Have you ever tried to solve a problem only to be overwhelmed by a feeling of anxiety and worry to the point that you cannot find any solutions? Are you trying to become a better problem solver instead of worrying?
Worry is incredibly powerful and can completely sabotage you mentally, preventing any forward momentum.
The good news is that you can learn to transform anxiety-fueled habits into productive and effective ones. All it takes is a little effort and some courage, but of course, it is more difficult than it sounds. Regardless, here are 7 habits that will turn you from a preoccupied into a problem solver.
1. Define problems precisely
Problems can be overwhelming if you don’t define them, and worse, even if you’re not overwhelmed by them, the lack of a proper definition can lead you to address the wrong topic. Irrelevant information is one of the key things that gets in the way of positive problem solving, even in simple situations.
If you want to get to the root of a problem, you need to know exactly what is going on. Dig deep, beyond surface level, to find the real reason behind a problem. One way to do this is through the “5 whys” procedure. It involves asking “why” repeatedly to the problem, progressively moving from one point to another until the answer is found. For example:
- Why 1: Why do I always end up sending poor quality work? It’s because I procrastinate.
- Why 2: Why do I procrastinate? I don’t feel motivated to do anything until the last minute.
- Why 3: Why am I not motivated until the last minute? Work stresses me out, so I don’t want to do it.
- Why 4: Why does work stress me out? I find it overwhelming.
- Why 5: Why do I find the work overwhelming? Too many things are accumulating at once.
Problem definition: I am overwhelmed by a large amount of work, so I put things off until it’s too late to do high-quality work.
Solution: You should break down work tasks into small mini-goals, to make them feel more manageable.
Finding the root of the problem empowers you and your problem-solving skills, preventing anxiety and worry from taking root. It shows you that you can break down any problem to its core and find the solution for them – just a few “why”!
2. Learn positive communication
Those who worry tend to be poor communicators, spending their time doing their best to avoid being implicated and tend to shut down to avoid additional anxiety. If you want to solve problems, you want to communicate well with others. After all, sometimes you have more positive results of collaborative problem-solving efforts!
This is because many problems involve other people. Poor communication, misunderstandings, and general disagreements can lead to difficult problems and situations. To resolve these circumstances, your communication skills must be precise. Here are some habits to internalize to improve communication from problem solving:
Good practice for problem solving effective listening techniques and habits. They use empathy and put themselves in the shoes of others to genuinely understand where they come from. They give people the benefit of the doubt for the most part and acknowledge the statements of others, without ever invalidating them.
Verbal and non-verbal communication are crucial for group problem solving. Learning to articulate your thoughts in a positive, non-accusatory way while maintaining open and neutral body language is crucial. It takes some practice, but you can start by using statements in “I”, such as “I feel …”, “I think …” and “I think …”.
Don’t pass the blame
Pointing fingers at others is a sure way to increase tensions without finding a solution. People are naturally defensive when accused, and throwing responsibility around instead of taking ownership and accountability will only delay problem resolution. Admit where you went wrong, don’t create problems for others, and look for solutions instead of looking for new fights.
3. Creating uncertainty
Certainty is comfortable. But it is certainly not useful. Those who care often create a space that is comfortable only for themselves, and they remain within the inner realms of their comfort zone forever. It’s a never-ending cycle of fear and it makes sense – uncertain situations can trigger stress responses.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to know everything because it is impossible to control life and the world. But that only contributes more to the fear that those concerned feel. The more they try to control their comfort zone, the more everyday and inevitable moments of anxiety take over and lead them to hide even more.
That’s why problem solvers don’t just learn to be comfortable with things that aren’t comfortable. More than that, they actually strive to create instances of uncertainty. They enjoy challenges because they put their minds to the test, making them that much more adept at handling problems when they arise out of their control.
Learning to be comfortable in uncertainty to the point of seeking to create it sounds unusual. But that also brings you many experiences that you would otherwise be afraid of. You have the opportunity to actively pursue the things that you are normally too scared to do because you are looking for uncertainty everywhere anyway, why not prosper as well?
Narrow thinking is a problem solving killer. To find genuine solutions, you must be able to consider things outside of your typical paradigm. The worriers spend a lot of time in their own little bubbles, and you need to have a much broader concept of finding solutions if you really want to solve problems. Here are some ways to do it:
List several solutions
When you brainstorm, make a list of as many solutions as possible, even those that don’t seem worth it at first. Don’t feel silly for writing absolutely everything; you can remove the unusable ones pretty quickly after the brainstorming session.
Explore other ideas
Your initial thoughts may seem like the obvious answer, but thinking about other perspectives and ideas can provide more innovative options. Talking to other people, thinking outside the box, and properly considering all angles is a great way to expand your possible options. Without thinking of alternative ideas, you end up stuck in patterns of repeatedly doing the same thing, which can make your worry worse.
Do some reverse engineering
Thinking backwards is a surprisingly good way to transform worry into productivity. Essentially, it allows you to visualize the desired result, thereby enhancing positive thinking and decreasing anxiety. You can then go back from that result to find the steps that lead to it.
5. Believe in improvement with a growth mindset
Those who worry tend to be catastrophic. To them, everything looks like the end of the world, making it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a common experience for people with depressive and anxiety disorders. The reduced positive thinking This catastrophizing can form an unhealthy cycle in which you don’t try to improve because you think everything is useless.
A fixed mindset is a mindset in which people believe that circumstances are static and unchangeable or that they cannot do anything to improve them. It also denotes a closed mind, where a concerned person will not be open to learning from misfortune or expanding their ideas based on new information.
On the other hand, a growth mindset is one that involves a belief in improvement. It denotes someone willing to learn as they go, hone different skill sets, and enthusiastically face and solve problems. Then once the problem has passed, they know it from experience and get better.
Those who care have a fixed mindset. Instead, problem solvers have a growth mindset and will always seek to improve. If you learn to find opportunities to learn and grow even in difficult situations, you will be much better at managing and finding solutions to adverse conditions.
6. Reduce the ego
Ego It prevents you from solving problems because it puts you in a high and powerful position. This means your:
- They are not open to learning new things
- Refuse to accept your part in problems
- Insist that your methods are the best, even when they are not
- Denying the existence of problems to begin with
- I need to be constantly right
But what does this have to do with worrying? High ego levels are often related to some kind of defensive mechanism. Many people use protective egos as a method of managing their anxieties. If this describes you, then you should know that this ego is actually getting in the way of your learning process.
7. Rethinking problems and obstacles
Problems are common in life, and those who worry tend to get bogged down with them. The trick to handling them is simple: learn how to rethink them! Of course, this is easier said than done, but it is a valuable learning habit if you want to get better at problem solving.
Those who worry, when they run into problems, especially those for whom they feel responsible, may feel that they are failures or that they have failed. They may experience emotions such as:
But when you approach problems with positive thinking, you will be able to get out of those bad feelings and see the situation realistically, allowing you to better deal with them naturally. Instead of sinking into a negative pattern, when you see problems arise, learn to frame them in new ways. So tell yourself:
- This is not functional; what else can I prove
- I must ask for help in order to learn from others.
- That went wrong; How can I avoid a recurrence?
- That didn’t go according to plan; How can i learn from this?
- This is difficult for me, but the challenge will help me grow.
Worrying being able to consume everything and allowing yourself to control it can create difficulties in everyday life. Sometimes problems can become more important and troublesome if you are full of anxiety. Adopting habits that turn worries into solutions is a beneficial skill, so learn these habits, and you’ll be all the better at finding innovative and effective ways to overcome obstacles along the way!