How to Accept the Things You Cannot Change

Written by Aislinn Pluta

During times of uncertainty such as COVID-19, accepting the things you cannot change can help you to feel more control.

Accepting what you CAN control

While there’s a lot that’s out of our control during this time, it can help to focus on what you can control.

  • Your daily routine
  • Mastering new tasks, like working from home
  • Things that reduce your risk, like hand washing
  • Finding small ways to help or spread hope
  • Steps you can take to increase financial security

For example, if you’re worried about your finances, you can refocus on networking or job searching, cutting expenses, or contacting resources for getting help during COVID-19.

Social media can often trigger or worsen feelings of uncertainty, so it may also be helpful to take a break from social media and the news.

Accepting anxiety

Acknowledging and accepting your inner experience (e.g. “I feel scared right now”) can also be powerful. See if you can shift your thoughts to be more accepting:

  • “I shouldn’t feel scared” -> “I feel scared right now and that’s okay.”
  • “I shouldn’t feel happy at a time like this” -> “I feel happy and positive feelings can help us get through this”
  • “I should be doing something more productive” -> “It’s okay that I’m not giving everything 100% of my effort right now”
  • “I shouldn’t feel so X” -> “I’m going to give myself permission to feel X for a little while right now”

Write it out

If you have a minute now, you could pull out a piece of paper and a pen and write down the following:

  1. Reminders of what’s in your control and helpful action steps you could take to reduce worry.
  2. Words of acceptance for what you’re going through and how you’re feeling.

If you still feel worried, a writing exercise called Put It in Perspective may help you refocus on the most likely outcomes of what you fear (rather than the worst).


As you go about your day, try to pause every now and then to:

  • Release tension in your muscles
  • Breathe deeply
  • Try to accept what is and isn’t in your power to change
  • Accept your feelings and experiences
For more free, easy tools to de-stress, download UpLift on iOS, or if you don't have iOS, check out UpLift's free COVID-19 De-stress Care Package.

About the Author
Aislinn is UpLift's Content Director. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a Master's in Applied Positive Psychology, the scientific study of the factors that lead to a full and meaningful life.