Everyone faces problems at some point or the other. Some problems can be solved easily; others take more time and trouble. Many problems can be solved by using strategies we might have used before. Naturally, problems become more difficult when there is no obvious solution and past strategies do not work. This can cause anxiety and stress. However, all you need to do is remain calm and use a new, different strategy. While there is no defined set of steps or easy ways to solve problems, the following methods can help to an extent:
1. Acknowledge that there is a problem
Many people refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem. They continue thinking everything will resolve on its own and fail to seek timely help. Many avoid, ignore or procrastinate when dealing with issues. This does not help the situation in any way; rather, it tends to escalate into major issues and can make the problem bigger than before.
2. Keep a journal
Keeping a daily journal is the best way to solve deeper problems that may be affecting your peace of mind. Writing down all the problems you are currently facing can help you get a perspective. Sometimes, just by writing down issues, you might get to see that a problem isn’t as big as you are making it out to be.
3. Analyze feelings
The best way to know if there is a problem and also to find a way to work out a solution is to analyze how you are feeling. For example, many people say they are always stressed at work and think that stress is their problem. However, it isn’t. The problem is at work where one may be having issues with colleagues or with the huge workload etc. Identify the problem and find out a way to deal with it. That will automatically help you get rid of stress. So each time you feel you have a problem, analyze how you feel so that it takes you to the root of the problem and helps you solve it.
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4. Take on a challenge
Often, to solve a problem, you need to test your limits. You may have to take on certain challenges including learning something new to improve yourself. If you continue thinking of the problem as a threat and view yourself as a failure or weak person, you will not be able to deal with the problem. However, if you can see some benefit coming out of the problem, you will be in a better position to accept the challenge and learn something new. For example, if you are afraid of presenting before a large crowd, you might want to take up a public speaking class or practice until you are confident to do so.
5. Define the problem
An important part of problem solving is to identify the steps in the problem-solving process. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Identify the situation- I have to give a presentation on Monday
- Think about the ideal situation or scenario- I am able to deliver the presentation perfectly
- Identify the obstacle- In this case the obstacle is fear. To remove fear, you need to practice until you are confident. This requires coming out of your comfort zone.
Now put the problem in sentence: “ I have an important presentation which I would love to ace but I am afraid I will goof up”. It is very important you stick to the facts only. When you are specific and concrete you can be in a better position to solve the problem.
6. Set goals
Now comes the problem solving part where you take action. The goal setting is done in three ways:
- Being realistic-Set achievable goals. Do not make goals unrealizable that they deter you from setting other goals.
- Set specific goals– Avoid vague ones that you won’t know you have achieved them.
- Start with small term, realistic, time defined goals-To solve any problem, start by setting small, achievable goals. Short term goals can actually reduce your workload.
7. Think about solutions
Now is the time to think about different solutions. Try and come up with at least 10 different solutions to a problem. Do not judge these solutions; rather keep a wide variety of options open. Next, make sure that your solutions involve specific strategies.
8. Seek help
Sometimes, certain problems cannot be solved on your own. If despite giving it much thought and attention, you are still unable to solve the issue, seek help from friends, colleagues, family or even professionals.
Meditation and mind body practices can help you develop your intuition which can bring clarity and help you solve problems.
Sometimes, unexpected things happen in life and even the best solutions do not work. Things can be very difficult when this happens, but continue to keep calm and positive. Go through the above steps and know that you are well taken care of.