Monday, January 30, 2012

Some days we just need to STOP!

Most of us are doers.  We rush from project to project, challenge to challenge - doing things for everyone else, often forgetting to do for the most important person in the equation: ourselves.
We are wives, mothers, girlfriends, teachers, nurturers, fixers, chauffeurs and the like. 

The sense of accomplishment is grand.  But, aren't there times when you feel like your head is in a vise, and you are running just to keep up with yourself?  Do you ever feel like the hamster on his wheel?  Do you feel your blood pressure raise as you try to do all and be all?  I have one word of advice: STOP.

This practical word can be a lifesaver for you.  Let me give you some tips on how to use it.

If you find yourself in a quandary, or an argument (even with yourself), or just spinning your wheels: STOP:

S = Stop.  Just stop what you are doing.  Catch your breath. Take a deep breath.  Feel the sudden sensation of peace when you allow yourself to just STOP.

T = Think.  Think about what the heck is going on.  Invoke the Serenity prayer: are you trying to change things over which you have no control?  Do you need courage (or help) changing things you can change? And do you have the wisdom to know the difference? Think: is this (fill in the blank) serving my greater good?  What would happen if I just let it go?  Would the sun come up tomorrow? Would the world continue to spin on its orbit?  Am I making much ado about nothing?  Or is it truly something within my power to change? If so, begin thinking how you can effectuate the change.  How you can be the change you want to see?

O = Opportunity.  Find the opportunity in the challenge.  Every challenge presents us with an opportunity to learn or to grow.  What is the opportunity in your current challenge?  What is it trying to teach you?  Embrace each challenge as your teacher.   Note: I didn't say summon challenges.  Just embrace the ones that seem to find you. 

P= Proceed.   Once you have taken a time out with STOP, savored the cleansing breaths, thought about what is really going on, found the opportunity or the way to make it a win/win situation, then proceed with your plan. 

Does this help?

There are other uses for STOP besides the acronym.

Some days it seems as if everything you do goes wrong.  After a series of frustrating snafus, invoke the STOP word and just go sit down, maybe with a cup of tea or glass of water.  Take a STOP break just to refresh and renew.  Maybe a walk around the block? Or just a few moments to put your feet up? Or take a play break with your dogs.  Then, go back to your day and start over.   Most of the times, this shift in energy is enough to turn the day into a productive one, rather than one filled with frustrations.

Sometimes we need to keep moving and literally cannot STOP.  By way of example, I am a trauma chaplain and respond to any Code Blues in the hospital.  There are times when I am called away from another heart breaking situation to respond to a Code and as I am speed walking to the Code, when I find my heart racing and my mind spinning, I invoke the STOP command.  I am still walking, but by invoking STOP, I take some deep cleansing breaths; I call on my Spirit Guides (or God, or higher power) to walk with me; I tell myself that I am where I should be; I am calm, I am safe, I am (fill in the blank).  And by taking this mini STOP break while walking, I can arrive at the Code mentally prepared to give 100% to the new family.

If we find ourselves saying something mean spirited: invoke STOP.  We are our thoughts.  Change the thought to something loving or kind.

If we are listening to something upsetting, either on television, or via another person: invoke STOP.  We absorb what we hear.  Tell your friend you choose not to have this discussion; turn off the television or radio.  Breathe in a positive or uplifting thought.  In other words - change your internal channel.

If we find ourselves reaching for food or drink with chemicals or toxins that can stress our body: invoke STOP.  Find a healthy, plant based snack.

Think of ways you can use STOP in your day.    It is a free, easy, yet absolutely powerful tool to have in your Life's Tool Box.

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