Emotional Fitness

Harness the power of emotion to deepen your love with your partner, become more successful at work, and more

Solve Problems Naturally

A life without problems isn't being fully lived.

Sometimes, it seems, life can be best described as learning how to get from one problem to the next as gracefully as possible. For most of us still standing on planet Earth, every day produces a variety of challenges. It's not how you look at it or what your attitude is; it's actually more about accepting that life is never going to be perfect.

The drive for perfection is not a bad thing. But when something throws you off and causes you to emotionally shut down and spurn a loved one or walk off the field in a huff when your team doesn't win, it's a sign that your priorities may be out of order.

Some people are great at helping us solve our problems. Our trusted loved ones, as well as numerous professionals, can give amazing advice, but those same people may hit a wall when it comes to dealing with their own issues. No matter what someone else tells us, the resolution of any dilemma still rests on our shoulders.

Sometimes our problems can best be solved by the passage of time. This does not mean you should ignore your bills. It means that a night, or even a few days, can actually make a big difference in what you choose to do.

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If you can't resolve the problem by sleeping on it, try writing down your feelings about the issue. You can also list the pros, cons, and alternatives. These tried-and-true techniques actually help you release uncomfortable feelings by getting them out of your head and onto the paper. This gives your mind some extra space to look at things differently.

Viewing a problem from another perspective is also a very productive technique. Asking yourself "How would someone I respect deal with this?" can help you to see things differently. Imagine the person in your head and listen to what he or she would say.

When your life seems to be dominated by difficulty, it's also important to refrain from negatively judging yourself. It's easy to blame or be shamed, and the truth is that sometimes, no matter how well you plan, things go wrong. Taking difficulty in stride is much easier when you see it as a part of normal life.

Dealing with the emotional aspects of an issue can be hard. If your feelings are causing you to obsess or be anxious, try diverting your attention. Almost any activity will do. If you're tired, take a nap. Your brain will work better when you let go of the stress.

Whatever your issue, these tools can make it easier, but perhaps the best advice is to remember that a life without problems is one that is not being fully lived.

 

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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