General Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

How do you stop feeling sad about the things you cannot change?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7887points) December 22nd, 2010

If you’ve already accepted that you can’t change it, but you still feel sad, how do you stop?

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35 Answers

tedd's avatar

I’ve tried just about everything….. When you find something that works, let me know.

chyna's avatar

Try to keep busy doing things that occupy your mind so you won’t dwell on the thing making you sad. Hang out with family and friends doing fun things that make you forget your troubles. Read a good book, get totally engrossed in a good movie. Eventually, the sadness will dissipate and maybe eventually totally go away.

everephebe's avatar

Um, suicide?

Ok, seriously I would give up on dispair and give in to hope. Hope and tedtalks You can change the world. Baby steps, small movements. Sad can change into mad and mad into motivated.

partyparty's avatar

Try to occupy your mind with other things. Take each day at a time.

This is called The Serenity Prayer. Hope it helps:
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

skfinkel's avatar

There is a part of loss that requires mourning, and it can be for situations, places, as well as people. I think mourning must be respected and paid attention to. Realize that that is what is going on, and allow yourself to fully experience the loss. Time will make it better. If you go into a deep depression, that is something else.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Distract yourself. It’s hard, though. Especially at night…..

Coloma's avatar

Right, as @skfinkel

You MUST fully go into your feelings, not run from them, medicate them, divert them.

The only way out is through, and…I have discovered that when you do allow yourself to fully go into the moment it passes pretty quickly.

It is resistance to fully experiencing your feelings that keeps you stuck.

Also watch the ‘stories’ your mind creates about ‘not being fair’ or any other number of negative and self pitying mind stories.

Ego wants to ‘personalize’ everything and behaves as if the universe has hand picked YOU to receive the lions share of life suffering. Not true!

There is NO experience on earth that is of a ‘personal’ nature, it just is, and everyone gets their share of unhappy and painful times.

Just sit quietly with your feelings when they arise and let them be.

Do not create an indentity out of your ‘suffering.’

I swear to you, IF, you can stick with these uncomfortable moments they WILL pass through you like a breeze and you WILL exoereince a deep and profound peace.

‘The peace that surpasseth all understanding.’

I am not religious but there is truth in those words, absolute truth!

Remember…‘what you resist, persists.’

Let it be. ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Coloma Very nice…but…there are certain situations in my history that just rip me to shreds because I didn’t fight harder, but no one can change the outcome. Mom’s dead. It’s hard to just let that flow….

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Coloma's avatar


Sounds like you are ‘suffering’ from guilt. Forgive yourself!

Maybe some therapy would be a good idea.

Everyone dies, there is no human alive that will not die.

2 years, 20 years, 90 years…life is short, honor your mothers memory but do not beat yourself up over what ‘might have been’, what could be, if only…..

Would your mother have wanted you to spend years of your life in pain?


Honor your mothers memory by living the best life you can, that’s what anyone that loves us would want!

misstrikcy's avatar

@Coloma that’s a little insensitive I think…

marinelife's avatar

When you are overcome by sadness, take a moment to give thanks for the good things in your life. No matter how bleak the life there are good things that we can give thanks for. Refocusing will change your mood—move you out of the sadness.

But as others have said above, some things you just have to grieve. So some sadness is inevitable.

Coloma's avatar


I don’t see it that way, it is simply meant to be motivational, and it is all true.

I am one that honors anothers feelings but I don’t believe in molly coddling mind stories and false beliefs. ;-)

Coloma's avatar


Do you struggle with this all the time, or, do you think the holidays are triggering your unresolved grief?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Coloma All the time. Holidays don’t trigger anything because….after my folks divorced when I was 20, they moved to opposite sides of the country, and we had no more holidays with them. I’m saying, there aren’t any memories of holidays that I’m missing.

czarinacleo's avatar


Try to forget those things that you can’t change… I honestly feel sad about something that I can’t change right now, so I just try to keep myself busy… Surf net, read something that will make you happy… reconnect with friends… check your childhood photos and other activities that will boost your happiness.

misstrikcy's avatar

@Coloma One of the things you said earlier was:

“There is NO experience on earth that is of a ‘personal’ nature, it just is, and everyone gets their share of unhappy and painful times”.

