Problems in everyday life are normal and it’s OK to feel anxious when faced with a challenging problem. Having easy strategies can help you work through most problems in a systematic way to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
These seven simple steps can help you make sense of what is going on and to reach a solution.
The seven steps
- Identify the problem. It may help to write it down and break it into smaller parts. You may like to ask someone you trust to help you with this process.
- Pick a manageable problem you want to address first.
- Look at the benefits of working through the problem. For example, what will it be like when the problem is addressed?
- What options are available to help address your problem?
You may like to brainstorm a number of options, so you have a few to choose from. Then make a pros and cons list for the top choices. Choose the most achievable solution.
- Identify any obstacles you may experience as you begin to address your problem and work out some solutions.
- Once you’ve decided on a course of action, implement your plan as quickly as possible.
- Afterwards, reflect on what you did and think about what worked and what didn’t work as well, learning what works for you for the future.
Putting it into Practice
Still not sure how to use the seven steps? Here is an example from one caller.
Pam called for help after gambling and feeling overwhelmed about paying all her bills
“I have so many bills I don’t know how to start paying them” she explained to her counsellor.
Pam found the seven steps helped her work out a manageable plan to tackle her bills.
- Pam identified the problem and broke it down into all its parts. By writing down each bill she realised they were not all due at the same time.
- By prioritising her bills, Pam’s problem was more manageable. She paid the bills in the order of when they were due, and looked at what was due in the future.
- Next Pam looked at the benefits of working through this problem systematically. She formed a plan for the future so that she would be more in control about paying bills in the future.
- Pam looked at the options available to help address the remainder of her bills. Pam brainstormed some strategies to help work out a plan to pay these other bills.
- Pam identified any obstacles that could stop her from paying these bills. She reflected on what her phone counsellor had told her about the benefits of seeing a financial counsellor to help her stick to a manageable plan.
- She actioned her plan by calling for an appointment with a financial counsellor for additional support. Pam was able to work with this counsellor and after a few months Pam was on top of her bills. Pam also had an ongoing plan with support from a financial counsellor and specific strategies to pay her future bills.
- On reflection Pam could see the importance of breaking down her problems and seeking help.
Try not to get discouraged if your problem is not resolved immediately. It’s usual to try a few options to see which provides the best solution. Problem solving in this way may not come naturally to everyone; by working on your skills it will become easier!
Remember gambling can seem like a quick fix, but in the long run it’s not an effective way to solve problems! Support is always available and can be a really important part of making a change. If you’d like to chat to a gambling counsellor about working on your problems, please call the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858.