Stress and The Art of Creative Problem Solving

By September 6, 2011Uncategorized

I watched with interest and curiosity as a friend became incredibly
worked-up over a software malfunction. In what could have been an easy solution soon became a series of frustrating tech support phone calls (lasting days), which only compounded his frustration no end. The expression, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy” came to mind several times. Creative problem solving is one of the most empowering techniques in stress management, because it enables the individual to stop spinning one’s wheels and move on. The biggest impediment to the creative process is the ego, which can either override any idea of merit, or play the “I’m right and I’ll prove it,” game. To get the most out of the creative solving process you have to step outside of the situation (also known as getting “outside the box”) to gain a sense of clarity of not only the problem, but all the possible solutions (and there is always more than one viable solution to a problem). The creative process involves several steps: (1. the search for ideas, 2, the incubation of ideas, 3) the selection of the best idea and 4) making the idea happen). The key is to do them in the right order.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Call to mind a problem that has been camped out on the landscape of your mind for a while, or perhaps has appeared recently. The first step in creative problem solving begins with identifying the problem. How would a child see the problem? How would a person from New Zealand or Australia or an alien see the problem? Once you have a good fix on the issue, come up with a least four viable options as well as one zany solution (zany ideas may not be viable, but they can open the door to new possibilities.) After surveying the list of ideas, select the best one and then put your game plan into action. Remember, there is no room for ego in the creative process. Whereas stress can be immobilizing, creativity is liberating….Be creative! Become empowered!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
My ultimate favorite book on creativity is Roger von Oech’s books, A Whack on the Side of the Head and A Kick in the Seat of the Pants. His Creative Whack Pack is now an App on the Apple store.

Quote for the Day:
“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction. ” —Pablo Picasso

Photo for the Day:
This photo is of a stained glass window located in the Blasket Island Museum on the Dingle Peninsula of Ireland, created to depict the story of the Blasket Islands visually. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D
. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming, A Beautiful World. He can be reached through his website:

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

Author Brian Luke Seaward

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