Reduce Stress by Compartmentalization

This image displays a railroad car.

The concept of compartmentalizing is useful for stress management and for reducing anxiety and tension. If you feel stressed out, consider the technique of compartmentalization to relieve your stress.

Just as a train, submarine, and ship have different compartments, so can the mind. This may be easier for men who tend to think linear, but it can also be very helpful for women who tend to think in a more circular manner.

Think of you mind as having different compartments.

When your thoughts bring feelings of anxiety, tension, or stress, place those thoughts in a compartment by itself. This compartment is watertight. Negative thoughts are sucked into this compartment. None other can enter.

This concept is a variation of pivoting or redirecting you thoughts. Since emotion always follow cognition, just by redirecting your thinking to something else, the stress is diminished. Simply remember that a feeling of anxiety, being stressed out, or wanting relief from stress can only happen when you think of something else. If you think of the negative situation as being in a separate compartment, you will find it easier to leave it and enter a new thought or compartment.

Visualization can play a significant role here. Visualize a long railroad train with an engine in front, a caboose in the rear and a number of railroad cars in between. Label one car, “Stress.” Let this “stress railroad car” roll by while you think of another railway car, such as the diner.

If, for example, you are going to miss a deadline for a project, say to yourself, “So what if I miss the deadline?’ Just realizing that nothing disastrous will happen, you can move along to another compartment—one that is stress reducing.

Tip: To manage stress, compartmentalize negative thoughts to isolate them and move on to a different compartment.