Cooling Stress Tips: It Pays To Become A Problem-Solver

Judi Light Hopson Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Judi Light Hopson is the author of the stress management book, “Cooling Stress Tips." She shares her best advice on how get started on tackling problems instead of avoiding them.

Tribune

Did you know that self-confidence is connected to your ability to fix problems? Your stress levels will go down as you learn to reverse tricky issues.

Also, you can save time, money and personal energy by learning how to take control. Instead of feeling stretched out of shape, you'll begin to feel more powerful.

We all know people who are living dysfunctional lives.

Why?

They failed to solve basic problems early on. Often, they can't imagine how to correct their problems, so they give up.

"It's amazing how you can chisel a problem down to size," says a career coach we'll call Anderson. "I work with people who are getting trampled by personal problems. Their biggest roadblock is that they don't trust themselves to make decisions. They feel paralyzed."

Anderson says the only difference between people who can and can't solve problems is simple.

"Those who can solve problems connect the dots a lot faster. This takes practice! My clients who fail to solve problems love to talk about their problems. But their problems just get bigger and bigger."

Think of your problems as a chance to practice changing things. It usually pays to begin whittling down your very largest problem first, says Anderson. He advises implementing just one tiny change to get off square one.

"Make a phone call to ask for help with your credit score, for example," says Anderson. "Or make that medical appointment you've been putting off. Figure out a small step that will get you moving forward, such as filling out a job application, calling an expert for advice on returning to college, or apologizing to your mate for something you shouldn't have said. Do something!"

Here are some reasons to dive in and get started:

People will start helping you. If other people know you're serious about solving a problem, they'll offer more support. For example, if you want to remodel your home, let your friends know you're looking for capable workers.

You will lose your fear of problems. The more adept you become at solving issues, the more your self-confidence will rise. Working through the steps of fixing a problem takes sheer determination.

You will learn to prioritize issues in your life. If you feel competent to solve problems, you'll begin to picture tasks in their order of importance. You'll put time on your side. Waiting and failing to use small bits of time wisely will make your life much harder. Small segments of time, put to good use, will help you see improvements. Learning to use just 15 or 20 minutes wisely will impact your end results.

"Putting off decision-making is a huge mistake," says a business owner we'll call Jenny. "I once delayed the opening of a store I'd envisioned. Lo and behold, a similar store opened within a block of where my store was going to be located. That was 20 years ago. My competition is still thriving."

Timing is important on getting things done. Dragging around on buying a house, going back to college or planning a trip can cause you to fail. The sooner you face the real problems of a project, the quicker you can locate plausible solutions.

"I once obtained an investment group for a business I envisioned," says a home builder we'll call Jack. "I met with them to offer my ideas while I was anxious to roll. I convinced them to back me. We've all heard the phrase 'strike while the iron is hot.' Well, it's a good thing we got my project rolling, because two of the investors died three months after I got my funding from the group."

(Judi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, “Cooling Stress Tips.” She is also executive director of USA Wellness Cafe at www.usawellnesscafe.org.)

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