problem solving

Problem-solving is an effective way to manage stress. Much of the time our stress is due to us dwelling on the causes and consequences of our problems. This is unproductive. To get out of this cycle of rumination, focus on solutions instead. Structured problem solving can help with this. Give it a try using the acronym 'SOLVE' below.


Select a problem:


  •  e.g. I'm craving alcohol right now (and I want to cut back on my drinking)


Identify your Options for solving this problem and the = Likely outcome of each:


  1. Go for a run = temporary distraction, get endorphin high, feel proud for doing it

  2. Drink a little = temporary pleasure, I might just stop there - though I usually don't, and end up drinking more than I should

  3. Drink a lot = temporary pleasure, hangover, regret

  4. Get rid of the alcohol = irritation at wasting the alcohol/money, less temptation


Select the Very best option and take action:


  • e.g. go for run


Evaluate the effectiveness of your solution, and make changes if needed:


  • e.g. The run took my mind off my cravings and I felt less stressed. When I got home though, I got triggered as there was wine in the fridge. I'd better get rid of it.


There are numerous ways a problem-solving. The example above is just one. Find a process that works for you. The most important thing is that you focus on solutions, not problems.


About me

I am a Clinical Psychologist in North Sydney. Please get in contact to learn more.


* Last updated: December 2018.

* The document is for information purposes only. Please refer to the disclaimer.