The 3-Question Exercise To Quit Obsessing About ANY Problem

Something is on your mind and you can't stop worrying about it. It could be a problem at work, in a relationship, a health issue, money problems- whatever it is, it's consuming you.  How will this turn out, you keep wondering? What should I do? What if this, and what if that? Why is this happening? What's it gonna take to figure this out? All you want is for this to be resolved already.

Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.

-Alfred A. Montapert

The thing about problems is that they force us into the unknown- we don't know how things will turn out and how the result will impact our lives.  When we are faced with uncertainty, we get uncomfortable and insecure. And what happens when we are insecure? We lose perspective. The only way we can look at our problem is through a lens of fear. 

So what can you do to regain perspective, release yourself from the all-consuming grip of the problem you're facing, and transition from fear and nagging worry to feeling in control and at peace in your current situation? I offer you a 3-Question Exercise that will help you see your situation more clearly, approach it in the most effective way possible, and end up with the best possible result.  How does that sound?  Good?  Then read on!

You will need:

A notebook, journal or blank sheet of paper

A pen, pencil, marker, crayon (whatever floats your boat!)

A desire to handle this problem like a badass!

Step One:

On a blank sheet of paper, create 3 vertical columns. At the very top of the page, above all three columns, leaving a bit of room, title the page after your problem (ie. I've been falsely accused of stealing at work)

Step Two:

Title column one 'What do I have control over?', Title column two 'What influence do I have?, and Title column three 'What is completely out of my control?.

Step Three:

Start with the first column, take your time, and write down EVERYTHING you can think of that belongs in that column.  Once you feel you have thought of everything possible, move on to column two and do the same.  Then column three. 

Once you have answered the questions for each column, take special note of the things related to your problem that are totally out of your hands.  Say, out loud, to yourself, 'I have no control over these things, and I surrender to this truth. The things/people are what/who they are, and the consequences will be what they will be.' Take a deep breath. Now take one more, and accept this reality consciously.  

Next, turn your attention to the things in the first two columns.  Begin a fresh page in your notebook or journal, and make a list of goals related to the the items you can control, and then the same for things you can influence.  Perhaps there are conversations you can have, people's help you can solicit, things you can do to help steer things in a positive direction. One thing you always have control over is how you'll react to a situation or outcome: make sure to identify how will you respond, in thought and action, in all the various potential outcomes.  Envision each possible result (that you can think of) and decide how you'll handle it.  Make sure to write it all down. 

Step Four:

Remind yourself that you can handle this and that you're equipped to face and get through it. You are stronger than you know, and you're about to realize just how strong you really are.

Problems are a normal part of life.  The important thing is that you welcome challenges. Why? Because you are a damn warrior, that's why.  And warriors live for a good challenge. There is no challenge too great for you. Believe. Live that. Welcome the mud, baby. Make it your playground.

Let me know what you think! Did this exercise help?  How so?  How did you feel afterward?  I want to know!  Please share your experience in the comments or email me directly with your thoughts.  I'd love hear from you!