TIP: S.T.A.R.R. - STOP THINK ASSESS RESPOND REVIEW
by Dr. Carol Renaud Gaffney
Copyright Carol R. Gaffney, Ph.D. 2009
When you notice a situation that can cause difficulty, when you notice a feeling that usually leads to a problem, when your thoughts are negative and may be stinkin’ thinkin’, when you notice your hand movements, a grimace, a tightening of the eyes or body, when you hear words that indicate you’ve stepped into the problem, then:
STOP and take a breath, or two, or three. Breathe out, focus on the breath and breathing. Breathe out again (through your mouth). Breathe in through your nose. (This settles the system allowing an opportunity to switch from emotional flooding to thinking.) Keep breathing this way until your shoulders drop, your hands unclench or your mouth relaxes.
THINK about what you really want to happen. Think about your goal such as good self management. The more specific you are about the goal the easier it will be to visual and act on.
ASSESS yourself, the situation and the people you’re with. Ask yourself whether his is the best time to deal with the problem or whether you are at your best or whether you know enough about the other person to communicate effectively.
RESPOND rather than react with doing what you planned, listening, understanding, walking away from the situation until later, speaking softly or other actions you have previously decided to use when an opportunity for action occurs. When speaking use words like: time out, let’s think about this, I need a minute to think about this, we’re doing okay, stick to the plan, we can do it, can you help me to understand etc.
Unless you have decided ahead of time what to say or do when you get into a
stressful situation, you’ll probably react rather than respond. Respond gets easier with practice. Learn about yourself, your reactions, what you’d like to do instead of what you’ve done in the past and practice the words or actions that you need to use when certain situations occur.
Choose your action from what you have decided is right for the situation rather than from the flood of feeling that often drives behavior!!
REVIEW the outcome of your actions. What worked, what did not work, what will you refine, change, eliminate, add to the process?