When we are stressed or anxious we often can’t help but make matters worse by letting our minds get a hold of us and spiral into negative thinking (which only feeds the stress cycle), or even escalate into an argument with a co-worker. One way to control this is to S.T.O.P., a mindfulness technique that helps you calm down.
Stop: Catch yourself before you react (or say or do something you might regret). It is simply a pause before you react. Say to yourself “stop” and go to the next step.
Take a Breath: We may not realize that we hold our breath when stressed. So take a deep breath when a stressful situation happens. This will give you a few more seconds to center yourself.
Observe: Instead of listening to the chatter in your head, or thinking about your rebuttal to the person you are talking to, pay attention to your body sensations. How do you feel? Where is the tension? Are you clenching your jaw? Yes, you are feeling stressed and angry, but are you also feeling insecure, afraid, threatened?
Proceed: Now you can answer the person, or write the email, or use some of the other techniques to reduce your stress outlined in THIS article.