Coping With Life: Turn Stress Into Success

Do you ever spend $10 worth of energy worrying about a 10-cent problem? Do you fret so much about things you can't change that you neglect to take charge where you can make a difference?

When you're feeling stressed, ask yourself two questions:

  • How important is it?
  • Can I control this event?  

Put each stressor in the appropriate box below. How you deal with stress depends on where it falls.

Important/Controllable Important/Uncontrollable
Unimportant/Controllable Unimportant/Uncontrollable

Important/Controllable.
Example: You don't like your apartment or house. You can use action skills to take charge. Change the situation by looking for a new place to live or finding ways to make this one better.

Important/Uncontrollable.
Example: Someone in your family has a serious illness. Use acceptance and coping skills to minimize the effects of stress. Discuss the situation with a close friend or seek counseling.

Unimportant/Controllable.
Example: Riding the bus to work is irritating. You can use action skills to change the situation. You can ride your bicycle, read, use headphones or walk to work. You may need to use acceptance skills.

Unimportant/Uncontrollable.
Example: You think that you're too short. You can't change your height, but you can work on making the most of you appearance to change your attitude.