STOP collaborate and listen up because today’s skills are important ones!
Lets starts with the STOP skill.
S – stop. stomp your foot on the ground to signal and say stop to yourself.
T – take a minute out of the situation and breathe.
O – observe what you’re thinking and feeling and what is happening around you.
P – proceed mindfully. What do you do next? Use your wise mind (mixture of emotional mind and rational mind to make the best decision).
I get stressed out doing uni work so I signal stop by tapping or slamming my foot on the floor and remove myself from the situation if possible. I will leave a lecture, push my wheelie chair away from the computer or flop on my bed if working at home.
I will concentrate and breathe mindfully until I can think straight. (and if I still can’t will use week 3’s distract by techniques).
Then I will notice my body, my thoughts and my emotions. Accept them and think about what maybe I should be thinking and feeling. If people are around I look around and think about what they’re doing and how they’re coping with situation.
Finally, I proceed mindfully – making a wise mind decision. Take a break? Carry on? Or stop entirely? My choice and none of them are the wrong one.
Perfect to use before a crisis begins but here is some advice if you’re already in a crisis.
IF YOU HAVE A HEART OR OTHER HEALTH CONDITION CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING T OR I.
T – Temperature.
You can cause the “diving effect” and essentially reset your brain my putting your face in cold water. It slows down your heart and the blood flow to your brain so you can “think straight” again and calms anxiety. I use it a lot in times of crisis and find it very helpful. IF shoving your face in cold water isn’t your thing, put a cold flannel on your face or ice under your eyes and on the inner side of your wrists. This has a similar effect though not as strong.
I – Intense Exercise.
(If you used exercise as part of an eating disorder and still cannot exercise in moderation)
This can be a really good technique because it gets your heart pumping for a purpose rather than because of anxiety or whatever it is that is causing your crisis. Walking, jogging, dramatically dancing – it all works in a short burst. Do it mindfully so you’re only concentrating on your movement for full effect.
P – Paced Breathing.
My favourite is castle breathing. Imagine the top of a tower of a castle that it completely flat. Breathe in two seconds and watch the brick build up. Hold for two seconds and watch it level out. Then breathe out for two seconds and watch it go back down. Then hold again and repeat. It is super effective especially if you’re able to visualise the castle.
P – Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
Starting from the bottom (now we’re here) of your body, tense your muscles and relax them in turn. Do this mindfully for full effect, really feel the difference between tensed and relaxed muscles. It can help to take away some of the aches crisis’ cause and relax your chest to make breathing easier. I highly recommend.
That’s my advice as to what to do in a crisis – DBT style. If you have any questions or comments do leave them below. I’ve been paperchains, you’ve been you. x