“Creating space in the day to stop, come down from the worried mind, and get back into the present moment has been shown to be enormously helpful in mitigating the negative effects of our stress response,” Elisha Goldstein writes in Mindful magazine. “When we drop into the present, we’re more likely to gain perspective and see that we have the power to regulate our response to pressure.”
In the video below, Goldstein goes through a short practice you can weave into your day to step into that space between stimulus and response.
1. Stop: Get comfortable in the position you’re in, almost as if you’re relaxing into this moment.
2. Breathe: Take a few deep breaths, and as you’re taking these breaths, see if you can pay attention to the sensation of the breath coming in and the sensation of the breath going out as if this was the first time you’ve ever noticed this breath before.
3. Observe: Begin to observe your experience right now in this moment. This includes your body, your emotions, and your thoughts. Beginning with the body, notice the position of your body and gently scan the body to notice any sensations that are there, being aware of any emotions that are present, too—if there’s a sense of calm or restlessness, or neutral emotion of some kind. Become aware of if the mind is able to focus in this moment, or if it’s off distracted in the future, or the past. If need be, gently guide the mind back to this moment.
4. Proceed: As we proceed we want to ask ourselves the question: What’s most important right now to pay attention to? And whatever comes up in your mind, that’s what you’ll continue with.
Check out “Stressing Out? S.T.O.P.” from the August 2013 issue of Mindful magazine.
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