But according to who?

I’m just wondering how you can tell someone that the death of their loved one (that is truly personal to them) is not of a personal nature to them.
I totally agree that this is something that we all go through…. I get that bit. But we dont die as annonymous individuals, we die as a named person with an identity, who had a life, who probably had a family that loved them very much.
It doesn’t really make me feel anybetter to hear someone say,
“c’mon, get over it, we all go through it. It’s not just you…” which is how you’re sentence translates to me.

But hey ho, I’m a simple girl

Dutchess_III's avatar

@misstrikcy There are also the circumstances surrounding that person’s death. I mean, my Dad died unexpectedly, but….it just happened. It was just his time, I guess.

misstrikcy's avatar

@Dutchess_III Same here, but it was my mum. I have so many unanswered questions that only she could answer… drives me nuts sometimes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@misstrikcy I hate that! I’ll learn about some world event that happened before I was born….and I can’t ask my parents about it!

Coloma's avatar


I see.

Well…try to remember the mantra of ’ when we know better we do better.’

You must come to beleive that you did as much as you were capable of while your mother was alive. I think maybe talking to someone might help if this has been a longterm thing that you feel is coloring your present moments.

I went through a divorce and lost my mother and uncle within a few years of each other back around 2002. It was a rocky road for a few years but it forced me, through my suffering to have some major awakenings. Hang in there!


Death is not personal, it just is.

This doesn’t mean there is not sadness, but people do not die to cause ‘personal’ greif for their loved ones.

The ‘identity’ we die with is a story, a construct, a belief system.

Animals do not die with an ‘identity’, we GIVE and assign an identity to things which personalizes them far beyond reality.

A goldfish just is, an expression of life, the ONE life…it is only when we name the goldfish ‘John’, give him a birth certificate and assign an identity to ’ John’ the goldfish do we suffer when John dies.

I am coming from an expanded way of thinking here, how can anything be ‘personal’.

Most of our pain is self created in somehow clinging to the false beliefs that we should, somehow not experience universal pain.

Pain happens, suffering is optional.

Suffering is born from what we tell ourselves about a situation, not so much the situation itself.

misstrikcy's avatar

Yes death is a fact of life. But, my mum’s death IS personal to me…. Fact!

I am not confused.
I do not believe she died to cause me or my family grief. She died of a Brain Tumour.. Fact!
The identity we die with is a FACT. People are facts. I am a fact. We’re not like flippin Goldfish… we develop personalities.
And sinse when have ‘People’ been a ‘belief system.’ I thought we were a species with a vastly superior brain…
I thought you were insensitive because you seemed to be de-personalising peoples grief. My opinion hasn’t changed.

Grieving is a fact of life, a process we all go through, and it’s individual to us and always will be. Let people grieve if they want, dont rubbish them for it just because you think you know better (expanded thinking and all that).

I’m late for work so I’m done now.

Coloma's avatar


Well, I guess you told me!

I never claimed there is not a grieving process, only that, suffering is optional. That is a fact as well.

That is exactly what I am doing, ‘de-personalizing’ ..I am simply saying that we buy into a belief system that mandates how things ‘should’ be and then we feel suffering when life events do not line up with the illusions. Fact.

We ‘should’ live to a ripe old age, we ‘should’ marry, have kids, buy a house, live to 100….and we ’ shouldn’t’ deviate from this in any way or we have been victimized.

When the FACT is that life happens and it follows no linear and perfect course that matches up with what we beleive ‘should’ be.

The suffering is CREATED beyond the basic greif of the fact of death, because we somehow feel we ‘should’ be exempt from any unhappiness.

