Is this situation important?
Are you peeved because a co-worker took your favorite disposable pen? Yeah, not important.
Is my reaction appropriate?
Inappropriate: You are steamed because the Little League coach has your child batting seventh. Appropriate: The coach's sports challenged kid bats cleanup.
Can the situation be changed?
Behaviors and situations can sometimes be modified. Changing a person's mind? Exponentially more difficult.
If it can, is taking action worth it?
Classic cost benefit analysis: Calculate if the emotional energy is worth the possible payoff. Most times it is not.
If you can answer "yes" to all four questions, then assert yourself, says Dr. Williams. But if even one is a "no," do not. The time it takes for you to complete the test should be long enough to interrupt your anger response and restore your perspective.