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Minisode 04 | October 22, 2020

Park it, sleep on it, put a pin in it.

In this minisode, we walk through a technique that helps with emotional regulation, problem-solving, and decision-making.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no (in all its forms) so you can become the authentic and empowered person that this world needs.

Quick disclosure: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professionalIf you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.

Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start:

park it, sleep on it, put a pin in it | that's a hard no podcast
Key Takeaways
  • In this minisode, we revisit and dive into the concept of “park it, sleep on it, put a pin in it” – which we discussed in our interview with Gail Palmer. If you missed it, be sure to go back and take a listen 
  • Everything you hear in this minisode supports one very important concept: Do not make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.
  • When teaching clients about emotional regulation, Sarah often starts by teaching them about the importance of understanding their “temperatures.” She explains that our emotions are like a thermometer. The more heightened our emotions, the hotter our temperature.  This is a research-based tool that helps put situations into perspective, build self-awareness, and connect thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • Each of us has our own personalized thermometer – so this will look different for everyone. But what we all share is the commonality that when one of our emotions is intensified, it leads us to make irrational decisions and do things we aren’t necessarily proud of. Some examples of these situations are being overtired, very hungry, angrystressed, frustrated, annoyed, scared, etc. When those feelings are heightened, it’s nearly impossible for us to think calmly and rationally. 
  • So an idea that is very helpful during these high-temperature moments is a technique Sarah calls “park it.” We created a parking lot worksheet to help you implement it. You can get it here.
  • When a high-temperature situation occurs, and you have to make a decision about something, pause for a moment, and take your “temperature.” Then write down the issue on a sticky note, park it in a parking spot, and come back to it later when your temperature has cooled down. Once you reach a cooler temperature your brain is able to think more logically and rationally, which promotes problem-solvingflexible thinking, and perspective-taking. 
  • This technique can be used when discussing a “hot” topic with a spouse or partner, making a decision about your career or business, or even when dealing with your kids.
  • The key rule to “parking it” is that you don’t want to “unpark” something in less than 30 minutes. But, you don’t want to leave it parked for more than 24 hours. For most of us, we need a solid 30 minutes to gather our thoughts and calm down before we’re able to effectively communicate. However, we don’t want to wait more than 24 hours, because we might find ourselves creating an unhelpful pattern of avoidance “putting it off.” You can also address whatever is parked and then purposefully and intentionally re-park it (for later).
  • You may have your own version of “parking it” – in our interview with Gail she shared the idea, of sleeping on it and Heather shared her idea of putting a pin in it. You are the expert of you and you should do what works best for you and your family. 
  • Just keep in mind what we said at the top: do not make a permanent decision based on temporary emotions. Recognize your emotional temperature and use whatever version of “park it,” “sleep on it,” or “put a pin in it” – to intentionally make decisions that serve you and your relationships.  
Resources & Recommendations
Credits and Thanks