I often have to do this with myself as well. When I am feeling grumpy, stressed, frustrated, or upset, it's easy for me to focus on the immediate thing going on, rather than the underlying issue. Whether conscious or subconscious, I'm not always honest with myself at first...and I am always grateful for friends who ask me the right questions to tease out my deeper thoughts and motivations.
"I don't want to do this!"Is there something you don't understand about it? Is there something else going on that is stressing you out? Has something happened in the past that makes you feel like this won't be a good experience? What is the part that you are dreading the most? Why?
"I'm so stressed out."What is stressing you out? What parts of it are under your control? What parts are not under your control? Do you need to take a quick break to refresh your mind? Are you getting enough sleep? Eating well? Is there something else going on in the background that is increasing your stress level? What would help you feel better? Can you do anything small right now to feel like you are moving forward?
My natural instinct is to want to focus on the specific issue, to give advice, or share a related story from my own life, but I am trying to become more of a question-asker (both in my own thought life and with others). Along with helping figure out what's really going on, it communicates to people that they are heard and valued. It suspends judgment and seeks more information, honoring the fact the people usually have a reason for their actions/feelings.
As a person who is in a coaching role now, it is so important for me to help others discover their own answers instead of "being an expert". I want to help us focus on the bigger issues, not just the symptoms that bubble up from day to day.