Why is Problem Solving a Stress Management Issue?
Life is filled with challenges. Having a problem solving strategy or approach can help reduce the stress associated with dealing with life’s challenges. Below is a suggested problem solving approach:
- Approach a challenge with a positive attitude. Believe that you can figure this out! Believe that you are creative and smart and can figure out what will work best for you.
- Define the problem. ONE AT A TIME!
- Clarify what you want the results to be. Ask yourself:
- “How will I feel when this problem is over?
- “What will my life look like when I have successfully dealt with this problem?
- Brainstorm solutions. Go crazy! silly ideas, serious ideas, ask for input from friends and family, do an internet search…go crazy! Remember, you don’t have to choose any of these solutions. you’re just brainstorming. And anything goes when you brainstorm.
- Evaluate and narrow down solutions. Ask yourself:
- What are the possible (negative and positive) outcomes?
- Will this realistically solve the problem?
- Does this solution compromise my values?
- Will I be more or less stressed after trying this solution?
- Do I have the resources (financial, emotional, etc.) to use this solution?
- Am I willing to make any change that is necessary for this solution to work?
- Narrow down further.
- Choose one solution to try.
- Tinker with that solution if necessary.
- Try the solution. Give it a while to see if it is working for you. Take time to reflect before making a judgement. Sometimes things feel like they are getting worse before they get better. Just making a change–any change–can produce a minor stress response. So allow for this possibility and be gentle with yourself.
- Evaluate. Has this solution worked? If yes–keep it up! Congratulations! If not, go back to your Narrowed Down list and either try something else, or brainstorm from scratch again.