Coping Skills. #18. Placing it on the Shelf

Tending the Hope

Sometimes you need to put worries, future plans, and other things onto a mental shelf.

Sometimes, struggles are too much to deal with in the moment.  Perhaps you are tired, hungry, and stressed about many things.  Trying to problem-solve under these conditions leads to poor choices and increased anxiety.

Thus one needs to sometimes work to put a worry or emotion “on the shelf.”  In doing so, one can find peace and reassurance without ignoring important problems.



This might sound silly or impossible but with practice, it can become a fairly simple skill.  When you feel overwhelmed with something, think about the importance of it.  Must you address this problem right away or can it wait?  How much stress is it causing you?  How do you want to deal with this issue?  Asking questions like these is the first step to take.

Then, if your problem can be solved later, you can shelf it.  Think of this like a library or another large room.  The books represent what you are dealing with in life.  Imagine that you keep a table with books you read on it.  This represents the worries, joys, and responsibilities in your life.

Swiftly that table can pile up with things.  Soon, you might feel unable to cope.  Thus it is  important to have a  shelf where you can put books.  This usually does not mean that you are forgetting these items forever.  Instead, you are waiting for a better time to come back to them.

Hopefully that makes sense.  Having this visual helps me to place certain on my shelf to respond to later.  When I become anxious about the future or worry about an event several weeks away, my mother reminds me to do this.  It might sound silly but it can be very relaxing and freeing.



2 thoughts on “Coping Skills. #18. Placing it on the Shelf

  1. jefairgrieve says:

    Hi, Anna Rose! I like this post and your drawing. The two go together really well. I have a hard time shelving issues, but when I can do it, it makes life less overwhelming. You are right!

    • Thanks! I am glad that the drawing connected with the post; I was a bit nervous about it working. Shelving issues is very difficult. It is a skill that takes a lot of time and practice. I certainly have a long way to go with using it to help cope. 🙂

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