Containment Exercises

  • Name every object in the room or space. If you don’t know the name, wait until it comes to you before saying it.  Out loud is best but not always possible. 

  • Describe in detail every object in room or space.  This is a next level from just naming the objects.

  • Pick a neutral object, look at it and breathe in on 1, out on 2, and up to 40 without allowing a thought to enter your mind.  Very difficult and takes lots of practice when you are NOT stressed.

  • Pick an imaginary container (safe, box, cube, etc) and mentally/visually place all anxiety producing objects in them and shut the opening.  This is only temporary as we all eventually need to work on our “objects” but we also need rest from thinking about them. 

  • Pick a very large number (like 2,535,696) and count backwards by 1.  This is one of many clients’ favorites because it works so quickly.  The harder the number, the more effective the exercise.

  • Name 3 things you see, 3 things you hear, 3 things you smell, 3 things you feel, and 3 things you taste. 

These are to take you out of “limbic brain” or “survival brain” and back into cortex where you can think rationally about behavior and thoughts. These work well for anxiety but they also work well for anything that triggers an emotional response of any kind that is interfering with current functioning. 

After doing any of these and achieving any level of success, go through the Safe Place/Calm Place exercise as a completion

Locke Curfman, MA, LPC

Kranz Psychological Services

1125  Judson Rd. Suite 150

Longview, TX 75601


Phone: 903.200.1433

Fax: 903.405.4047

Tue - Fri: 9am - 5pm

​​Saturday: Closed

​Sunday: Closed

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