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STRESS MANAGEMENT: How to Reduce Stress with Problem Solving

Updated on December 22, 2014

Managing stress is about being proactive.

Problem solving is one of the stress reduction techniques which directly claim your action and your proactivity.

This means that you must take the responsibility and move yourself out of your comfort zone (which is not that comfortable after all) into the driver’s seat.

Do you work to solve your problems, or are you just dwelling on them?

You may think that others cause your stress or that you have no choice – but in reality you can choose whether to be stressed.

The first step in creating your stress management solutions is to recognize life situations or issues (stressors) that trigger your stress response.

Some people are naturally good at dealing with the sources of their stress. Most of us aren't, but that doesn't mean we can't learn.

Dealing with stress is dealing with change.

Dealing with stress is dealing with change. The question is what changes to make, and how to make them. This is where the problem solving comes in. Unresolved problems at least some of the problems that underlie stress are significant stressors or source of stress for the majority of my clients.

Problem solving is one of the stress management techniques, which involves finding practical ways of changing a behavior, such that the stress/problem is actually reduced or perhaps overcomed completely.

Problem Solving Step by Step

Problem solving is not as complicated as it sounds. It is much easier indeed. The key to your success is to do these steps.

Step 1. Select, identify and specify the problem

This is a very important step because the problem must be clearly identified. A vague feeling of anxiety or stress is hard to tackle. Name your problem and recognize that a problem exists. Make it as specific as possible.


It can be difficult and daunting to specify what your problems are. You can find these useful.

1. Trust your intuition.

2. Talk to someone you trust. It can be friend or a professional as a life coach.

Step 2: Think of alternatives

Choose the problem you have identified during the step 1 and do a brainstorming session. This will help you to think of as many solutions as you can. Write down each solution but at this stage just write them down as many as you can. Don’t reject or censor any. Here's where your creativity is especially important.


If you feel stuck, imagine and consider how others might respond if asked to deal with a similar problem;

Step 3: Evaluate each alternative

Evaluate the pros and cons of each proposed solution and order the solutions from least to most practical and desirable;

Step 4: Select the best solution

Look at your results and decide which of the solutions are worth implementing. There may be more than one.

Step 5: Choose and implement the best alternative

Put into action the best selected alternative. Make plans for carrying out the solution.

What actions are needed to achieve it?

What other changes may be needed? Can any assistance be obtained from friends, colleagues, or a professional?

Then, follow through on your decision by monitoring the results of implementing your plan.

Expect some failures, but reward yourself for having tried.

DeStress tip for a problem solving

Do not start with your biggest and worst problem. Once you find you can solve a relatively small problem you will be better able to tackle your larger ones.

Make sure you start with a problem, which is manageable enough to allow a solution to be found.

The first step in problem solving begins with identifying the problem. How would a child see the problem? How would a person from other country or an alien see the problem?

Whereas stress can be immobilizing, creativity is liberating….Be creative! Play with it! Explore as many problem solving options as you can.

Still dont know where to start?

Start by creating your own Stress Management plan for free.

About the Author

Dr.Inese Millere , M.D. is lifestyle coach in holistic stress management and mindful eating for busy women after 40 who want to be Fit, Balanced and Ageless: to manage stress, stress eating, have a healthy and joyful relationship with food and enjoy healthy living and longevity.


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