Coping with change and stress

Use the circles of control activity when feeling overwhelmed.

What are circles of control?

When events or changes in our lives seem overwhelming, it can be difficult to make decisions about what to do next.


Many people find the circles of control activity helps them to cope and make plans, even when they are feeling worried. Now watch the video, and complete the circles of control activity:

Try the activity

Try this with a small problem first, then with a larger, longer term challenge. Notice if the circles change.

  1. Think of something you are finding difficult at the moment. Or, something you are anxious, apprehensive or worried about that has not yet happened.
  2. How might using circles of control help you?
  3. Could your circles change over time?

Next steps

Research more ways to feel in control

  • online
  • at your local library 
  • by talking about it with people you know. 

Make a list. Which might work for you? Compare these with the circles of control activity. Which ideas do you feel most confident about? Try some out, and come back to this page.

What worked for you?

How do you feel after trying them? What might you do differently – and what will you keep doing? Might this circles of control activity help anyone you know, who might be going through a difficult or stressful time? Consider sharing it with them.

More resources you might find useful

The British Red Cross has created a range of resources for building confidence and connecting with others. You can find out more about the project, or click the links below to get started.

Make connections

Build coping skills