When one door of happiness closes another opens, but we often look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us Helen Keller

Have you ever found yourself ruminating on a problem and feeling you’re getting nowhere with it? The trouble is, the more we focus on an issue the bigger it gets and the more insurmountable it appears. This indecision leads to internal conflict which mounts up and then symptoms of stress illness can result when an outlet is required as the internal emotional ‘pressure’ builds up.

The resulting symptom could be something as simple as a sore throat, a stiff neck, sore feet when you get up in the morning, or a more severe condition like back pain, Fibromyalgia or RSI. Remember, just as you might rush to the toilet when you’re nervous, the emotions caused by stressors trigger symptoms via similar unconscious, automatic nerve pathways. Unfortunately if we then focus our attention or even fear on this pain, then this in itself causes more inner turmoil and exacerbates the problem.

When you are in a low mood or feeling overwhelmed by something, never make any important decisions. Sometimes you need to step back and look at your situation from another angle to find a different solution to your problem.

Try offloading how you feel about the problem on paper and noting down any thoughts related to it, including any ideas, fears, pros and cons of any possible actions etc. Once you’ve done this, focus on other things and just get on with your day wherever possible. Make sure you don’t allow yourself to ruminate on the problem any more by remaining mindful or distracting yourself with something else.

The next step is to make sure you take some time out without any distractions. This could be being mindful, doing some mindfulness meditation, or just sitting quietly without allowing yourself to constantly go over the problem. It’s when your conscious mind is still that you’re unconscious mind is able to process things unhindered and often you’ll find insights come to you and you find a way forward. It’s wonderful how things suddenly come to you when you’re not actually looking for an answer, or you pick up on something you hear or read that you realise could help you find a way round the problem.

Next time you have a problem or realise you have some internal resistance to something try these suggestions and see what happens. It not only helps with problem solving, but can help in reducing or even eliminating pain.