This is a new technique I recently learned for stress management. I think it’s a fabulous tool and I wanted to share. Here’s how it works:
- Create your container. It can be large or small, any shape, color or size that you choose. You can also add a lock if you want. It just needs to be something that be opened and closed, real or imaginary. For example, it can be a box, a basket, a trunk or a safe. Pick a size that seems right to hold your negative emotions and worries. It can be tiny or the size of a house, it’s all up to you.
- Visualize your container using all your senses. What does it feel like to touch it? Is it warm or cool? What does it sound like when it opens and closes? What are the colors? Visualize this with as much detail as you can.
- Start using your container. When you have worries or negative emotions visualize your container opening, your worries and emotions going in, and then visualize shutting your container. This is a helpful exercise when it’s not an appropriate or helpful time to process. For example, I often find myself using this at bedtime and it makes it much easier to fall asleep.
- Practice, practice, practice! I find I am getting better at this the more I do it, so keep at it. This practice helps me notice negative thoughts, worries, and negative emotions before I start getting emotional about them, nipping a lot of stress in the bud. It’s sort of like putting a book on a library shelf rather than toting all that weight around in your backpack constantly. You still retain the information in the book, and you have access to it, but it’s not at the forefront all the time.
- Practice processing your container. When it’s a good time, you can practice taking things out of your container and processing them when it feels like a good time to do so. Start with mild, easier items low on the emotion and anxiety scale. After you have examined your stressor you can either visualize it going away or put it back in your container.