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STOP #WednesdayWisdom

by Vidya Sury May 23, 2018 10 comments
STOP mindfulness meditation technique #WednesdayWisdom #Mindfulness

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Viktor E. Frankl

So the blogging world is getting its underwear in a twist over the GDPR legislation that comes into force from 25 May 2018.

While the level of confusion varies, everyone is distressed and stressed with thoughts ranging from “do I need to comply” to “am I compliant yet”; then there are various levels of experts offering tidbits of advice often leading to more frowns than smiles.

I confess I got into a tizzy over it—what with six blogs to deal with and a lazy internet connection—but decided to step back, breathe. Then I made a checklist of essentials and set about tackling each item on the list. We do tend to complicate more than simplify.

So I thought, instead of the usual Wednesday Wisdom story, why not bring you a nice mindfulness technique that will make life look a lot better and also calm you down, leading to happier perspectives. The idea is to respond mindfully to the things that stress you out—rather than react impulsively.

Life is full of triggers that set off our irritation—for parents it could be children getting on their nerves; if you’re driving somewhere it could be that so-and-so who bumps into you; or you’ve been told off at work and you feel rage building up…or maybe you’re super-frustrated with the GDPR compliance thing.

Whatever it is, I say, breathe. This too shall pass, like everything else. No need to get worked up. It’s a waste of energy.

The STOP mindfulness meditation technique is a wonderful 4-step mindfulness meditation sequence that anyone can practice anywhere, especially when faced by a tough or challenging situation. Do teach it to your children—it can help them tremendously.

STOP mindfulness meditation technique #mindfulness #WednesdayWIsdom

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Start by telling yourself to STOP!

Take a moment to be fully present in the moment. The idea is to pause before you react. Someone getting on your nerves? Stop. Criticism from a colleague? Stop. Someone in traffic yelling at you? Stop. Breathe. Step back from what you’re doing.

T for take a deep breath (or two)

Consciously slow down and take deep breaths. Easiest way to do it is just close your eyes and inhale, exhale, taking longer than usual—a few seconds more. When you do this, your nervous system responds by calming down. This helps you think clearly.  As you take a deep breath, it grounds you in the moment, helping you relax.  Breathing also gives you the time to pause before you impulsively react. Take as much time as you need to calm down.

O for Observe

Rather than join that crazy committee in your head that’s telling you you’re right and “they” are wrong, be objective. Break the habit. Stand back. Observe your thoughts. Observe your body—how you feel, how you’re breathing, the sounds you are hearing. Are your fists clenched? How’s your heart rate? Are you feeling hurt? In fact, take stock of everything in this present moment. When you understand it, you’ll find it easier to calm down. This brings clarity. Ponder on this truth: that you have the right answer for everything.

P for Proceed

Finally, proceed with intention. Do what you need to do. Or maybe do nothing. May just listen and wait. Maybe you just need to slow down and relax. Maybe you need a cup of coffee, or a glass of water. Sip it mindfully. Do something that will help you feel better.

It may be a good idea to consider how you want others to feel when they connect with you. It is easy to react in haste and regret it later. It is natural to want to retaliate sometimes. But do pause and breathe. Then do the right thing.

Described this way, the STOP method appears complex—and you’re probably thinking, who has the time to do this when you are stuck in a situation.

But believe me, when you start practicing it, you can achieve it in seconds. And it will become a habit.

Quite like when you get into traffic—where you stop, look, and proceed. This is similar to that. Start by being aware. Use that to create that space between the stimulus and your reaction. In that space, may you grow and be free.

If there’s something bothering you right now–try STOP and let me know how it goes.

#WednesdayWisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, and humor.

I am not a lawyer, but feel free to contact me if you need friendly help for GDPR compliance for your blog.

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Ryan Biddulph May 24, 2018 at 1:32 am

I’m a watcher Vidya LOL! Perfect. Great to keep me mindful now and even better to keep me mindful with the mass fear of GDPR. Funny part for me; all the US bloggers going bonkers because they have like 2 European readers, yet I have no idea how the EU can actually enforce these fines with US banks, US authorities, Paypal, etc. Silly, right? Thanks for sharing my friend 🙂


Vidya Sury May 24, 2018 at 11:30 am

I know, Ryan! I tend to step back and observe before rushing into action, too–unless it is an emergency. Yeah-the GDPR is freaking everyone out. I feel a just a little sheepish about giving it so much time. Sigh. Thank you for your presence here today!

Nabanita Dhar May 24, 2018 at 11:15 am

I have so much on my plate today that I’m happy to read this. I’m going to implement these steps because there is no way I can get all that needs to be done, done by panicking!

Vidya Sury May 24, 2018 at 11:28 am

Hugs! This method really works, Naba! I wish you a day that is totally in your control!

Esha M Dutta May 24, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I do this, Vidya and it always always works! Thanks for sharing this for us all and I think we all need such reminders from time to time to get on with our daily goals that seem to stress us out all the time. Yes, GDPR did drive me into a tizzy too, but I’m taking it easy. Yet to work on my privacy policy over today and tomorrow. Have a great week ahead, Vidya.

Vinay Kumar Satyanarayan May 24, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Astute advice espeacially if you are in the traffic scenario…if everybody practices this STOP process that will be the end of road rage….

G Angela May 24, 2018 at 6:55 pm

This method is very useful vidya, and yes it works to calm down and helps us respond, instead of just reacting. Thanks for the reminder.

Rachna Parmar May 24, 2018 at 7:13 pm

I loved the technique you shared, Vidya. For me too, breathe deeply first works. Luckily for me I was away on vacation and hence missed the GDPR madness. When I got back, I read a couple of resources on the net and after finishing my pile of work for the day, managed to do the steps in under half an hour. Like you said, panicking does not help.

Have just sent out the newsletter permission again. The big issue is that most people will not open the email. I am also wondering that since almost 90% or more of my email subscribers are not based in EU, whether I should continue sending them newsletters. Will wait for more clarity on this. Rest all is well. A cup of coffee definitely helps. 🙂

Shailaja Vishwanath May 24, 2018 at 8:14 pm

This is exactly what I started doing with Gy and the yelling less challenge and it continues to work outside of that too. Not reacting has saved me from immeasurable heartburn 🙂

Such a lovely acronym and how well you explain it too 🙂

Also, I may be the only one who is just mildly amused by the GDPR frenzy and not stressed by it 😉

Ramya Abhinand May 25, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Phew! yes i need to constantly remind myself, ” this too shall pass”. And thats what I often fail in. in the spur of the moment, I get agitated and te=hen the negative mood . I must consciously tell myself to take things easy.


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