10 Options to Solve Your Problems
With every problem, you have a decision to make.
Even if you decide to do nothing, that is still a choice. But to choose wisely, you need to know all your options.
Here are my top 10:
1. Solve it!
Brainstorm all the possible solutions, pick out the top three and write pros and cons for each, then choose one, plan your approach, and see what happens.
Didn't work? Review what happened and choose another possible solution taking all the new information into account.
Complex problems may require several problem-solving attempts. Nothing's working? Consider your other options.
2. Share it
Some say sharing your problem is halfway to solving it. Even if you can't solve the problem, talking about it is still one of the most helpful strategies.
Whether it's with a friend, family member, manager or mental health professional, expressing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust can help you feel supported, give you a new perspective on your problems, and even help you accept difficult circumstances in your life.
Sometimes all we need is to feel heard.
3. Deny it
Well, this hardly seems a healthy or viable solution! Often it isn't.
Denying a problem can lead to more problems or make them even bigger, especially if this is your go-to automatic response. But denial can be a useful coping mechanism for brief periods of time until you are emotionally ready to deal with something.
The important thing is to choose this option with awareness.
Tip: Use this time for self-care to prepare yourself to deal with the problem directly when you are in a better state of mind.
4. Avoid it
Avoidance of problematic or anxiety-provoking situations can provide immediate relief, but if used often and inappropriately, it can increase anxiety in the long term.
If your problem makes you unsafe or puts you in harm's way, avoidance is a viable and worthwhile option. If not, avoid avoiding instead.
5. Reflect on it
Think about your problem in a curious and nonjudgmental way. Curiosity will improve self-awareness without all the dreaded guilt and frustration that comes with self-criticism.
Let yourself be human. Acknowledge your own imperfections and mistakes that may have contributed to the problem.
Use your insights to improve the situation, repair relationships, and practice self-compassion.
6. Delay it
Waiting for a problem to solve itself can sometimes be more effective than trying to solve it yourself. Seems like a passive solution, doesn't it? But choosing to delay your response to problems or worries is an active decision that can actually be the most effective solution.
Don't delay as a way to procrastinate. Delay strategically to reduce the time and energy you spend focussing on problems and worries that are likely to solve themselves.
Contain Your Brain is based on this premise and is supported by research that shows that 85% of our worries never happen. Imagine what you could be doing with all that extra time and energy!
7. Reframe it
Change your perspective. Can you put a different spin on it? Can you use this experience to learn something new?
Can you see it as a way to challenge yourself? Is there a silver lining, another door opening, or any other metaphoric opportunity?
How you think about a problem fundamentally affects how you respond to it, and an optimistic outlook will help you whether you can solve your problem or not.
8. Accept it
The reality is not all problems have solutions. Sometimes life just sucks.
Acceptance is not a passive state, it's not about giving up, and it's not the same as saying it's okay. Accepting your circumstances is an active choice to see reality as it is and move forward as best you can.
9. Soothe it
When problems are extremely challenging, it can cause a level of distress that makes it difficult to think clearly.
This is not a state of mind that will lead to optimal responses and decision-making. In fact, it can lead to making decisions that do us more harm than good.
The most important thing to focus on in these moments is soothing yourself. Choose healthy activities that comfort you, reduce stress and make you feel good.
Try progressive muscle relaxation, an exercise that can help you reduce stress and anxiety.
10. Laugh at it
Humor always helps. If you can find a way to laugh at yourself or laugh about your predicament, you will not only lift your mood, but you will also improve your ability to cope no matter what the outcome.
“The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.”