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## Sudoku for Beginners: How to Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Are you a beginner when it comes to solving Sudoku puzzles? Do you find yourself frustrated and unsure of where to start? Fear not, as we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to improve your problem-solving skills through Sudoku.

## Understanding the Basics of Sudoku

Before we dive into the strategies and techniques, let’s first understand the basics of Sudoku. A Sudoku puzzle is a 9×9 grid that is divided into nine smaller 3×3 grids. The objective is to fill in each row, column, and smaller grid with numbers 1-9 without repeating any numbers.

## Starting Strategies for Beginners

As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to look at an empty Sudoku grid. But don’t worry. There are simple starting strategies that can help you get started. First, look for any rows or columns that only have one missing number. Fill in that number and move on to the next row or column with only one missing number. Another strategy is looking for any smaller grids with only one missing number and filling in that number.

## Advanced Strategies for Beginner/Intermediate Level

Once you’ve mastered the starting strategies, it’s time to move on to more advanced techniques. One technique is called “pencil marking.” This involves writing down all possible numbers in each empty square before making any moves. Then use logic and elimination techniques to cross off impossible numbers until you are left with the correct answer.

Another advanced technique is “hidden pairs.” Look for two squares within a row or column that only have two possible numbers left. If those two possible numbers exist in both squares, then those two squares must contain those specific numbers.

## Benefits of Solving Sudoku Puzzles

Not only is solving Sudoku puzzles fun and challenging, but it also has many benefits for your brain health. It helps improve your problem-solving skills, enhances memory and concentration, and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In conclusion, Sudoku is a great way to improve your problem-solving skills while also providing entertainment. With these starting and advanced strategies, you’ll be able to solve even the toughest Sudoku puzzles. So grab a pencil and paper and start sharpening those brain muscles.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.

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• Problem Solving

## How to Solve a Problem

Last Updated: April 3, 2023 Fact Checked

How you deal with challenges will often determine your success and happiness. If you’re stuck on how to solve a problem, try defining it and breaking it into smaller pieces. Choose whether to approach the problem logically or whether you should think about how the outcome might make you feel. Find ways to creatively approach your problems by working with other people and approaching the problem from a different perspective.

## Approaching the Problem

• For example, if your room is constantly messy, the problem might not be that you’re a messy person. It might be that you lack containers or places to put your items in an organized way.
• Try to be as clear and thorough as possible when defining the problem. If it is a personal issue, be honest with yourself as to the causes of the problem. If it is a logistics problem, determine exactly where and when the problem occurs.
• Determine whether the problem is real or self-created. Do you need to solve this problem or is this about something you want? Putting things in perspective can help you navigate the problem-solving process.

• For example, you might have several problems to solve and need to decide which ones to tackle first. Solving one problem may ease tension or take stress off of another problem.
• Once you make a decision, don’t doubt yourself. Be willing to look forward from that point on without wondering what would have happened had you chosen something else.

• For example, if you need to turn in many assignments to pass a class, focus on how many you have to do and approach them one by one.
• Try to combine and solve problems together whenever possible. For example, if you're running out of time to study, try listening to a recorded lecture while walking to class or flip through note cards as you're waiting for dinner.

• For example, if you’re trying to pass a cumulative test, figure out what you already know and what you need to study for. Review everything you already know, then start learning more information from your notes, textbook, or other resources that may help you.

• Pay attention to know these scenarios make you feel.

• For example, if you have a deadline, you may skip cooking dinner or going to the gym so that you can give that time to your project.
• Cut down on unnecessary tasks whenever possible. For example, you might get your groceries delivered to you to save on shopping time. You can spend that time instead on other tasks.

## Taking a Creative Approach

• If you’re making a complex decision, write down your alternatives. This way, you won’t forget any options and will be able to cross off any that aren’t plausible.
• For example, you might be hungry and need something to eat. Think about whether you want to cook food, get fast food, order takeout, or sit down at a restaurant.

• Problems like accepting the job across the country that offers good pay but takes you away from your family may require different ways of approach. Consider the logical solution, but also consider your thoughts, feelings, and the way the decision affects others.

• For example, if you’re buying a home and not sure how to make your final decision, talk to other homeowners about their thoughts or regrets about buying a home.

