The simple definition of stop therapy is:
stop doing the thing that is not serving your physical or mental health
Just stop doing bad stuff. It sounds obvious really.
I think I can safely assume you don’t go around literally hitting your head against a brick wall. You know it’s not good for you, you don’t do it and you don’t need to be told to stop it. But what if you are doing things that aren’t good for you, either because you don’t realise it or because you justify it to yourself in some way?
With the proliferation of advice from marketers, influencers and experts of varying legitimacy it is very easy to get swept up in all the things you think you should be doing to improve your health or make you a “better” person. You end up overloaded with expectations, goals, challenges and promises to yourself and others. Maybe you are taking on these things in an effort to compensate for other areas in your life that you’re (consciously or subconsciously) not comfortable with. Does that sound familiar?
All your focus is on the things you think you “should be doing” for your physical or mental health, relationships, careers etc and maybe you overlook some of the things you could just stop. And perhaps stopping something is actually easier than trying to add more and more stuff into your day.
And yes, I see the irony in me advising you about this (another “expert” telling you what to do) but maybe the time is right to take a different approach. It’s up to you.
Why is stop therapy important?
Many people are attempting to be more health-conscious these days. If you are reading this blog, then you are likely one of them. Perhaps you just do a couple of things like adding an extra serving of vegies into your day or doing a yoga class when you can. Maybe you go all out and try every new “superfood” or health fad that comes along. Perhaps you love a good health “program”, do “cleanses” on a regular basis, go to health spas when you can and generally invest a lot of time and money in your health. If that is you, and you feel great for it then good on you. Keep up the good work!
As I see it, the problem arises when you continue to load yourself up with all these good ideas, foods, supplements, intentions, goals, plans etc etc.
Sometimes it is to the point of unsustainable overwhelm (physically and/or financially). Eventually, trying to keep all those plates spinning becomes an impossible task and so you crash, give up and maybe feel bad about it.
But it’s not your fault. You were trying to do the impossible!
Instead of loading yourself up with all those things you think you should be doing, perhaps you might be better off starting with a bit of stop therapy. Maybe your health would be better served. What if you released the pressure valve that is the endless quest for the one food, supplement, drug, diet, program or exercise that you hope will change your life and solve all your health issues? Perhaps, instead, change your focus to stopping some of the bad stuff.
Maybe you wouldn’t need all those extra things if you just practised some stop therapy and gave up the choices that aren’t working for you.
Before you sign up to a new program or order more supplements online or start a new drug to suppress a symptom, ask yourself:
Are there any things I could just stop first?
Sometimes, the thing you know you need to stop is quite obvious.
It might be:
- Soft drinks (diet or otherwise)
- Late nights
- A reliance on takeaway junk food
- Snacking on biscuits or lollies or chips
- Daily alcohol or weekend binging
- Recreational drugs
- Sugar in your coffee/tea
- Spending time on programs or apps that end up making you feel bad about yourself
- Too much screen time generally
If one or more of these things applies to you, I’m guessing you don’t need to be told they aren’t serving you.
What if you stopped (maybe not cold-turkey, but in a planned way)?
You might just find you don’t need to keep searching for that elusive thing that will “fix” your problems.
Sometimes, the thing you would benefit from stopping is less obvious. It could be:
- Doing a job you hate
- Spending time with people whose company you don’t enjoy
- Saying yes to every invitation for fear of missing out
- Saying yes generally for fear of offending someone
- Putting up resistance to every new idea or opportunity without giving it a try
- Rushing around from one thing to the next with no downtime
- Putting yourself last
I have had many a client whose health has improved when they have changed jobs, said goodbye to a toxic relationship or started carving out some time for themselves.
What else would you add to that list? Is there something that, if you stopped, you know you would feel better for it?
Is stop therapy for you?
I don’t always advocate stop therapy. Often I prefer to add things in and let the bad stuff just get crowded out. For example, adding protein to your meals may see your desire for sweet foods decrease. However, for some, it is the stopping of stuff that isn’t serving you that is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself.
Maybe you would find it easy to stop or maybe it would be difficult, uncomfortable or challenging. It may take more than one attempt and you might need some help coming up with strategies and tools to make those changes. That’s where naturopathy and health coaching can help.
I can’t lay claim to the term “stop therapy”. It comes from one of my naturopathy lecturers when I was completing my degree. But I recommend it frequently when I am working with my naturopathy clients. Stop therapy is a simple but valuable concept to practise.
Stop therapy could just be the thing you need to do in order to get the long term, sustained improvement in your health that you seek (without chasing the elusive magic bullet).