Top 10 Steps to Treating a Problem
When you are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired what should you do? Most people wait and hope for the symptoms to go away, which will only push the inevitable away. Eventually, you have to face the facts that your efforts aren’t working and need to do something about them, but what? Depending on the ailment, it is important to address the symptoms head-on.
If you have a physical ailment, treatment must be addressed physically. Prayer only will not help because you need to treat a physical ailment physically, not spiritually. Taking the action steps along with prayer is the best solution. We say: “God meets us at our point of action.”
As you will read, underneath a physical wound are usually found underlying mental and emotional problems. So the best course of action would be addressing problems physically, mentally, and emotionally simultaneously, or basically treating your whole self.
This mindset pertains to thought and emotional problems. A thought problem is basically having poor outcomes just in the way you think. If you believe that yelling is the best way to solve a problem and it keeps getting you nowhere, you will need to change the belief, change to being calmer, and see if that new behavior works. Where an emotional problem is believing that people are better than you are, that the world would be better without you, or feeling there is an impending doom no matter what you do. These emotional problems, if not treated, can lead to substance use and suicide. Is there hope?
There are many different ways to treat your problems and here are the top ten ways in which to do so.
1. Get a Medical Check-Up
Yes, this can be anxiety-provoking, but honestly, many problems have their roots in medical conditions. My grandmother was having depression for years, went to the doctor, found out her thyroid was not working efficiently, was put on medicine, and for 50 years she was a ball of fire!
2. Change Your Diet
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you aren’t feeling well, it’s probably because you are eating and drinking bad things. If pain killers, sleeping aids, and all your medications aren’t working, it’s because you are putting the wrong fuel into your tank. A Nutritionist can be the most important item to treating a problem. After a while, the cravings for junk food and substances will fade and this new diet will become your normal. With more energy often our mood lifts.
3. Go Through Counseling
Just because you are not your 100% self doesn’t mean you are damaged beyond repair. All people should go to counseling since it helps us purge old wounds, helps us learn new ways to address problems in our lives, and it includes somebody else in our mind. The latter statement is important to understand. If we only look at life through our lens it can be very limiting and problematic. Allowing another person inside gives us a sounding board of someone who is neutral and won’t hold this information against us – by law.
4. Treat a Problem Four Ways
This was mentioned above. Take care of your physical health through diet, exercise, proper rest, and relaxation. Care for your mental health through exchanging negative thoughts with positive ones. Care for your emotional health by supporting and loving yourself through thoughts and deeds. No, it isn’t selfish to care for you. If you are not caring for yourself, you won’t have the energy to care for others. And, care for your Spiritual Self. When was the last time you communicated with Our Creator? Spirituality is basically having a vision of the life you want to lead, a practice of learning from mistakes, and forgiving yourself for past actions that caused problems for yourself and others. It is a belief that problems are a blessing if we learn and grow from them.
5. Social Needs
Often left unaddressed, nurturing our social needs is extremely important because we are social beings. If you find it difficult to connect with others, never felt like you knew how to do so, then again counseling is the key. In developmental psychology, the ability to bond with others is the first developmental task. If this was not achieved, you will have difficulties in doing this in your lifetime. Watching T.V. and doing Zoom meetings have separated us from the emotional need to bond with others. At a minimum, learn how to bond in counseling, first with the counselor, as you let this person in. If you can’t, find another counselor.
6. Practice Better Communication
The downfall of relationships is the lack of communication. The number one communication skill is not talking but listening. So often people are formulating quick responses because they are defensive and want that person to back off! In listening, you are honoring what the other person is saying. The mere fact that they are saying something means it is important to them. If you really care about that person then use your ears and repeat back to them what you heard them say. My father said, “You have two ears and one mouth.”
7. Set Goals
If you are doing the same rituals every single day, life can get pretty boring and predictable – don’t you think? Many come into therapy because they recently retired and have nothing to do. Setting goals is the key to your self-care, vocational direction, and family direction. Lack of direction in a relationship spells doom. What would you like to experience? Dare to dream. Jot down what your dreams are and ask your partner and kids to do the same. Compare notes and come up with a plan. This should add a lot of spice to your life.
8. Take the Action Steps
Dreaming is one thing, but taking action steps towards the dream is the key. What do you want? What are the easy things for you to do today that would bring you closer to this dream? Do it!
According to Behavioral Psychology, rewarded behavior is often repeated. When you follow through on an action step, praise yourself. If somebody does something wonderful praise them. How often are we stuck in the process of judging ourselves and others for our shortcomings? I believe the phrase – “What is the worst thing that can happen?” has ruined us. In doing so we keep focusing on the worst things and keep creating them. How’s it about focusing on the best and praising it when it happens? My mom told me, “I have all the faith in the world you will be a success.” Well, that kept pushing me forward. If my mom was to say, “You always forget to take out the trash (which I did) what is wrong with you!” I wouldn’t have the confidence that I have today. If you didn’t have support from family as you grew up, then counseling is a must.
10. More Stuff
For me, the biggest tool that worked for me was writing myself a letter. “Dear me…” I was really great at saying what I thought others wanted to hear. I thought I was really great at BSing myself. When I had reached my bottom in my last relationship, I wrote out an honest letter to me, which didn’t blame her for making me feel this way or that, but honestly wrote out my true feelings, it showed me that there was some honest work I needed to do on myself. Of course, I wanted to blame it all on her but relationships are two ways, it’s not only one person that makes it bad, it takes two. So, in eating a full plate of Humble Pie, I began to work on my side of the fence.
I hope this list helps you out. Please write out any other items you feel didn’t get addressed.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.