This STOPP tool is one of the easiest ways to begin to teach yourself how to respond to your tinnitus differently: how to train your brain into understanding your tinnitus is not the danger at first seemed. It's a tool that you'll need to work hard at using and is particularly helpful if you find yourself in a loop of negative thinking. You use it to interrupt your unhelpful response and thoughts and reframe them in order to improve your tinnitus.
Let's begin with S: Stop. You can't just stop what you're thinking, as I'm sure you've discovered. That's impossible. But you can stop what you're doing and notice what you're thinking, how you're reacting. What's your body doing? How are you currently responding to the situation? Are you finding your response helpful? If not, you can say to yourself, 'Stop'. And then go through the rest of this tool to help you replace that negative response with a more helpful one.
So next, T.
Take a deep breath slowly in through your nose for five counts.
Let's try it now.
And then out through your mouth for seven counts.
You can think of this step as 'take time', as you breathe deeply for as long as you like, but just one breath will make a difference and begin the process of allowing your mind to recognize that you're not in danger.
The following step is, O- Observe.
This is where you can use your observer self, to observe how you're reacting and responding to the situation you're in. You're taking a step out of yourself to do this if you can. Perhaps you can observe yourself like a character in a TV program, or talk about your response like a narrator in a book. As you observe yourself, what do you notice? Try not to judge yourself at this stage. You're neutral. You're just understanding your response. Not deciding that something about it is good or bad.
And then that allows you to do P.