Don't forget to forget your troubles once in awhile. Methods to directly and methodically deal with your problems are great, but sometimes what you need is to stop obsessing about the problems and distract yourself. Get your mind off it. Sometimes that's the fastest way to solve a problem.
Of course, you and I know if you've got a serious problem, you have to think about it. You can't ignore it. And you can't really deal with problems by trying to stop thinking about them. But even with a serious problem it can still help to take a break from thinking about it once in awhile. And for a minor problem or an unsolvable problem, the real problem is only that you keep thinking about it.
Entertainment — something that engages your mind and preferably makes you laugh — takes your mind off your problem. Sometimes a problem doesn't seem as much of a problem when you come back to it after a pleasant break.
If you get a few laughs, it can have a surprisingly helpful effect. Experimenters have found that people are better at solving problems and demonstrate more creativity after watching a funny movie. So again, even with a serious problem, it is effective to take a break and have a few laughs because you can come back to the problem with more ingenuity — a greater ability to solve the problem.
As a bonus, it makes you healthier, which also improves your ability to solve problems. When you're sick, everything is more difficult, including solving problems. The researcher Lee Berk, for example, examined people in a year-long rehabilitation program for cardiac-disease patients. About half of them received the standard therapy. The other half received the standard therapy plus watched humorous videos that they selected themselves for thirty minutes every day.
The patients who watched funny videos experienced fewer symptoms related to their disease, such as arrhythmias.
Movies, music, performances, plays, etc. — these are good ways to temporarily forget your troubles. I don't recommend television because of the constant interruption of commercials. They give you too much time to think. Movies allow you to become engrossed in them and that's what we're looking for: something engaging enough to take all your attention. Ideally you would have an enjoyable period of time when you actually forgot you had a problem. It gives your body a break and allows you to look at the problem again from a fresh perspective and in a better mood.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.