What can you control in your life?

woman in rocking chair taking control

Stressed by a litany of minor events, I’d been thinking about what I needed to do next to get myself back on track. Stress does dreadful things, not only to our minds and equilibrium, but also to our bodies. Time for a reset!

I always expected that, by the time I got to my eighties, life would be peaceful and calm. The process of ageing would, magically, reduce stress. I’m obviously cued into all those images of smiling old women in rocking chairs!

Perhaps age does work wonders for some of us but life still throws curved balls and we still react. At least, I do.

Last year, I wrote a blog about first aid for stress.

My first aid tips

  • Deep breathe. The obvious first action.
  • Drink some water.
  • Distract myself – walk around the block
  • Recite the Serenity Prayer, a long-time favourite.
things you can control, Serenity Prayer

First aid works well in emergencies, but there must be follow-up care. Praying for acceptance may be a good thing, but most of us want solutions and action. We want to be in control of our lives. At least, I do.

Serendipity to the rescue

Scrolling through my Facebook feed might have left me feeling even more unhappy, until I came to a graphic posted by novelist Kate Forster that really got me thinking.

You might like to check out Kate’s website, and follow her on her page for fun and for life- and writing-tips. And read her books!

Finding this graphic was such a fortunate event that I can only think of it as serendipity because I wasn’t looking on Facebook for answers, but to fill in time. And there it was!

Serendipity, according to the American Psychological Association,

is the knack of making fortunate discoveries by accident. Serendipity is often considered a characteristic of the creative scientist.

It’s also a characteristic of writers, thinkers, all creatives and people consciously seeking answers to problems.

Kate Forster’s post – things you can control

Here’s a copy of the graphic that changed how I think.

Picture of things you can control

There are other things that could be added to the list. Long term, all the things we know make us healthy also help us control our reaction to stress.

A sensible diet, exercise, regular sound sleep, enjoying friends and family, belonging and something to do – all of these help.

Being grateful for what we can control leaves us feeling better about what we can’t. Working on what we can take charge of provides a sense of relief.

Did you find this helpful? Please leave your comments.

9 replies on “What can you control in your life?”

  1. Fabulous post, Maureen. I love Kate’s graphic, and how clever to write about it.
    It’s so very true. And a timely reminder. I find such relief in letting go, especially of things I cannot control. Recent events have proved to be great lessons and affirmation of what Kate Forster depicts.
    I do hope you have an amazing week.

    1. Hi, dear Susan. I found this bunch of comments in my spam file. I’m not sure what to do about it, because I thought I’d fixed the problem. Thank you for your comments, and I’m glad you found the blog helpful. Thank you also for your kind wishes. It would be lovely to catch up a soon as you have breathing space. I miss the face to face contact.

  2. Kate’s graphic is a great reminder and thought-starter.
    When you begin making a list of the things you can control, you become more empowered with each one.

    Seek peace,


    1. Hi, again, Paz. Yes, I loved the graphic, but after I’d written the blog I began to think about more and more things I could have added. I agree, the more things on the list, the more empowered you become. A way to peace, I think. Peace be with you, also.

    1. Thanks for commenting Moira. It has served me well in my endeavours to lead a peaceful life.

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