How to Cope in Situations You Have No Control Over

It’s weird how…

the anxiety and the fear usually do more damage than the outcome.


  • A relationship has come to an end
  • You are being made redundant
  • You have to move apartment
  • The weather might mean the big day is called off…

These things are out of our control.

But a wise woman once gave me some great advice on how to cope with such situations:

Can you control the outcome?

Is this in your hands?


Well let it go then.

Feeling like you have no control when a situation is affecting your life in such a profound way can be really difficult to cope with.

It can take you to breaking point.

There comes a point where many people slip into depression. Some turn to alcohol or drugs, others just simply run away.

It takes its toll on your mental health.

But before you get to that point, you have to let go.

You have to accept that this is happening, or has happened, and that there will be a future beyond this, as long as you’re still alive.

It’s an easy thing to say, particularly in hindsight.

But logically, if you think about it, this is the only way to move on and give yourself a chance at being happy.

And a lot of people don’t move on.

A lot of people live their lives through the lens of “things would be so much better if only X hadn’t happened”.

But this is your life. Bad things will happen.

And these things don’t always turn out as bad as you think they will.

In fact, if you can centre your mind for a moment and think back through your life at the many great challenges you have overcome, you will see that good things did follow the bad.

These catastrophes (at the time) led to many life experiences that you enjoyed, or became a better person for.

Indeed, there is growth in these experiences.

The One Thing You Can Always Control

We can’t always see the woods for the trees, which is absolutely understandable.

But how much of your mental stability you invest in trying to control a situation you can’t control is up to you.

So really, when you think about it, there is something that you can control here.

You can control how much you let this situation control you.

This thing is going to happen / probably will happen, but might not be as bad as you think, or as bad as it could be.

So accept that it is going to happen. And accept that there is going to be life after this.

In life after the event, you will have control over things that happen:

You will be able to set the direction and the pace of change. And as much as is possible in life, you will be able to choose the pathway that you walk.

Learn to Control the Mind, Not the Uncontrollable

We don’t get to control every aspect of life.

Indeed, some could put forth a very good argument that we don’t control anything.

But we can control how much we let something affect us.

The mind is very powerful and it takes a lifetime to learn to tame it. This is part of our personal growth journey.

We have to learn to understand our mind’s trajectory: how we respond to situations and why we respond in a particular way.

We know that our thoughts and feelings and the subsequent behaviors that arise are a result of life programing from a very young age.

All of our negative and positive experiences are stored in our subconscious mind and these dictate the way we respond to life on a daily basis.

However, if we can recognize these negative thoughts and feelings when they begin to creep into our minds, we can take action to pre-empt and control the prevailing behaviors and outcomes.

The Bottom Line

If you’re experiencing a situation at the moment where you feel helpless, like something is slipping away from you, or that you are being subjected to something that you can’t control – let it go.

The worry and the fear is likely to damage you more than the event itself.

Because all the worry and anxiety in the world is not going to stop it happening – either in full or in part.

And you don’t even know how bad it will be.

And if it is as bad as you think, where will your life be this time next year, or the year after?

You simply don’t know.


I want to caveat this post by saying that if you are being affected by abuse such as bullying at school, abuse at home (physical or mental), you do not need to accept or let this go.

You should absolutely reach out to a teacher, the police or a good friend and seek the help that you need to get away from this situation and have the perpetrator dealt with.


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