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STOPP – Thought Stopping

If you learn only one skill that will help you to more effectively regulate your emotions, this should be the one you learn, taken from Dialectal Behavior Therapy. Learning how to pause in between an intense emotional reaction and your ensuing actions is one of the most valuable and life-changing skills that a person can have. Practice STOPPing, and you will be in a great position to manage your most difficult emotions.


  • S – Stop!
    • Just pause for a moment.
  • T – Take a Breath
    • Notice your breathing as you breathe in and out.
  • O – Observe
    • What thoughts are going through your mind right now?
    • Where is your focus of attention?
    • What are you reacting to?
    • What sensations do you notice in your body?
  • P – Pull Back – Put in Some Perspective
    • What’s the bigger picture? Take the helicopter view;
    • What is another way of looking at this situation?
    • What would a trusted friend say to me right now?
    • Is this thought a fact or an opinion?
    • What is a more reasonable explanation?
    • How important is this? How important will it be in 6 months’ time?
  • P – Practice What Works – Proceed
    • What is the best thing to do right now? For me? For others? For the situation?
    • What can I do that fits with my values?
    • Do what will be effective and appropriate

(Vivyan, 2015).


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