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The mission of Holding Space Practice is to teach people life-changing principles and practices that transform emotional suffering into personal resiliency and empowerment.

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May 17, 20232 min read

hold space

" Between stimulus and response is our greatest power—the freedom to choose." -Stephen Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989)

holding space

Module 5


Back in the late 1990s, I remember someone telling me about Stephen Covey and his "7 Habits" book. I started to read...and read...and read. I wanted to internalize those habits.

One of the ideas that never left me was the idea about "the gap" In Covey's words:

“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

Researching to find this quote, I discovered he may have been based this idea on an article written in 1963, “Freedom and Responsibility Re-Examined” authored by the psychologist Rollo May. I like this nuance:

"I would define mental health as the capacity to be aware of the gap between stimulus and response, together with the capacity to use this gap constructively."

For years I have tried to "mind the gap" with varying degrees of success. What can help to create the habit to STOP and think before we respond?

HSP mentors brainstormed and came up with the acronym S.T.O.P. Watch the video to learn what it stands for and how it can help you pause long enough to remember to be curious and let your objective observer have time to respond.

Thoughts on the Acronym S.T.O.P:

S.T.O.P. between stimulus and response

Slow down= awareness that you just experienced a stressor and CAN choose a response.

Shift= notice your physical body. Shift it. If you have tight muscles, loosen them. If you are frozen, move. If you are standing, consider sitting. If you are sitting, consider standing.

T= Take a breath. When you take one conscious breath, everything changes.

O= Observe. Notice your 5 senses. What do you hear, see, smell, taste? Notice what your hands and feet are touching and FEEL where they are and what they are doing.

P=Prayer. Choose an upward thought toward God, your Higher self, a good mentor or role model and think about what that person would choose in this situation.


CuriosityGently NoticeChooseSTOP
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Carol Webster

Fascinated by how the mind learns and it's role in our quality of life, Carol has spent decades exploring how to create health, happiness, build emotional maturity and expand love. She is the founder of Principle Based Learning and Holding Space Practice.

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