More often than not, people don’t solve their problems not because those problems can’t be solved, but because they can’t evaluate the issues properly or adopt solving methodologies, which usually causes parallel anxiety that blocks the person even more. It is very common for people to focus on the problem itself, becoming overwhelmed by it and unable to find possible solutions.
The solution focus approach aims to offer a strategy to better tackle problems and, therefore, separate the problem itself from the anxious reaction to it. This approach focuses on possible solutions rather than the problem itself, creating more possibilities for solving them.
When we focus on a problem, we tend to go straight to it. On the contrary, when we focus on the possible solution, our direction turns into that solution.
This problem-solving strategy is used in psychology, and it is rooted in the simple principle of focusing on the solution and limiting the thoughts about the problem. Below you can learn a process step by step.
Problem-solving process steps
- Define the problem: the first step in problem-solving is to write down what is the exact problem, considering all the variables that caused the problem and that are currently perpetuating it. Don’t dwell too much on this step, you only have certain information about the problem, so once you have gathered your thoughts on this, move on to the solutions step.
- Focus on the possible solutions: think about and write down all the possible solutions to this problem. Following the quantity principle, write down as many possibilities as you can, even those that you don’t particularly find good for this problem. Now, following the variety principle, continue writing down possible variations and approaches for the same solution. The goal is to focus your attention on all of the things you could do to solve the issue, with all the variations. List them regardless of the order.
- Choose a solution: in this step evaluate the solutions list you created and chose your favourite solution. You can use criteria like:
- To what extent this solution solves the problem?
- To what extent this solution gives me peace of mind?
- Costs and benefits of each solution in the short, medium, and long-term
- Action the solution: the last step in process of problem-solving is to put the solution in place and monitor the results. If the solution chosen doesn’t solve the problem, come back to your solutions list and chose a different possible solution. Try and error until you solve the situation.
The key is to develop a problem-solving attitude by focusing on the solutions and the actions that can be made, rather than freezing and getting overwhelmed.
How to stop worrying about problems?
If you are finding it difficult to stop ruminating about your problems, take a look at these tools used in therapy to reduce or eliminate rumination thoughts.
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