There are three ways to deal with problems: emotion, appraisal, and problem-focused coping. Let’s take a look at problem-focused coping and when it should be used.

I hate when life throws a curveball, don’t you? Well, when problems occur, it makes sense to tackle that problem as soon as possible. After all, it’s the peace, joy, and love of life that we crave. So, among the three ways to handle problems, we want to understand how problem-focused coping works, and when it should be used. Because it’s problem-focused coping that gets to the root of the situation.

How to use problem-focused coping

It’s simple, really. Problem-focused coping basically hands you the facts and lets you approach the problem head-on. It bypasses all the emotion and analyzation and gets straight to the point. It’s easy to learn this type of problem-solving and it’s quite effective when used correctly. Here’s how to use this coping strategy.

1. Face the problem

The first thing you have to do is face the situation. Facing the situation helps you to see the truth and create a solution with the truth in mind. It’s simply amazing how the bold facts can mold how we fix a problem. It takes bravery to do this, but when it’s done, you may experience a freedom like never before. After all, the source of the problem is now gone.

2. Reassure yourself

Remember, if you are going to use the problem-focused coping strategy, you must be aware that others may try to criticise you and damage your self-esteem. You must be strong if you use the direct approach, and you must be able to look the source of your stress in the eye and continue to do what it takes to get rid of the problem. Always reassure yourself of your worth when removing unwanted stressors.

3. Remove the problem

Then, you take action. You have to remove the source of your stress if you’re going to use problem-focused coping. Being able to remove the root of the problem eliminates negative situations that could arise from tolerating things the way they are. Not being able to remove the problem means the issues will more than likely remain, and soon enough, you will be unhappy again.

Also, not removing the problem can lead to manipulation because you have made a statement with your non-action. When you don’t stop someone from causing problems, then they will always do it again, and they will act much worse the next time.

When to use problem-focused coping strategies

Well, the truth is, you cannot always use problem-focused coping. There are times when getting rid of the problem just won’t work. That’s when you will need to use either appraisal or emotion-focused coping. For now, however, we will look at when it’s appropriate to use our strong-willed method.

Abusive situations

Problem-focused coping must be used when abuse is present. During abusive situations, there is no better resolution than to remove the stressor from your life. No, it might not be easy to remove an abusive parent from your life, but it’s possible. Abusive situations rarely work themselves out, so it’s important to face these things and get rid of them as soon as possible.

To improve your health

If you’re in a relationship that’s less than perfect, you may have started having problems. You could even be in the wrong union. If the relationship is not meant to be, your health will start to reflect that fact. That’s when problem-focused coping may be useful.

Unfortunately, your partner is the stressor and your partner may need to go. But before you kick your boyfriend to the curb, make sure this is the real reason for your health problems. If not, it could be something totally unrelated. You have to learn how to differentiate between the two.

Negativity is compounded

If you’ve noticed misfortune falling upon your head on a “more than” regular basis, then it could be time for problem-focused coping.

For instance, if you keep having bad luck at your job, then maybe you’re in the wrong place, to begin with. It could be time to get rid of the job you have now and focus on finding a more suitable profession. It also works this way with intimate relationships as well. You will know it’s time for problem-focused coping when nothing ever goes right.

When things get complicated

During times of chaos, you may want to reason out problems or appraise them in search of value, but you might be wasting your time. When things get complicated it’s best to utilize a simple approach and get rid of what’s causing the uproar. Never place an emotional solution over a complicated problem. The bandage will not fit.

It’s the simplest and cleanest solution

The thing with problem-focused coping is that it’s simple. You take the source of your problem and you do away with it. The death of a loved one cannot be fixed in this manner, no, but so many other things can be.

The most important thing to remember is this: Always keep your head up and stand strong in your decision-making process. Whether you take something out of your life or simply change the way you see it, it’s up to you. Just make sure you go fearlessly into whatever issue you may have.

I wish you the best.



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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Gary Hynous

    There is an old theorem called Occam’s Razor. In essence , it says that the simplest solution is usually the best. Your choice of solutions should also contain the fewest assumptions. Generally you will arrive at the right coarse of action.

    1. Sherrie

      Thank you, Gary. That is a wonderful way to look at problems. I am guilty of making assumptions so much of the time. Most of this comes from carrying baggage from past relationships and things of that nature. I am a work in progress in this area. I will try and remember, the next time a problem arises, that I should have more of an open mind and take things more at face value. I think my problem is also overthinking.

  2. fintan

    what is appraisal and how to use it?

    1. Sherrie

      Hello, Fintan.

      Utilizing appraisal is much like finding anything of use out of your problem. You take a step back and try to see the problem from another perspective and then try to see if there is anything good coming from the situation. Every problem teaches us something. We just have to try our best to take away the most beneficial parts from what has happened.

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