Problems, worry and stress hold us back, so we don’t get it done. Here are 4 ways I have learnt to fix problems, worry and stress. These 4 always work.
Problems make me worry. I always seem to have problems, and I always seem to be worrying. I’ve always been a worrier. At school it was problems like my inability to remember my French vocab, or why I was so unsuccessful with girls. I’ve even added a new daily morning problem and source of worry – every weekday morning I have to think about and write a blog post, which is hopefully as entertaining as it is useful. All while worrying about what problems I have to deal with today at work. So, this morning I was worrying about worry, doing some research which made me get behind in my packed morning schedule. It turns out that it was a Very Good Thing. But more of that in a minute, after we consider how similar we are.
We all worry, and we all think we have a unique set of problems to deal with. Nobody in the history of the world ever has had to deal with our problems. We are going to have to deal with them on our own. It is all very stressful. And so obviously untrue.
4 THINGS WE ALL SHARE IN COMMON ABOUT PROBLEMS
1. There isn’t a problem we have that somebody hasn’t fixed before. Friends, books, and a quick search online will give us ideas for effective solutions we can try. However, the reality of most of our problems is that we usually already know the answers to them, and we usually don’t like them and so are paralysed into inaction. People have fixed our problems before, so we can too.
2. Problems left undealt with grow out of proportion in our heads and, in reality, usually turn into bigger problems because they are not being dealt with. Time and time again I have had this tough lesson delivered to me, and I will until I finally learn that the best answer to a problem and the stress it brings is to do something about it. Today.
3. Problems undealt with manifest themselves in all sorts of ways. Sometimes I suffer from stress rashes. They are always because I am worrying about something that I am not dealing with.
4. We will always have problems. There is always something stressful going on. If there isn’t you have probably made your life so small that you are only living a fraction of the life you could. That too is a problem that you’ll know deep down, and which will eat away at you somehow.
4 WAYS TO DEAL WITH PROBLEMS, WORRY AND STRESS
This morning I was starting to stress about writing about problems, worry, and stress. Walking to the bus I glanced down at my watch and realised that I might miss my bus, so miss my train, so be late for my 8am meeting. Chaos.
So I ran for the last minute. Got my bus, and was able to write all this. All because three things happened, which are true of all problems, and so the answer to reduce the stress they cause:
1. EVALUATE: I looked at my watch and realised that I was going to be late.
2. BE POSITIVE: “What is good about this problem?” is a powerful question we can all ask ourselves, which enables us to reframe the problem as an opportunity, through a challenge, to be stretched and help us grow. I have dealt with many problems in my life, some of them really serious. The more I do it, the more I become A Person Who Can Fix Problems.
2. SEEK HELP: In this instance I didn’t need it but, with most problems, getting other people involved leads to more creative, effective, and faster solutions. This comes from a fresh perspective, new ideas, and simply the relief of sharing the problem. Sometimes help can be ‘self-help’ – simply writing down the problem externalises it, and so helps to put it in perspective.
4. TAKE ACTION: I ran to get my bus. Acting to fix a problem, no matter how much or how little you do is always better than doing nothing. And an instant stress reducer.
And the RESULTS? I made my train. I fixed my problem.
Problems cause us the most stress when we don’t deal with them. How are you going to use these four steps to sort your stressful problems today?