What I Can Control

Humans have the ability to worry about something that hasn’t happened yet—and trigger a real stress response—just by thinking about something!

We also have the ability to ruminate over past situations—things that are over and done with—and trigger a real stress response—just by thinking about something that has already happened.

The more we worry and ruminate, the more we feel overwhelmed. And the more overwhelmed we feel, the more stressed we get. It’s a vicious cycle.

We can choose to put our energy into the things we CAN control.
By switching our focus to what we can control, we can put our energy into problem solving rather than worrying about the future or ruminating about past events.

Activity: create a list or diagram

  • What I Can Control
  • What I Can’t Control


Things I can control Things I can’t control
Who I hang out with
What I wear
What I read
Comments I make on social media posts
What other people do
What others think about me
The future

For the artists out there, you can extend this activity and make colorful posters.

The way we think affects how we feel. When we allow ourselves to focus on the things we can control, we feel happier and are better able to handle stress that comes our way.