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Monday, August 10, 2009

A problem named is a problem halved

Solving problems is a core part of Arthritis Ireland’s Living Well with Arthritis programme. Here, we outline how to list solutions to problems and work through them Solving problems is a tool, a great skill to acquire and an empowering process to master. As a tool, it helps you to solve an immediate problem. As a skill, it’s like riding a bicycle – once learned, you can use it again and again. And as a process, it involves mastering a number of steps. So, when you come up against a obstacle – such as how to do the shopping or make the dinner - you can engage in the problem-solving process to help you achieve your goal. problem may not be solvable now.

As a first step, identify and name the problem you’re tackling so that you can find a solution that works for you.
Steps towards solving problems:
1. Identify the problem
2. List ideas to solve the problem
3. Select one method to try
4. Assess the results
5. Substitute another idea
6. Use other resources
7. Accept that the

This is the most difficult and most important step. Then think about and list all the possible ways of tackling the problem. From your list of possible solutions, sort out which are the most relevant to your situation and which are realistic or manageable. If the problem is solved – great! If not …

Try another idea from the list. Have a look at the results, fine-tuning what went wrong. Work your way down the list of solutions until you’ve used all the ideas on your list, assessing all the while why a particular solution didn’t work. Were you trying to achieve too much? Were you too tired that day for the solution to work?

You may need to use other resources to help make another list. Ask friends, family, professionals for ideas if your solutions didn't work, then go back to the Problem-Solving Steps, and continue until you’ve used all the items on your new list. If your problem is still unsolved, then…You can revisit it at another time.

You can problem solve anytime you have an issue to tackle or a goal to achieve. Follow the problem-solving steps by yourself, with a friend, or in a group. Working with others is great because you have access to a wide variety of viewpoints and potential solutions. Once you have learned the steps and begun to implement the process, problem-solving will be a new skill, which ou can use at any stage to get the most out of your life.

Originally published in Arthritis Life, April 2009. To subscribe to Arthritis Life, click here:

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