Being able to answer the question "What is the real problem?" is the first step towards solving it. Accepting the problem and selecting what is to be solved is the second step. These two are probably the most important steps towards finding the real solution(s) to any problem.
I recently had a situation where I felt confused and overwhelmed. I was in a situation where I knew something is wrong and I need to solve it but didn't know how or what to solve.
I am usually interested in reading quotes, that morning I found this;
“It isn’t that we cannot find the solution. It is that we cannot see the problem”.
Soon after I saw that I had a lightbulb moment that made me change the question from; What is the solution? to, What might be the problem?
Drawing an example from my own routine, I find it hard to deal with lots of pressure and sometimes it affects my mental state.
From this, I decided to learn more about how best I can take care of my well-being especially my mental health. While researching, I came across shocking statistics and very interesting insights on this topic. According to Basic Needs organization “Less than 1% of the Tanzanian health budget is spent on mental health. Of the estimated 2.5 million people in Tanzania that suffer from mental illness, only 20% have access to mental health services.” There was also another research done by PesaCheck which shows that the total number of psychiatric cases recorded in the health system increased from 20,000 in 1999 to 685,788 in 2008. After 10 years and with that growth rate, I can only imagine the current figure. This is one of the biggest problems that need to be addressed.
With so much going on; personal life, work, community issues and the country at large, it makes our mental health a topic we tend to overlook which in return, costs us a lot. Reflecting on my own experience, I think we usually make a mistake of giving our mental situation different names which makes us not to see what is the exact problem that we should solve. We normally put ourselves in the trap of "I'm confused” or “I am stressed” but most times we use these words unfittingly. This goes to the extent that we allow these thoughts to steal our moods and affect our work, career and even relationship with others.
It is not true that every time when we do not really understand something then it means we are confused...or stressed. Sometimes, we are just distracted or mentally disorganized. As I said before, knowing what exactly you need to deal with is very important for your mental well-being. In every situation, our mental makeup usually comprises of these three scenarios;
- 1.Confusion: This includes not having clear priorities because what is ahead does not look clear and we end up being indecisive.
- 2.Distraction: This includes having hundreds of small things that pull your attention away from the main goal/ objective.
- 3.Disorganization: This includes lack of orderly thinking that leads to unproductive results or experiences.
Thus, we must learn how to separate these three and identify which is which when it happens. This can make a huge difference in managing our mental life; which is a basic necessity.
I acknowledge that the spectrum of problems that affect our mental health varies from person to person. We have variations on how we use our minds when dealing with things but I hope you will agree with me that, in the end, our common goal is clarity. From our thoughts, chaos and pressure that fills our mind every day, it is important for us to find clarity. On our pursuit of clarity, the majority can’t afford a psychiatrist or other means when facing different mental situations, but for sure with this little education narrated in this article, we can all deal with our problems in the right manner.
Here are simple ways on how best you can find clarity when you find yourself in any of the situations mentioned earlier.
- 1. Confusion is solved by getting your priorities straight.
- 2. Distraction is solved by getting better at focusing your attention.
- 3. Disorganization is solved by throwing out nonessentials and tending to do the important things first.
Remember, we are talking about your inner life, therefore achieving clarity isn’t something derived from just doing this.
There might be a number of other factors like spiritual, emotional or financial issues that you have to deal with to arrive at the solution that will bring clarity to your life. Sometimes, the solution does not lie in attacking the problem directly which is why you need to sort your thinking in a more orderly, focused way. It is advised to find a way to let the mind become orderly, focused, and clear on its own.
Your brain is your body’s engine, hence service it properly.
By Amani Shayo on 17 Sep 2020
By Amani Shayo on 14 Jul 2020