Problem Solving

The Psychological Benefits of Problem Solving

It’s important to distinguish between anxiously ruminating and problem solving. Whilst anxiously ruminating might disguise itself as problem solving it is often destructive, leading to catastrophising  which offers few real solutions. On the other hand, whenever I have engaged in problem solving I have often been surprised by how much better I felt for it.


So how do you tell if you are anxiously ruminating as opposed to problem solving?


How Problem Solving Could Save You From Disaster

Ever since having learnt how to effectively problem solve I often wonder how I managed before in those years when I feared choosing one path instead of another, when I over relied on my friends opinions of what I should do, often choosing ‘solutions’ which really didn’t work for me whatsoever. The critical difference between those years and now is that in the past I mainly made decisions based on pure trial and error, often ignoring my gut and paying a hefty price for not doing my research.


In the end my lack of problem solving ability and ignoring my gut took it’s toll, culminating in my marrying entirely the wrong man. As you can see, effective problem solving not only enables you to make more informed decisions but can, in a very real way, save you from disaster.


In reality I believe problem solving is a combination of both the head and the heart (or gut / instinct) working together to find a solution that not only makes sense and looks good on paper but one that works best with you and what you want out of life. To me it has proven critical to disregard others opinions or plans for my life whilst working through my decision making process. This has not only allowed me to pursue a more authentic life but has meant the decisions I do make are much more in tune with the life I want to create. This has ultimately meant I am more satisfied by how my chosen solutions have manifested themselves, hugely enhancing my quality of life.


Problem Solving: Surprising Truths

In reality problem solving is an incredibly empowering skill to learn with far reaching benefits that will last a lifetime. Here are just some of the truisms I’ve learnt along the way about problem solving which will serve to encourage you in your journey towards mastering problem solving:


Any solution that works is correct


There may be several attractive solutions to choose from. In truth any one of them that works is a ‘correct’ solution.


Masterful problem solvers learn from others


Anyone can learn problem solving techniques, what makes masters masterful is by learning first hand from others experiences of their own problem solving endeavours.


Masterful problem solvers become masterful by gaining experience in solving problems


By the same token problem solvers become true masters by gaining experience in solving problems, honing their skills and learning what does and doesn’t work for them.


Problem Solving: Dispelling the Myths

For many years when I had to solve problems I was at a loss. Overwhelmed by the many options open to me I was paralysed, unable to move forward and make a decision. Thankfully when I received Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I realised that I needn’t be suffer with indecision again as I learnt how to effectively problem solve. On reflection I always thought that some people were just gifted with problem solving ability, that it just wasn’t something I was any good at and that it certainly wasn’t a skill I could learn. Thankfully I was wrong on all counts, realizing that it was indeed a skill I could foster and perfect, with just a little practise.


Here are just a few of the myths surrounding problem solving which are completely untrue:


You can’t learn how to problem solve


Problem solving is absolutely a skill you can learn and perfect.


There is only one ‘correct’ solution when solving a problem


In reality there are many strategies that, once put into action, will have many advantages. It is more about weighing up which strategy will reap the best advantages for you.


March’s Hot Topic – Problem Solving

Having reaped the rewards of increased flexibility and adaptiveness by incorporating more play into our daily lives – the two key qualities which most equip us for dealing with change – I thought that problem solving would be a great hot topic to cover as we would now be in a perfect position to look at how best to tackle change and decision making when it inevitably arises.


Problem solving is a six step process which, to do well, involves us being receptive to all possibilities so we can look at and evaluate all the options objectively.


In this month’s series we will be covering:


  1. Identify and Clearly Define the Problem
  2. Brainstorm Possible Solutions
  3. Assess the Pro’s and Con’s
  4. Plan how to carry out your solutions
  5. Action
  6. Review


Although these steps look relatively simple in practise problem solving can be quite involved so throughout March I’ll be taking you through the steps one by one so you can get the most out of your decision making. As always the more in-depth series posts will be featured on Mondays with linear posts published Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.





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