You have heard it a million times – breathe, focus on one task and reflect in solitude. Its great advice, but we often fail to remember or apply any of it when we hits those moments of simply feeling buried by all that life, work and family may be pouring on. I was taught a very simple and easy to remember method to use when feeling overwhelmed. We can use this technique to help us focus on one thing at a time. Its simply called STOP!
STOP – Interrupt your mental chatter with the command ‘stop!’ and pause whatever you’re doing.
TAKE A BREATH -Notice your breathing for a second. Breathe in slowly through the nose, expanding the belly, and exhale slowly out of your mouth.
OBSERVE – Become the observer of your thoughts, emotions and physical reactions. What thoughts do you notice? What emotions do you feel? What does your body feel like? Think of this like a mini “focused meditation” moment.
PROCEED – Mindfully consider how you’d like to respond. What’s one thing you can focus on right now? What’s your most important and urgent priority in your current situation?
I know this method may seem trite or no big deal, but its power lies in our ability to summon the simple practices to the forefront or our thoughts in our overwhelming moments and put them into perspective. That is our practice and it will serve us well in our daily steps.
Peace and Love, Jim