• For example, if you’re having financial difficulties, notice how your efforts are affecting the money coming in and the money you’re spending. If keeping a budget helps, keep with it. If using cash exclusively is a headache, try something else.
• Keep a journal where you record your progress, successes, and challenges. You can look at this for motivation when you are feeling discouraged.

## Managing Your Emotions While Confronting Difficulties

• The first step is often the scariest. Try doing something small to start. For example, if you're trying to become more active, start going for daily walks.

• For example, if you’re overwhelmed by having a long to-do list, maybe the problems isn’t the list, but not saying “no” to things you can’t do.
• If you're feeling stressed, angry, or overwhelmed, you may be burned out. Make a list of things that cause stress or frustration. Try to cut down on these in the future. If you start feeling overwhelmed again, it may be a sign that you need to cut back.

• Find a therapist by calling your local mental health clinic or your insurance provider. You can also get a recommendation from a physician or friend.

## Expert Q&A

• If you start feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, take a breather. Realize that every problem has a solution, but sometimes you're so wrapped up in it that you can't see anything but the problem. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
• Don't turn away from your problems. It will come back sooner or later and it will be more difficult to solve. Common sense can help to reduce the size of the problem. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

## You Might Also Like

• ↑ https://hbr.org/2017/06/how-you-define-the-problem-determines-whether-you-solve-it
• ↑ https://www.cuesta.edu/student/resources/ssc/study_guides/critical_thinking/106_think_decisions.html
• ↑ https://au.reachout.com/articles/a-step-by-step-guide-to-problem-solving
• ↑ Rachel Clissold. Certified Life Coach. Expert Interview. 26 August 2020.
• ↑ https://serc.carleton.edu/geoethics/Decision-Making
• ↑ https://www.britannica.com/topic/operations-research/Resource-allocation
• ↑ https://www.niu.edu/citl/resources/guides/instructional-guide/brainstorming.shtml
• ↑ https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/N_R/Problem-solving
• ↑ https://www.collegetransfer.net/Home/ChangeSwitchTransfer/I-want-to/Earn-My-College-Degree/Overcoming-Obstacles
• ↑ https://psychcentral.com/lib/5-ways-to-solve-all-your-problems/
• ↑ https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/understanding

To solve a problem, start by brainstorming and writing down any solutions you can think of. Then, go through your list of solutions and cross off any that aren't plausible. Once you know what realistic options you have, choose one of them that makes the most sense for your situation. If the solution is long or complex, try breaking it up into smaller, more manageable steps so you don't get overwhelmed. Then, focus on one step at a time until you've solved your problem. To learn how to manage your emotions when you're solving a particularly difficult problem, scroll down. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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## Problem solving

Sometimes, it is not enough to just cope with the problems – they need to be solved.

Most people engage in problem solving every day. It occurs automatically for many of the small decisions that need to be made on a daily basis.

For example, when making a decision about whether to get up now or sleep in for an extra 10 minutes, the possible choices and the relative risks and benefits of obeying the alarm clock or sleeping later come automatically to mind.

Larger problems are addressed in a similar way. For example: “I have tasks that need to be done by the end of the week. How am I going to get them all done on time?”

After considering the possible strategies, 1 is chosen and implemented. If it proves to be ineffective, a different strategy is tried.

People who can define problems, consider options, make choices, and implement a plan have all the basic skills required for effective problem solving.

Sometimes following a step-by-step procedure for defining problems, generating solutions, and implementing solutions can make the process of problem solving seem less overwhelming.

Step 1: identify and define the problem.

• State the problem as clearly as possible. For example: “I don’t have enough money to pay the bills.”
• Be specific about the behaviour, situation, timing, and circumstances that make it a problem. For example: “I need to pay the phone and gas bills, and I don’t have enough money to cover both this month.”

## Step 2: Generate possible solutions

• List all the possible solutions; don’t worry about the quality of the solutions at this stage.
• Try to list at least 15 solutions, be creative and forget about the quality of the solution.
• If you allow yourself to be creative you may come up with some solutions that you would not otherwise have thought about.

## Step 3: Evaluate alternatives

• The next step is to go through and eliminate less desirable or unreasonable solutions.
• Order the remaining solutions in order of preference.
• Evaluate the remaining solutions in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.

## Step 4: Decide on a solution

• Specify who will take action.
• Specify how the solution will be implemented.
• Specify when the solution will be implemented. For example: tomorrow morning, phone the gas company and negotiate to pay the gas bill next month.

