Cause and Effect 

There are two ways in which you can live your life. Either on the cause or the effect side of the equation. Someone who is on the effect side of the equation feels that everything that happens to them is as a result of outside influences “such and such upset me because they said this…” or “I can’t get promotion because I’m not their favourite” etc. Everything is someone else’s fault and generally they expect other to sort out their problems. Teenagers quite often display this sort of attitude but most grow out of it and start taking responsibility for themselves and go onto the cause side of the seesaw. That is where you want to be - in control of your emotions and in control of your life, not just letting it happen. Often it is just a case of changing your thinking patterns. The two questions to ask yourself when in a stressful or challenging situation is “what can I do about the situation now?” and what can I do to stop it happening again in the future?”  
So for example if you are having money problems - if you are on the effect side of the equation you will be blaming everyone and everything else, not sleeping through worry and hoping that it will somehow sort itself out. If you are on the cause side of the equation though - first question “what can I do about it now?” You might contact the people you owe money to and ask them to give you time to pay or work out a payment plan, you might contact your mum and ask her to loan you some money to help you get over this difficult period, you might sell some of your stuff on eBay! The point is that you would actively try to do something to mitigate the situation. The second question “what can I do in future to stop this happening again?” may be to implement a savings plan or a budget to make sure that you don’t overspend and that you have something in reserve for emergencies. If you are stuck in traffic - If you are on the effect side of the equation you should be blaming the traffic, the weather and the car in front of while getting more and more agitated because you were going to be late for work. If you are on the the cause side of the equation - 1st questions “what can I do about it now?” You could look to see if there is another route you can take which may be quicker, if not, perhaps you could phone work and do some of the work that you were going to do over the phone. You could phone your mum to have a chat (best keep on her good side, you never know when you might need to borrow some cash!), you could listen to a podcast and increase your knowledge of something. And the 2nd question “what can I do to stop this happening in the future?” You could leave extra time for your journey so that if you get delayed you have allowed for that, you could check the traffic report before you go so that you can avoid any potential hold ups - you get the idea. 

An exercise... 

When you have a few spare minutes, grab a piece of paper and write down everything that gets you stressed, wound up, upset, or irritated. Now with each of those topics apply these two questions "What can I do about it when it happens?" and "What can I do stop it happening again in the future?" It might mean having a conversation with someone to tell them that their actions upset you. It could be making some back up plans, it will vary from person to person and depending on what it is that gets you stressed. The point is that by looking at these things in a dispassionate and logical way when you are not "in the moment" means that you can think about them with a cool head and are likely to come up with some practical ways to stop them upsetting you so much in the future.  
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