And it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between worrying and problem solving. With problem solving, you find solutions. With worry, you just find more worries.
Figure out a solvable problem This can be harder than it sounds. First, you have to ask yourself “Is this really a problem?” So many times our problems are actually just worries in disguise. A solvable problem is one that you have control over, and that is happening right now. Solvable problem: I can’t pay both my phone bill and my car insurance. Unsolvable problem: The person I’m dating likes me less than I like them. In the solvable problem, you’re in control of what happens. In the unsolvable problem, you aren’t.
Brainstorm solutions Try to come up with at least ten. There are no bad ideas when brainstorming. It’s important to push yourself to come up with more than a few because that’s when you’re most likely to have a new idea. Something you haven’t thought of before.
List the Pros and Cons Pick your favorite two solutions and write out the pros and cons of each solution. Doing so will help you decide which solution to try first.
Decide on a plan Decide between your solutions. We recommend picking the one you can get started on right away, if possible. Then flesh out your plan. Who is involved? What will happen? When will it happen? Why are you doing it? Where will you do it? How will you do it?
Do your plan Hopefully you’ve picked something you can do right away.
Evaluate it How’d it go? Did it work? If not, reflect on why not and consider starting this process over again.
After all that work, you deserve to relax. Why not try a simple breathing exercise?
Originally published at www.allmentalhealth.org