Let’s face it, you have control over two things: Your own thoughts and your own behaviour. Understanding where you clearly have control can be strengthening. Here’s an example:
You are in the office and someone approaches you with a bit of gossip about a co-worker, Joan. The gossip includes some rather harsh remarks about something you are passionate about. Joan has decided that she will not support the annual cancer drive because her time and money are devoted to juvenile diabetes. You might become defensive, antagonistic toward Joan, and begin forming alliances with others who share your conviction. The truth of the matter is that you have no control over what Joan values. What you can do is enthusiastically support your cause and have respect for Joan and her cause.
Another example of control awareness might go something like this. You arrive home from work and realize that the sanitation department did not pick up your overflowing trash container that morning as planned. You can either: 1) fuss and fume, call the city, leave a scathing message, and threaten to leave your trash curb-side until someone picks it up. Or 2) you can recognize that the trash was overlooked, call and ask what your next steps should be. Should you leave the trash curb-side, or should you roll the container back into your garage? You really have no control over the fact that the trash was not collected. What you can control is your response.
The question to ask yourself is this? Do I have any control over this situation? If I do, what are rationale steps I can take to resolve it? If not, am I willing to let it go? This practice in and of itself will reduce most people’s stress level by half.