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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Advice for Problem Solving

Had an ex who tended to add up his distresses that separately were merely a little annoying and together turned into a landslide. In typical Drama Queen style, he would use the process to completely re-evaluate his life, and jump immediately to make the changes, usually to its detriment. Although your problems are more serious than contrived, when things that are bothering you begin to pile up, it's very tempting to add them together - and then your mind ranges from thing to thing in a horrendous circle of "Queen for a Day" sort of way.

Things have a way of working themselves out in the wash. What will happen, happens - and then you can decide what you are going to do about them. I would want to plan the whole thing ahead of time, but sometimes you need to act to get somewhere before you can stand on the previous steps to see the step ahead. Now for myself, I have come to regard worrying as a signal that I need to goad myself to act in some way - that I really care about outcomes and I'm not doing anything about them. Also realize that it's a significant challenge to come up with creative solutions when you are thinking in terms of survival issues.

Taking a cue from the example of the ex, creative solutions come to me easier if I address the fact that I'm upset first and do things that I know will spell effective indulgence and "mini-vacations" for me personally. Once I'm in a much better state - fed, watered, pain-free, comforted, bathed, calm, etc. then I think of my "problems" with a pen in hand and a big piece of paper for a "mind-map" to get everything out. Writing for me helps with stopping the cycling around over and over of the same issues in my brain. Then once they are out on paper, I can stop thinking about them incessantly. It may be another activity besides writing that allows you to "clear your mind" and see the situation with a more objective eye - but perhaps you can make this approach work for you.

Without committing myself to a course of action, also you might do some research about ways that other people have dealt with the same problems. You might access others who seem to have some creative ideas about your issues at which is a website with interesting ideas about how to solve social problems.

Perhaps check out Edward de Bono's creative thinking techniques outlined in his books.
For instance, if it's a decision such as "do I move to where my parent is, or do I move my parent in with me?" - might do a Consequences PMI - make separate lists for the positive, negative and Interesting parts of what could happen, given however many certain possible circumstances.

Anyway - my intent here is just to open up possible solutions for you that you can do for yourself. From what I'm reading, it sounds as if you are allowing the circumstances to run you around instead of exploring how you may be able to influence them. There's sometimes only so much that you can do about certain situations, and then your only option is to wait and ask yourself if there will be consequences to putting off making decisions once the outcomes are there. Helps to be able to anticipate the point of no return when the decision will be made for you unless you act, so you know when your options are closing down.

Good luck!

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