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Just S.T.O.P. to help manage your emotions

There are a number of stressors in our lives that we have to deal with every day. In order to prevent a situation from becoming too overwhelming, just remember to S.T.O.P.


Distress tolerance is the ability to manage your emotional response to a stressor and help return you to a state of equilibrium. Dialectical Behavior Therapy utilizes the S.T.O.P. skill in order to do this:

  • Stop: literally stop! Your emotions may cause you to act impulsively. Stay in control.

  • Take a step back: take a deep breath. Give yourself a chance to calm down and think rationally about what to do next.

  • Observe: notice what is happening in your mind and body. Are your thoughts racing? Do you feel your blood pressure rising? What are others around you doing or saying? This will help you plan your next step with all of the available information.

  • Proceed Mindfully: be aware and consciously think about your reaction. What goal do you have for this situation? Will your reaction help achieve this goal? Or, make it harder?

The S.T.O.P. skill is very useful in the heat of the moment. It will help you be more effective, no matter the situation.

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