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.
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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.