I am simply expressing another way to look at at a situation and in no way am I minimizing the pain of @Duchess.

No need to over react, nothing personal. ;-)

Trillian's avatar

Allow yourself to feel sadness. It’s not a bad thing. It will lessen with time, and you will have integrated that experience into who you are. Everything is a process through which there are no true shortcuts. Unless you’re numbfrom the neck up, you will have emotions that are not always pleasurable. Thinking that you can avoid them or find a remedy to cue them is a western misconception.

Kardamom's avatar

You may not ever completely get over the sadness from situations that cannot be changed. But the trick is to get up and get out and fill your life by serving others. Make yourself busy and useful by doing good deeds for others. Help some elderly neighbors with their Xmas decorations or by shoveling their walks or cleaning out their rain gutters or by cooking some meals for them or helping them to clean their houses. Find out if the local shelters need any help with meals (prepping, serving, cleaning up afterwards) Go down to the local animal shelter and see if they need anyone to help walk the dogs or groom the pets or muck out the stalls. Go around your neighbor hood and collect blankets and canned food for the animal shelter and/or the food bank.

Start making a list of things that you can get out and do to occupy your time and make a difference for someone else. You can’t wish away your own sadness, but you can always step in and give a little joy to someone else who is suffering.

Coloma's avatar


Excellent reminder!

Nothing gets us out of our own heads faster than finding a way to be of service to others. ;-)

bpclaura's avatar

Here’s the original Serenity Prayer:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Some things we CAN change…but SHOULD we? Therein lies the question.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m not sure if it does anything permanent but when in the full thrall of a down then I try to write down for myself what it is that’s bugging me, what I’ve tried to do to alleviate the feeling surrounding it and what if anything can be done to lessen the feelings. Sometimes the answers to myself have been of the selfish kind and I’ve dismissed them at first but other times I tell myself it’s okay to feel what I feel and to try for what I think will feel better and worry about how worthy it is later. I do know the more I slow myself with self talk or self dissecting then the faster I get out of the funk.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Pay more attention to what you have.

cak's avatar

Considering that I miss my Dad so damn much that it hurts to breath, sometimes, I don’t know that I have the answer. I do know that Friday (Christmas Eve) would have been his birthday. I’ll be having a beer for him, and a bratwurst. That was our thing, and a football game. I try, very hard, to allow the tears; but then I follow the tears with something that makes me laugh that he would have said or done, it seems to be the best medicine.

I say don’t deny the feelings or ignore them; however, don’t deny a happy thought. I think I spent months thinking that if I laughed, I didn’t miss him the same way, not true. Still want to call him all the time, but I just smile and laugh. And think that would be one hell of a long-distant charge!

Sorry, not sure I have the answer, but I wish you the best.

YARNLADY's avatar

How do you stop feeling sad about the things you cannot change?
You don’t. There will always be an element in your make up that will feel sad, and it will never go away. To make sure that element is not at the forefront, take some of the previous suggestions and make them yours.

I have lost two previous husbands, plus both my parents, and I could have a lot to dwell on, but it is all part of me, my life, and I. It doesn’t rule me.

Long ago, I made a pledge to myself to be happy every single day for the rest of my life. I don’t like feeling sad, so why do it? I wake up in the morning and ask myself, “What will I do today to make this another happy day”?.

cak's avatar

@YARNLADY: I love your determination.

tapestryofregret's avatar

Accept life as a mystery. Emphasize on reaction and anticipation rather than trying to control the outcome. At the end of the day we are all organisms fighting to live in this most fragile of existences, and as such we should not be overconfident nor should be so eager to simplify life with subjective notions for what should be, we need to respect what is given to us and minimize the power over situations sought by those of a lesser mind.

mattbrowne's avatar

By making a list of things you can change. For example how to waste less energy and other resources.

edimarco93's avatar

Do your best not to think about it. I am so sorry for the way for the way you feel, but you need to occupy your time and mind with something else. In the end it will help, trust me!

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