A blade of grass with droplets of water on it

Problem Solving

Problems are a normal part of human life.  When we feel uncomfortable or worried about something we can use this as a clue that there is a problem that we need to look at. 

Sometimes it feels easier to avoid our problems in the hope that they will go away. However, this seldom happens.  In fact it seems more likely that the longer we avoid our problems then the worse they become.  In the meantime we have wasted time and energy trying to avoid them.

Steps to Solving Problems

1. Firstly, it is important to take time to consider what the problem is.  It might help to write it down.
 
Sometimes we have unhelpful beliefs such as ‘People can’t change’ or ‘Average people have no power to solve problems’.  These beliefs can prevent us from solving problems.  Therefore, try to write only the facts.

2. After you are clear what the problem is, think about possible solutions.  Think how you would advise a friend or relative to deal with this situation. Again, it can help to jot them down.

3. Once you have done this consider which solutions you can achieve.

4. Once you have decided which solution looks best, think about it in more detail.  There may be some things in the way of achieving your goal and you may need to figure out how to work your way around them.

5. Sometimes it is possible to solve a problem by taking practical steps.  At other times change is not possible.  In these cases the solution may involve looking for ways in which to help us cope with the problem.  For example, by turning to others for support.

6. Often it is not possible to solve a problem in one go.  If this is the case consider your problem and try to divide it into smaller steps.  It can be helpful to give yourself targets to reach.  After each step has been completed it might be necessary to rethink your plan.

7. If you manage to solve your problem then remember to congratulate yourself!

However, if the first attempt you made did not work out then return to your list of possible solutions and try something else.  Now that you have learned more about the problem from trying one way to solve it, you are in a better place to come up with a solution.

Self-help documents