The Skill of Shift and Stay

Use this skill if you get bumped out of your Resilient Zone as you go about your daily life.

Shift and Stay means shifting your attention from something unpleasant or distressing that can include thoughts, feelings, or sensations to a place in the body that is neutral or pleasant and staying with those sensations.

You shift your attention to:

  1. a place inside that feels neutral or more comfortable
  2. a resource
  3. grounding to bring your attention to the present moment
  4. a gesture that is self-soothing

As you shift your attention by using one of these methods, notice what happens inside and track the sensations that are calmer, neutral, or more pleasant.

Shift and Stay Exercise

If you are noticing some distress or discomfort, you can use one or all of the following skills to Shift and Stay:

  1. As you notice what happens inside, bring your attention to a place in your body that is neutral, calmer, or has less unpleasant sensations. Bring your attention to the changes and notice the difference, and/or
  2. You can shift your awareness by remembering one of your resources. Pick one and notice as many details as you can about the resource. As you do so, bring your awareness to the sensations connected to your resource that are calmer and more pleasant. Stay with that and take your time, and/or
  3. Bring your attention to how your body is being supported in the present moment, or you can bring attention to how a part of your body like your arm or hand and how it is making contact with a hard surface. As you bring your attention to the present moment, notice the sensations that are more pleasant or neutral, and/or
  4. Bring your attention to a gesture or movement that is calming and self-soothing. Bring your attention to the sensations that are more pleasant or neutral on the inside.

Whichever one or all of the methods that we have discussed, continue bringing your attention away from the distress and be aware of the changes in your heart rate, breathing, and muscle relaxation that are calmer or more pleasant and stay there.

To bring this exercise to a close, bring your attention to your whole body and track all the pleasant or neutral changes. Take your time. When you are ready, bring your attention back to the room or space you are in.