This printable, one of our self control worksheets, will help students consider what things are within their control, and which things are outside of their control.
Knowing what things or circumstances are within your own control, and you therefore have the ability to change, and what things are outside of your control so you have no ability to change them, not only helps with impulse control but also things like emotion regulation and anxiety.
Constantly worrying about things you can’t control can be very frustrating and anxiety-inducing. We should rather focus on coping strategies for things we can’t change so that we can refocus our energy and effort on things we can change.
It’s a similar concept to the serenity prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I have a need to be in control. It’s a big reason I don’t like flying.
I don’t think the plane is going to crash or anything. But, I can’t tell the plane to land if I’m not feeling well and want some fresh air. Much to my dismay, the pilot and the plane are outside of my control.
So I would rather drive 12 hours than fly 1.5 hours because I have total control of the car. I don’t have control of all the other drivers that could crash into me, but I don’t think about that 🙂
Kids don’t have a lot of control over their lives. They’re told when to go to school, when to go to bed, usually what they have to eat, etc. So it’s a good exercise for them to think about what things they can control, like their actions, by doing self control worksheets.
In this activity, students will write (or draw) examples of things they can control inside the circle. They can control how much effort they put into their homework, their attitude towards others, maybe some kids can choose what outfit they wear. Students will then brainstorm things they cannot control and write those outside of the circle. The weather, who their teacher is, when they have a test scheduled, and what other people say to them are all examples of things they cannot control.
Consider pairing this activity with one of our coping skills activities. After completing this self control worksheet, review coping skills they can use to deal with the emotions of things out of their control. Also be sure to discuss the responsibility we have over what we can control, like what we say to others, choosing to cheat on a test, etc.