I He started visiting a therapist in January to help me manage my stress and after a few sessions, he showed me an exercise to help me manage my stress: the exercise with pots. To practice it, imagine a closed container in which you put your less than ideal emotions. The idea is that by using your container, you are communicating with your body that you are recognizing these feelings or experiences and will return to deal with them in a less disturbing moment. And for me, it worked wonders.
To explain why container exercise can be so effective, therapist Nina Firooz, LMFT (who often uses container exercise with her clients), explains the concept of the tolerance window, developed by psychiatrist Dan Siegel. MD. The window is essentially the sweet spot for stress that allows people to function as they normally would. However, when your stress pushes you out the window, you may be overwhelmed to make sensible decisions. “One of the ways you can get back to your window of tolerance is by using exercise, which is based on imagination,” says Firooz.
While it may sound like container exercise is like wiping things under the rug, it’s actually a way to store them. Exercise can definitely help you identify a stressor and then know where to put it. This allows you to return to it when you are ready to treat or resolve an issue.
In the two months I have been using the container exercise, I have realized that putting things in my container has led to reduced stress and increased productivity.
For example, I use container exercise when I feel anxious about work, fear for my family well-being, or a feeling of helplessness when it comes to navigating into adulthood. In the two months I have been using it, I have realized that putting things in my container has led to reduced stress and increased productivity, because I am better able to pay attention to what I am doing right now instead of turning my wheels on concerns that I can not deal effectively at this time.
Keep reading to learn how to practice container exercise for yourself, as well as some hacks I have done that you may find useful.
How To Practice Exercise For Yourself
Although you can definitely do the container exercise yourself, it is helpful and advisable to work with a professional who can help you resolve complex emotions. However, if you do not have access to treatment or you do not feel comfortable opening up to strangers, the following tips suggested by your therapist can be a good starting point.
1. Identify your feelings and choose your container
Start by closing your eyes and understanding what you are feeling. (After all, it’s hard to put anything anywhere when you do not know what it is.) From there, ‘imagine any kind of container you feel possible. is as big as you need it to be in the eye of your mind. and it has a very tight lid that you can access at all times, but it will not pop up at all times, ”says Firooz. Once you know what the stressors are and you have your own container, you can imagine putting those feelings there so you can come back to deal with them later.
It is important that your container has a closed lid and is a good size, so that you have full commitment when these feelings come out. You can use the container whenever you feel overwhelmed by your emotions.
And while this is an exercise based on imagination, your pot does not I have to be made to believe. You can also use a physical container (I do!) And write things down to put them in.
2. Personalize the container exercise to suit your needs
When I used a fancy container, I often forgot what I was putting in it. This is unusual, says Firooz, because although my conscious self may have forgotten it, my subconscious self and body certainly did not.
During particularly difficult weeks, I found myself loading my imaginary container, but I never went back to the issues and thoughts I put into it — so they stayed in my body. And Firooz is right: The body does I remember. I slept for 17 consecutive hours.
That’s when I decided to use a natural pot — an old eucalyptus candle — instead of a fancy one. I would write my feelings on a sticky note and place it on the candle. And even though I embodied the exercise, Firooz says her imaginative heart remained. I still had to visualize my feelings going on this paper and in the bin. It worked best for me this way, and that’s the most important thing.
3. Schedule time in your diary to get past the emotions in your container
Reviewing your content at a scheduled pace can be helpful, as it prevents you from avoiding emotions. This was harder to do when I did not have a physical container (my memory sometimes weakens me), but it has become easier since I started writing things.
Usually, I would sit down on Fridays after work and take the sticky notes out of the candle. For the next 15 minutes or so, I try to remember what I was going through and how I felt when I wrote the note and how everything went well. Not only does this help me manage my stress, but it is also a (very welcome) reminder that no matter what I go through, I have everything I need to get to the other side.
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