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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