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Problem-Solving to Manage Stress

Overview

Problem-solving can help you overcome complex stressful events. Here are the basic steps you can use.

  1. Identify all aspects of a stressful event.

    Think about your 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 trouble sleeping.

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

  2. Brainstorm some options.
    • Think of as many solutions as you can, even if they seem very hard to achieve.
    • Don't criticize any solution.
    • Combine solutions.
  3. Evaluate your options.

    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.
  4. Act on the best option.

    Figure out the steps you need to take, and then act.

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health