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Using the problem-solving framework

It’s normal to be worried. Worry can draw our attention and energy to urgent problems that need solving. But worry becomes an issue when it stops us from solving problems or when we spend time focusing on things we can’t control. Here, we share STAND skills for responding to worry over a solvable problem, reducing the time we spend worrying and how much those worries affect us.

First, when you notice your thoughts returning to negative outcomes, ask yourself two questions:

  1. What am I worried could happen? Be in touch with what is causing the worry.
  2. Do I have control over what could happen? In other words, is it solvable?

These two questions help us know which strategies might work better.

STAND Tip: Managing worry over a problem you can't solve

Problem-solving framework

Just because a problem can be solved doesn’t mean it’s easy to solve. We can even put off taking action because we aren’t sure what to do. This problem-solving framework created by Raphael Rose can help us decide what we should do:

  1. Write a clear, specific description of the problem. Identify the who, what, where, and when.
  2. Brainstorm solutions, as many as you can. All options should be considered.
  3. Rate the solutions. Consider pros and cons: time, effort, cost, possible negative consequences and the need to rely on others.
  4. Pick a solution. Choose one with the fewest cons and that can be done quickly.
  5. Make an action plan. Detail steps including the who, what, when, where, and how.

On your own: Walk through our problem-solving worksheet

Employ this problem-solving framework when you realize your worry concerns something solvable, as often as you need. Remember, worry over these kinds of problems is normal and able to be overcome with the help of this framework.

Downloadable resources to use on your own

Information Sheet

Managing Worry

Fillable Activity

Problem-Solving Worksheet