Over Emotion and the STOP Skill

Over Emotion – Identifying the Adrenaline Crash

When our bodies have all of the right biochemicals and our brains have the right neurotransmitter levels, we are a wonder of nature. Unlike other animals, we take in not only our surroundings, but also anticipate the future, guess at areas beyond our senses and make wise decisions that improve our lives. When our bodies biochemistry and neurotransmitters are out, we will often compensate with adrenaline. When the adrenaline runs out, we uses strong emotions to force our body to create new resources to keep going, which outside of a genuine emergency can be a problem.

The STOP Skill

The STOP Skill helps us to not take actions that we will later regret.

S – Slow down; the feeling of urgency in the absence of direct threat are an illusion

T – Take stock; food you take your medication, are you hungry, are you pushing too hard, do you need to sleep, do you need to change the ambient stimulation (more stimulation or less), do you need some caffeine / nicotine? Once you’ve identified what is good for your biology, do it.

O – Orientation; Now that you know the emotions are an illusion, and you have looked at the biological needs to address your neurotransmitters, what do you need to actually do now, biasing against the illusory emotions? What is presently important? Do you need to get back to that assignment, finish the project, take a bit of time out, negotiate for a few minutes, do some vigorous exercise etc. Ruminating isn’t part of the deal, if you really want to explore those thoughts, write down a brief paragraph note and talk to your therapist/bestie later about it.

P – Proceed Intentionally; It is easy to feel like you just *have* to do something that makes little objective sense. Ideally you have a Wellness Plan for this situation, follow those steps. If not, safely address the biological need, take a moment to recover your senses, then continue on with what you should have been doing if reasonable, or make a new plan when you’ve got your thinking back.

Wellness Plan: If you have a Wellness Plan [Link], build the smart decisions into it.

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