Being alive means encountering problems, they are just a fact of life, something we all experience every single day.  Of course, they vary in size, from the more trivial such as not having any clean socks, to far more troubling concerns, perhaps with our health or relationships.  How each of us cope with problems depends on our personality types, our life experiences and our current mood or energy levels.  When we are able to resolve problems effectively, we are more successful in life, at home and at work. 

Problems are a good thing 

 It might sound strange but coming up against problems in our lives can actually be a positive. Yes, it can be worrying and stressful and difficult, but overcoming an issue provides us with a chance to learn about ourselves and evolve. Rather like training for and completing a long distance run; it’s hard work and not without obstacles, but once you’ve done it, you feel a buzz, a boost in confidence and the feeling that next time, you could take on something even more challenging!  

How to deal with problems  

Just because we all experience them, doesn't mean we all find them easy to deal with! However, there are a few ways to make the process a little smoother: 

  • Identify exactly what the problem is.  Does it feel unmanageable? Make a list and break it down into smaller parts. 
  • Set goals - don’t get lost in thoughts of what outcome you would like, work out what steps you can actually take to get there. 
  • Get busy brainstorming - doesn’t matter how wacky the idea, try to think of as many possible solutions, you never know what one idea might lead to! 
  • Time to focus - go through your potential solutions and consider what is actually realistic. It could be that something you’ve written down, whilst impossible, might spark another thought? 
  • For and against - now you have your various solutions, think about consequences; for each solution, write a list of pros and cons. 
  • Make a choice - once you have a clearer idea of ways in which you could resolve your problem, make a decision on how to go about it. It could be that one option is a clear winner, or that combining a few different solutions works best. 
  • Go time - no more procrastination!  You may have to steel yourself but tell yourself you’ll give it a go and put your solution into action! 
  • Evaluate - did it work? If you solved the problem, well done! Time to enjoy that feeling of satisfaction.  If not, don’t lose hope, try moving on to one of your other possible solutions.  
  • Time to let go - there are times, unfortunately, when despite your best efforts, something cannot be resolved.  When this is the case, it may be time to let go. Not everything can be changed, not everything is within our power and giving yourself stress and grief over it won’t help.  

 Like many things in life, problem solving is often a process of trial and error.  It’s important to keep this thought in mind, especially when facing something stressful; remember to be kind to yourself and know when to move on.    

 For more wellbeing tips and advice, don’t forget to check out our ‘How to be happy at work’ podcast and be sure to sign up to our newsletter at