The Mindful Pause: Elisha Goldstein says “S.T.O.P.”

Elisha Goldstein is a well-known psychologist and speaker who believes that mindfulness can be learned by anyone, and has a series of guided meditation videos that help people get into a mindful place quickly and easily. The author of highly regarded The Now Effect, Goldstein has come up with a simple way to engage in mindfulness in everyday situations. His acronym, S.T.O.P., is an easy to remember way to create a mindful pause that can disconnect us from old habits and conditioning that can hijack our well-being. I’ve slightly modified his explanations for each (which were posted on the psych blog recently).  

Stop…whatever you’re thinking about/doing.
Take…a few deep breaths (think “in” and “out” for each breath
Observe…where you’re starting this moment from, physically, emotionally, and mentally
Proceed…with what actually matters–what’s really important to  you?

Goldstein’s practices seem to be very much based on the Vipassana Buddhist practice, where in mindfulness of the body, including body scans, breath meditation, and focus are the keys. Here are a few of his guided meditation videos from the book The Now Effect:

These are great videos for people just starting out in mindful practice, and should probably be done in conjunction with his book The NOW Effect.  According to Dr. Goldstein’s website, he’s working to bring mindfulness work to youth:

“…Dr. Goldstein has also co-developed the popularCALM (Connecting Adolescents to Learning Mindfulness) program with his wife and psychologist Stefanie Goldstein, Ph.D. CALM is an 8-week program for teenagers 14-18 years old inspired by Jon Kabat-Zinn’s extensively researched Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program.”

W.A.I.T. Another great acronym for “re-minding” one’s self to be mindful is W.A.I.T. — Why Am I Talking? What is the true purpose of what I’m saying (to myself or to others)? Is it helpful and kind or does it cause suffering and pain? Does it contribute to well-being, or is it a conditioned response to feed my ego and prove that I have worth. Asking yourself  why you’re actually saying something is a great way to stop and check in with what you’re doing in that moment.

Yours in Mental Hygiene,

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The Ancient Brain and Modern Mindfulness

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