Life is complicated and filled with both joy and obstacles. The way people face the inevitable hard times determines to a large extent how peaceful and happy they are on most days. One of the biggest tests that every human being faces in life on a regular basis is deciding which problems to tackle and which ones are beyond their control. Granted, it often requires some maturity and perspective to separate life’s messy complications into these two categories. At first glance, it can be impossible to determine which stumbling blocks are solvable, necessitating the need for some initial evaluation and trial solutions to see if, in fact, that issue is worth your precious time and attention.

Develop and Practice Psychological Flexibility

Forbes reports on Dr. Hayes’s introduction to the concept of psychological flexibility as a coping skill that can be learned to weather the storms of life. A range of emotions often bombards a person when faced with a tough problem that can’t be quickly solved. Psychological flexibility can be understood by recognizing its similarity to a common phrase that is often used to describe many laid-back people who are said to “roll with the punches.” People with this type of nonchalant approach to life’s roadblocks rarely allow their mindset to go to the worst possible place in sharp contrast to their less psychologically flexible contemporaries who react with strong emotions. Inflexible people are more likely to go to the brink of stability, ultimately depressed or riddled with anxiety when they can’t quickly eliminate the source of their frustration. Forbes reports that an individual’s psychological flexibility can be used as one of the best predictors of how adaptable that person will ultimately be under stressful situations.

Learn to Accept Life and Things as They Are

Tiny Buddha cites Deepak Chopra’s, The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success, and the advice given surrounding the importance of accepting what is happening to us in the present without resistance. While the future can bring changes and improvement, by accepting the present situation as it is without trying to fight it or worry incessantly about the “what ifs” and “whys” will limit the mental turbulence experienced. Instead of ruining the present with worry about circumstances beyond your control, individuals can view acceptance as the logical choice that leads to relief and ultimately to peace of mind.

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try to understand the things that are going on, but there’s a difference between openly facing and acknowledging a problem exists and hyper-fixating on the problem and letting it control you. Accepting things as they are means looking at the truth and the reality of your situation, acknowledging it, and facing forward to the future.

This is as true for external factors as it can be for internal factors. Take body image as an example. Nobody chooses the body they are born with, and very few have an opportunity to change parts of their appearance after growth. Why waste time letting your worries about how you look prevent you from enjoying life? If you were born big and nothing seems to help, as long as you are healthy there is nothing wrong with you. Cosmetic problems can be ignored or addressed as you desire and as you feel comfortable doing, but it should be on your terms.

Accepting that maybe you need tummy control swimwear for a few months after giving birth doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. A sports injury recovery that takes you down a peg doesn’t have to own your life. Accept that things happen, and face forward.

Practice Radical Acceptance to Redirect Your Focus Away From any Problem You Can’t Change

The advice that people should accept the things they cannot change is one of the major tenets used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). At every meeting, the group recites the Serenity Prayer which states, in part…”grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Psychology Today promotes this type of radical acceptance of situations as the best way to redirect your energy to worthy challenges where you can actually make a difference and feel the satisfaction of success. It is worth noting that once you finally accept that a problem is beyond your reach, then you are flooded with relief often wondering why you struggled for so long, allowing yourself to suffer while you kicked and screamed about it. Redirecting your attention to new challenges will finally take the pain away as you move forward and away from something you can’t change to something worthwhile.

Learning to Let Go

Sometimes we hurt ourselves with our actions, and sometimes we are hurt by others. People who have suffered abuses and betrayals can have incredible difficulty processing and dealing with the aftermath of terrible trauma. Part of accepting means knowing that something happened to you, facing it honestly, and making a decision to move on. Nothing helps a toxic person hurt your longer more than giving that person permanent headspace to comment on your life every day. Beyond just making you live over and over the things that happened to you, it impacts your ability to trust and have relationships with others in the future.

Learning to let go of things also doesn’t mean you have to let trauma and abuse happen to you again. You also shouldn’t sink into hatred of your current self as you remember a past you that wasn’t damaged and hurting. Who you are now is someone who knows better than your naïve past self knew about being hurt. Don’t waste time holding on to who you were, develop who you are into who you could be.

Dealing with trauma is challenging and isn’t trivially dismissed. It often takes serious counseling and therapy, but the end goal is to be able to move forward with trust and love again. After all, trusting after a betrayal isn’t a sign of weakness or gullibility – it’s an act of courage.

We are all destined to face tough challenges in life. We will lose people we love, face career setbacks, and suffer from unexplainable difficulties. By learning to accept the problems you can’t change, your life will instantly improve.