The Pushing Away Method (DBT)

“We sometimes think that we’re getting somewhere if we worry about it, when “shelving it” or mentally imagining you are putting it in a prayer box, can be much more effective at solving our problems when the time is right” ~ Jennifer Carey

Many of you have shared with me moments where you have had trouble falling asleep with all of your worries running in your mind. And when you’ve shared that with me, it’s highly likely that I taught you the “Pushing Away” method from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I also like to call it “shelving it” or “putting it in a prayer box”. 

If you have these anxieties that won’t go away, you need to ask yourself these questions: “Can I solve it now?” and “Is this a good time to work on it?” If you can solve it in that moment, and it is a good time to do so, solve that problem now! If you can’t, the pushing away method comes in handy. Here, you can either shelf it or put it in a prayer box. When you’re shelving something, you are giving yourself permission to think about whatever is troubling you at a later time. If you can’t solve it, come back to it later. This doesn’t mean avoid your anxiety, it just means that instead of ruminating and letting your mind control you, you are giving your brain a break from the worry until you have the tools and the emotional bandwidth to deal with it.

Additionally, you can also put your worry in a prayer box. Write out whatever is troubling you on a piece of paper, and put it away in a little box. This prayer box can be decorated to your liking, and it will always be there to hold your anxieties. The intention here is that your problems will be solved, maybe in a way you don’t know at that time. It also helps you release the stress associated with your worry, because now it is out there and not locked away in your head.

Check out Episode 8 in Shortcuts to Zen with Jen where I teach you this powerful method when your worrying is keeping you away from sleep, focusing on work or enjoying the present moment. Pushing Away method is the second of three episodes devoted to helping you with mindfulness hacks having to do with our thoughts. In last weeks episode, I talked about the power of writing it down. Check it out here! Respond in the comments and let me know how it’s working for you!