TMT: You might be fabricating some of your problems

Disclaimer: This isn’t always the case, and most problems that we have are real, and aren’t small inconveniences being blown out of proportion. This post isn’t meant to downplay anyone’s problems. Everyone’s feelings and reactions to occurrences in their life are valid. The topic discussed in this post is backed by research that can be found here: Prevalence-induced concept change in human judgment | Science

I once read that humans are problem solvers. We live to overcome challenges and reach goals. That is how we thrive.

When there are no tangible problems, what does that mean for us?

Naturally, we create setbacks for ourselves – mere figments of our imaginations – so that we have something to devote energy to.

Have you ever noticed that when everything starts to seem perfect in life, things begin going downhill again?

Is that because life isn’t working in your favor, or because you’re inadvertently creating your own predicaments? Often times, you will subconsciously create problems that wouldn’t normally affect you, just so that your brain has something to solve.

There is a phenomenon known as prevalence-induced concept change. This term was created by Harvard psychologist David Levari. It describes that as problems become rarer in your life, you begin to expand your definition of a problem.

Let’s say you are moving into a new house, and you have high levels of stress. Your contractor won’t call you back, your painter increased his charging rate, and you can’t find a plumber.

Then, that evening you go to the grocery store and use the self-checkout line. You don’t receive the proper amount of change; maybe you were shortchanged by 5 cents.

Those missing 5 cents won’t matter much, because your mind is already elsewhere, and not receiving your change is insignificant compared to the stress you are dealing with regarding your new home. You might sigh but move on as other things are occupying your thoughts.

Now imagine that you have a nice home, and everything has gone smoothly with your moving process. You are living comfortably, and the same thing happens at the self-checkout line. Chances are, you will call a staff member to assist you, because the machine failed to return the correct change. When you have no large stressors to deal with, your definition of a problem becomes broader, and minor things inconvenience you more.

Now, I suggest that when everything in life seems dandy and something instantly ruins your day, consider taking a step back and shifting your perspective. Is the problem really a big deal, or are you amplifying it?

Stay positive! 🙂



3 responses to “TMT: You might be fabricating some of your problems”

  1. This could not be more true. I tend to fabricate most of my problems and it gets to an unhealthy point sometimes. I will listen to your advice from this post!

  2. Arielle Avatar

    It’s so true, but I think another slightly reversed phenomenon happens commonly also! If something happens, especially starting the day, that is stressful, problematic or otherwise negative, other small inconveniences that would otherwise go unnoticed throughout the day feel monumental because they are adding onto the already negative mindset. Staying positive helps in this situation, too, because it helps to take control of the day and not let it all be defined by that one bad thing!

    1. I agree! Thanks for your comment. 🤍

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *