Karen Darrin

Two weeks ago, I discussed resilience (article) and referenced Reivich and Shatté’s book, The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles. They define resilience as a compilation of seven measurable factors:

  1. Emotional regulation. The ability to stay calm under pressure, and be aware of emotions and be able to manage them.
  2. Impulse control. The ability to shut out distraction and restrain immediate reactions.
  3. Causal analysis. The ability to comprehensively and accurately identify the causes of a problem.
  4. Self-efficacy. The ability to convey ideas and solutions in an assured manner.
  5. Realistic optimism. The belief that things can change for the better is important, yet contrary to popular belief, resilience lies in accurate thinking – not positive thinking.
  6. Empathy. The ability to read and understand others.
  7. Reaching out. The ability to seek out new opportunities, challenges and relationships.

The first factor, emotional regulation, comes up often for my clients. How can we can learn and practice keeping calm under pressure, notice our emotions and actually manage them? We’d all like that “magic wand.”

Bad news is there is no magic wand for remaining calm throughout the ups and downs of life. However, there is good news. You can develop skills to keep your emotions in check and express them in a healthy way, at a more appropriate time and place.

How do you do this? Consider learning how to STOPP (Vivyan, 2015). STOPP is a strategy that will help you in the heat of the moment, when you are dealing with intense emotions.

STOPP Method:
  • 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 – 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 opinion?
    • What is a more reasonable explanation?
    • How important is this? How important will it be in 6 months’ time?
  • P – Proceed
    • What is the best thing to do right now?
    • Best for me, for others, for the situation?
    • What can I do that fits with my values?
    • Do what will be effective and appropriate.

If you learn only one skill that will help you to more effectively regulate your emotions, this should be the one you learn. 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 you can have.

For videos, worksheets and more information about STOPP, click here: STOPP Info.

CALL TO ACTION:  Would you like to become more resilient? Let’s brainstorm strategies together. Schedule a Free 30-min Consult or email me at karen@karendarrin.com.

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