Structured problem solving is a useful means to manage the symptoms of anxiety/depression as these symptoms are often the result of an inability (or perceived inability) to deal effectively with problems. The following can be a useful guide in improving such skills:
- Identify the problem (try to break it down) and define it.
- Step back from the problem and try to view it as an objective challenge.
- Brainstorm possible solutions (realistic and unrealistic).
- Think about each solution in practical terms, and evaluate the pros and cons.
- Decide on the best solution (and a second, ‘back-up’ solution).
- Put the solution into action.
- Evaluate how effective it was and whether it can be improved.
- If it can be improved, put improved solution into action.