on Christmas morning, the beauty of lights adorning neighbors’ homes and yards, or the warmth and deliciousness of a hot cup of cocoa (or gingerbread latte). Practice STOP to help you show up for and soak in these experiences!
[Source: A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and co-authored by Bob Stahl Ph.D. and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. (New Harbinger, 2010).
Rebecca Smith McCracken, PHD is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Discovery Counseling and Consulting