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Problem Solving to Manage Stress

Topic Overview

Problem solving helps you overcome complex stressful events.

Identify all aspects of a stressful event, including behavior, thoughts, and feelings. For example, if you have just been laid off from your job, you need to identify:

  • Behaviors, such as the need to look for another job, earn money for your family, and make other adjustments in your life.
  • Negative thoughts, such as "I'll never get another job."
  • Negative feelings, such as anger and depression.
  • How your body responds, such as fatigue or difficulty sleeping.

You can then find coping strategies, such as talking with others about your feelings of anger or depression.

Brainstorm by:

  • Thinking of as many solutions as you can, even if they seem very difficult to accomplish.
  • Not criticizing any solution.
  • Combining solutions.

Evaluate your alternatives and choose the best one. When rating your solutions, take into account the:

  • Likelihood of being able to carry it out and succeed.
  • Cost in time and energy.
  • Effect of the solution on other people.

Act. Determine the steps you need to take and act.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Steven Locke, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised May 3, 2013

Last Revised: May 3, 2013

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