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STOP to Reduce Stress

The STOP technique is an effective mindful practice to reduce stress. Do the STOP practice for about a minute or two during the day, especially before or after a stressful time. Stop or slow what you are doing. Take some slow, deep belly breaths.  Inhale to a count of six and exhale slowly to six.  Breathe normally a few times and then repeat the six-count breathing.  Do this for a few cycles.  Observe what you are feeling in your body while deeply breathing. Are your muscles relaxed? Take note of your thoughts; invite calm. Proceed with what you were doing. Deep breathing stimulates your vagus nerve, which triggers the release of calming chemicals.

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