Problem-Solving Anything and Everything: Tool Kit 

“Houston, we have a problem”

– Apollo 13

Everyday a new challenge comes our way. We sometimes welcome our challenges, and sometimes, they surprise us when we least expect it. This article is intended for readers interested in learning to become problem- solvers. There is no question everyone can benefit from learning creative strategies to resolve his or her struggles and leap over the obstacles life throws your way. As this article unfolds, skills will be presented in a self-management approach, emphasizing self-reliance, mindfulness, and self-acceptance. Always, be sure to discuss the tools reviewed in this article with your therapist and psychiatrist before implementing them in your living envi ronment.


Self-Reliance 

For persons carrying a mental health diagnosis, and people with limited independent living skills learning self-reliance will be critical in in promoting your own capacity to self-manage and make effective decisions about your life without the help of a case manager, or family member to manage your everyday affairs. So, how does a person learn self-reliance? The answer is threefold: planning, insight- building, and intact judgement. So, if the problem is finances or budgeting, and you don’t want to rely on a representative payee or someone to manage your finances, make a savings plan, identify spending patterns that work, and make a decision based on outcomes. This also has other applications . For instance, the same basic formula can be applied to mindfulness exercises.


Mindfulness

There is no question mindfulness is essential to problem-solving more complex issues that may unfold throughout your day. Also, mindfulness can play a vital role in problem solving management of symptoms and issues related issues to your mental health diagnosis. Thus, effective use of mindfulness skills to target your active symptoms and self-manage is a great go-to strategy for problem solving shifts in mood, problem thoughts, bizarre thoughts & paranoia, and many other features associated with mental health diagnoses. Just as with the self-reliance exercise, mindfulness can be broken down into three basic parts to gain mote control over unmanageable symptoms. So, begin planning opportunities to reflect and pause on your problems. When you do reflect, try utilizing an insight driven, deductive style that realizes problems as opportunities to learn more about yourself and how you could potentially self-govern more effectively in the future. Once you’ve spent time thinking, self-assess: are your decision making skills on point or is third party consultation necessary like a therapist to confirm you are ready to self-manage this aspect of your life on your own. Managing our emotions and thoughts on our own is a goal all persons set for themselves, diagnosis or undiagnosed.


Self-A​cceptance 

The most important tool of all to problem solve barriers to your independence is radical self-acceptance. Understanding your limits and strengths goes a long way in resolving issues that could jeopardize your independence. As always, planning for obstacles ahead that historically prove challenging to resolve, and those problems that you know could emerge should be targeted first. Plan to deal with the problems you know are ahead, that you know are tough and might need a few days of thought to resolve effectively. Self-acceptance requires insight. Knowing your strengths and limitations requires a fundamental ongoing personal inventory driven by insightful awareness of the self. Ultimately, if your judgement is intact, and outside counsel isn’t necessary, accept what is and forget about what’s not in your control. Hopefully, as you practice these skills, you will rely on outside counsel less and less and self-manage more effectively as you sharpen your skill set.
Apollo 13

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