Anger Management Spotlight: S.T.O.P. Method Checklist
By Bunny Young, MA, QMHP
The anger and frustration you feel in your relationships is a sign that something MUST change. If not, the consequences can range from: loss of friends, family and maybe even your freedom. Many times, you do not know how bad the consequences of your actions are, until it is too late. You can make a change and we can show you how to take control of these destructive emotions.
In our Anger Management Groups, we teach a method to help individuals cope with their feelings of anger and slow down long enough to make a good choice with their actions. It allows us to determine if our emotion is genuine and necessary as well as how to best respond. Sometimes individuals need to practice it a few times before it becomes second nature, but this tool is one that is worth its weight in gold. It is called the S.T.O.P. Method.
The S.T.O.P. Method
S: Stands for STOP. Quite simple huh? Well the first step is just that simple. Stop yourself and your thinking. Take a moment to breathe and then move to step 2.
T: Stands for Think. Filer out the other noise and really think through what is happening. Ask yourself, what am I feeling? What am I hearing? What am I experiencing right now?
O: Stands for Objectify. Once you have thought through all of the input now you can organize and objectify that information. This still is not making a plan to take action. We are just taking the information that you have now observed and decipher why it is happening in this way. Are you hungry and that is why this is happening? Did not sleep as much last night? This is your opportunity to reason through your current state.
P: Stands for Plan. Now that you have slowed down, thought about this situation, and objectified the reasons that this is happening, you are now ready to respond with a plan that will best serve you rather than a reaction that might have made the situation worse.
Here is an example of the STOP method at work. You are sitting in traffic at 530 pm and you are late for family dinner. It is the end of the month and you’re not quite at your quota at work. Someone cuts you off and you go through the roof. Before you lay on the horn, cuss them out, and rage follow them, let’s STOP. First you stop, and take a deep breath. Now you think about the things we discussed. You feel hungry, and you can hear your boss going over the numbers tomorrow at the morning meeting. There is a song playing on the radio that you despise. You are running late and you feel warm. Now objectify. You are probably cranky because of work. And since you are behind on your numbers, you skipped lunch making it even worse now that you are late for dinner. The person who came over into your lane late is not the one to blame, YOU are. Finally, you plan. You turn the radio to another station, roll down the window and get some air. Call you family and say you will be there when you can, and crack into a protein bar you had stashed away. Now, you are feeling better.
Practice the S.T.O.P. method in your own life and see what results it brings for you! Want to learn more ways to cope with your anger? Read more here.