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What is Shift and Stay and How to Practice It

What is Shift and Stay?Cartoon of a woman with arrows circling around her.

Shift and Stay is a skill you can use to change your thoughts and get back into your resilient zone.

In order to shift and stay, you have to use the other skills; tracking, resourcing, grounding and gesturing along with it. Using these other skills first helps you find more comfortable thoughts. Let’s refresh!

    • Tracking: Use your sensations to know how feel.
    • Resourcing: Find a resource that makes you feel better.
    • Grounding: Pay attention to your sensations. Move your body to get more comfortable.
    • Gesturing: Use gestures (movements) that make you feel calm, happy, and relaxed.

If you are thinking about something uncomfortable or difficult, SHIFT those bad thoughts to good ones. Find something that is “okay” or happy to think about. You may need to practice using the other resilient skills to find thoughts that are calmer, more comfortable, or more peaceful.

After that, STAY focused on those good thoughts. Do this until you feel better and are ready to move onto something else.

It is okay if the skill does not work the first time you try it. Sometimes people need to try out several skills before they feel calm. Sometimes people need to practice the skills a few times before they feel calm. The important thing is to keep using them until you are back in your resilient zone.

Practicing: Shift and Stay?

 

Cartoon of a brain with the five senses depicted.

Shift and Stay is a resilient skill that needs the other skills (tracking, resourcing, grounding, and gesturing) to work.

SHIFT your bad thoughts to good ones. Use the other skills to find something that makes you feel happy, calm, or relaxed. STAY focused on these good thoughts.

Practicing this skill is helpful because you can use it when you are faced with challenges to get back into your resilient zone. It also lets you practice the other skills at the same time!

Practice:

Practice using each of these skills to SHIFT your focus to something “okay” or pleasant, and then see if you can STAY with those thoughts for at least two minutes.

TRACKING: Write down the sensations you notice around you right now (what can you see, hear, smell,
feel, or taste).

RESOURCING: Find a resource (example: stuffed animal). Write down details about the resource.

GROUNDING: Look back at the sensations you wrote down for tracking. Focus on anything that feels bad
or uncomfortable right now. Move your body around until you change how you feel and you’re comfortable.

GESTURING: Think of gestures that make you feel better. Do these physical movements until you start to
feel different or better.

After you go through this activity, take a minute to think how each skill made you feel. Which skill was the most helpful? Keep practicing the skills so you can have better control over your thoughts and your body.

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Other downloads

Name Description Type File
What is Shift and Stay? Shift and Stay is a skill you can use to change your thoughts and get back into your resilient zone. pdf Download file: What is Shift and Stay?
Practicing Shift and Stay SHIFT your bad thoughts to good ones. Use the other skills to find something that makes you feel happy, calm, or relaxed. STAY focused on these good thoughts. pdf Download file: Practicing Shift and Stay

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.