Doughnut of Control
Quash worries by thinking about what falls within your doughnut of control!
What you’ll need: Paper, coloured pens or pencils
What’s it for?
This activity will help you think about what is within your ability to control in your life and what is not. This is useful as it will show you the parts of your life where you might be able to make changes to make yourself feel better, and those areas which are pointless to worry about.
Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body.
How are you feeling?
What are you thinking?
How does your body feel?
First, take a moment to think about all the things in your life that cause you stress or worry. Write them down in a stress and worry list.
On a second piece of paper, draw a circle in the middle of the page. Draw a second big circle around the first - so it looks a bit like a doughnut!
Go through your stress and worry list and identify those that you have some control over. These are things that with a bit of effort, you would be able to change, for example: Getting told off because you didn’t tidy your room (you could tidy your room!); Getting dressed too slowly (speed up!); Complaining about new food (try it!).
Write or draw these in the middle of your doughnut!
Go through your stress and worry list and look at the items that are left. These should be items or situations over which you have no control, such as: how other people behave, think, or speak (you can’t control if your brother or sister is annoying!); worrying about the environment (you can do your recycling and raise awareness but on an individual level you won’t have much impact); or if you have some official obligation, like attending school.
Write or draw these down in the outer ring of the doughnut.
Look at your whole Doughnut of Control. Looking at the things you placed in the centre, you can change those things - try the next time the situation arises; looking at the outer ring, you can’t change those things - try not to worry about them. Focus on what you can change!
Extra Activity: Discuss your worries and stresses with a concerned adult or older sibling. Often talking about what upsets us helps us to feel a bit better.
When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:
How easy or challenging was it to think of your stresses and worries?
Was it easy or challenging to sort out your stresses and worries into the two different categories? Are some of them not very clear?
Now that you can see what you do have control over, what would you like to change in your own behaviour?
How does it feel to see all your stresses and worries ordered like this?
Do you feel you have more control over your doughnut?!
This activity helps you to identify and sort through your stresses and worries and to discover what is possible to change and what is not. This can give you the power to change what is within your control, and worry less about the stuff that isn’t.
Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you discover anything surprising? What can you take away to make you feel better about yourself from this activity?
If you would like to, share something about your experience with this activity with someone you live with! Ask the person who looks after you to send us an email if you have any questions or comments about the activity, or would like to send us any pictures (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!
Created by Ian Grundy © April 2020
Creative Arts Used: Art, Creative Writing
Psychological Areas Explored: Self-Exploration, Emotional Wellbeing, Anxiety
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These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.
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