## Step 5: Implement the solution

• Implement the solution as planned.

## Step 6: Evaluate the outcome

• Evaluate how effective the solution was.
• Decide whether the existing plan needs to be revised, or whether a new plan is needed to better address the problem.
• If you are not pleased with the outcome, return to step 2 to select a new solution or revise the existing solution, and repeat the remaining steps.

Problem solving is something we do every day.

Some problems are small or easily solved - others are more complicated and can seem overwhelming.

One way of tackling problems is to use a specific and systematic problem solving procedure. If you’ve tried to solve certain problems without much success, try these steps out and see if they help.

Learning to solve problems effectively will help you to minimise the level of stress in your life and improve your overall sense of well-being.

Try it out and see.

## Where to get help

Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI)

• 9.00am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday
• Phone: (08) 9227 4399
• Email: [email protected]

Visit healthdirect (external site) or call 1800 022 222, mental health emergency response line (mherl).

• Metro callers: 1300 55 788
• Peel: 1800 676 822
• Rural and remote areas 1800 552 002
• Most people engage in problem solving daily.
• Sometimes following a step-by-step process to define problems, consider options and make choices can make problem solving less overwhelming.
• You can always talk to your doctor or mental health practitioner and ask for help.

## This information provided by

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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• Problem solving

## A step-by-step guide to problem solving

Let’s face it, having to deal with problems can really suck, making you feel paralysed and out of control. Whatever the scale of your issues, there are steps you can take to feel more in control. And while you might not always make the right choice, you can learn how to feel comfortable with the decisions you make.

## This can help if:

• you’re facing a difficult problem or decision
• you’re feeling overwhelmed by your options
• you want to learn how to make better decisions.

## Why problem solving is useful

Whether you’re at a crossroads with a decision, or you’ve got a problem that’s wearing you down, if you approach the issue proactively, you can avoid those crappy feelings of self-doubt and hopelessness. Focus on what you can do, instead of the things that are out of your control, and feel satisfied that you’ve done the best you can.

## 8 steps to problem solving

Step 1 . Define the problem. What exactly is going on? Sometimes a problem just seems too big to tackle. However, if you make a list and break it down into smaller parts that you can make a start on solving, it’ll feel more manageable.

Step 2 . Set some goals. Focus on the steps you can take to resolve things, rather than just thinking about what you’d like to happen. Maybe you wish you had more money. Make a list of all the ways you can save or earn more. It could mean walking to school rather than taking the bus, or applying for a part-time job.

Step 3. Brainstorm possible solutions. Be creative and come up with as many solutions as you can think of. Some ideas may be way out there, but don’t worry about evaluating them yet. If you want to solve a conflict you’re having with your parents by escaping on a rainbow unicorn, write it down! Keep an open mind and list anything that comes to mind, plausible or not.

Step 4. Rule out any obvious poor options. Okay, reality check. Evaluate your list of ideas and rule out the ones that are unrealistic or unhelpful. Bye-bye, rainbow unicorn. But how about trying to see things from your parents’ point of view? That option should probably stay on your list.

Step 5. Examine the consequences. Go through the options you’ve got left and for each one write a list of their pros and cons.

Step 6. Identify the best solutions . Now it’s time to make a decision. Look at your list of options, and pick out the ones that are most practical and helpful. There may be one obvious solution, or some might work in combination.

Step 7. Put your solutions into practice. Have faith in yourself and make the commitment to try out one of your solutions.

Step 8. How did it go? So, you tried it out. What happened? If you had more than one solution and the first didn’t work, move on to another one.

## What to do when you can’t fix the issue

Despite your best efforts, you may still not be able to fix something. If you’ve tried a few strategies but haven’t had any success, you might try to focus on your coping skills instead, to help you deal with things as they are.

If you’re experiencing a lot of negative feelings because of your issue, it’s important to look after yourself. Take time out to do something you enjoy. You might also find it helpful to talk to someone you trust who can give you moral support. If your situation is interfering with your day-to-day life, it’s a good idea to get some professional help .

## What can I do now?

• Grab a notebook and start brainstorming ideas for solving the problem.
• If a solution is proving to be elusive, focus on your coping skills .
• Talk to someone you trust about your problem and see if they have any insights to offer.

## Explore other topics

It's not always easy to find the right place to start. Our 'What's on your mind?' tool can help you explore what's right for you.

## Related topics

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