How to Handle Problems with the ABCDE Method

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how to handle problems

Considered part of positive psychology, the ABCDE Method is a systematic way to handle adversity and solve problems.

Be Alive to your Problem

First, wake up! Be alive to your problem on the inside and out. Do NOT resist your problem by denying it or wishing it weren’t so. It is so! Wake up! Deep breath! Be alive to the problem and own it.

Befriend your Problem

Huh? Yep, befriend it. Talk to the issue within yourself as if you were friends. Welcome the problem and all that goes with it. So what? You have a new friend that you thought was a problem. Good for you!

Consider Solutions

Only after you become alive to and befriend your problem will you open up to real solutions. Prior to this, you were invested in being your problem’s victim.

Do you know what self-victimizers want more than anything? To feel justified – blameless. In other words, as long as you could consider yourself an innocent victim, you were willing to suffer.


Now that you’ve considered solutions from a non-victim, problem-friendly point of view, you can (and should) decide what to do next.

Should you go on as before but without this burden?

Will you change course because of something learned?

Something else?


Now, go for it. Return to the status quo and get back to living or change course, or whatever. You’ve successfully processed your problem. Congrats! Now, move on.

Further Reading

For another take on the ABCDE Method, see this Career Acceleration Coach post on handling anxiety.