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STOP Reacting in Anger

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

Every emotion we experience is associated with an urge to act on it. Anger elicits a fight response; sadness an urge to isolate; happiness the urge to smile. Sometimes these urges can be effective in the moment. That's why you are built with them! However, many times these urges can be ineffective, unhelpful and even damaging to yourself and relationships with others.


Have you ever felt like you go from 0-100 in seconds? Reacting before you even have time to make sense of what is triggering you? Would you love to know a simple skill that could actually put some space between your urge and when you respond?




STOP Skill for Anger

In DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy); a model of therapy focused on being intentionally present, tolerating uncomfortable emotions, regulating emotions and communicating effectively in our relationships, there is a skill called the STOP skill. And guess what? This skill helps you take the time to determine whether your reaction makes sense, and if it will move you closer to the person you want to show up as, or further away. STOP is an acronym and each step must precede the others.


S - Stop; Freeze; Don't move or react.

T - Take a step back: try seeing things from an alternative perspective. Take a deep breath; leave the situation to receive clarity.

O - Observe: what's happening externally and internally

P - Proceed mindfully in a way that aligns with your values


Putting it Into Action


Now that you know the skill, all you need to do is apply it. Start by noticing when you are becoming emotionally charged and then use each step of the skill! Accessing therapy sessions can be a great way to further explore this skill and discuss how it can play an integral role in your life and ability to regulate your emotions and choose effective responses. STOP reacting in anger, and start responding with intention!





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