When misfortune enters our lives, we often wonder what we have done to bring trouble upon ourselves. Everyone experiences bad things in their lives from time to time. Dealing with setbacks is part of the human condition. Sometimes these bad things are career related and sometimes they are related to dealing with family and friends.

No one can stop bad things from happening, but we can control our reaction to them. Taking action can help you process your disappointment. These 21 tips will help you learn to move forward from misfortune and find a sense of peace.

21 Things You Can Do When Bad Things Happen

“Here is the rule to remember in the future. When anything tempts you to be bitter: not, ‘This is a misfortune’ but ‘To bear this worthily is good fortune.'” – Marcus Aurelius

1. Focus On What You Can Control

Rather than obsessing about the ways life has let you down, it’s a good idea to focus on what you can change. Don’t focus on the ways you failed.

2. Avoid Unhelpful Thoughts

When bad things happen, do your best to adapt your thinking to a more positive mindset. Don’t blame yourself for your misfortune.

3. Reach Out to Friends

Friendly support can help you deal with bad things when they happen. Find a trusted friend with whom to share your emotions.

4. Exercise

Exercise can burn off the bad feelings in your heart and give you a boost from endorphins.

5. Think Objectively

Rather than focusing on how the bad things make you feel, look at them without interference from your feelings.

6. Ask for Help When Bad Things Happen

Always be willing to swallow your pride and ask for help fixing your problem.

7. You Can Change Your Reaction

It’s important to remember that while you can’t stop bad things from happening, you can change your attitude. Try to take control of your emotions.

8. Accept What Happened

Moving forward requires letting go of our self-pity and blame.

9. Do Your Part

When misfortune happens to other people, focus on how you can help them. When they happen to you, take concrete steps to make the situation better.

10. Write Down Your Feelings

Journaling can be an immense help in processing your thoughts. If it makes you feel better, write out your troubles and then burn or destroy the paper to symbolically let them go.

11. Think of Your Misfortune as an Obstacle

Rather than focusing on how your difficulties have interrupted your life, try to view them as obstacles to be overcome. You will learn from your mistakes and move on as a stronger person.

12. If You Survive This You Can Survive Anything

Focus on how your misfortune has strengthened you as a person. If you’ve lived through the worst, life can only get better.

13. Reach for a Higher Power

If you have a religious or spiritual practice, look toward it for help in a bad situation.

14. Meditate If Bad Things Occur

When we find ourselves in unfortunate situations, our minds often race and continually go over the mistakes we’ve made. Meditation can help you clear your mind and organize your thoughts.

15. Take Time to Feel Your Emotions

Rather than sweeping your negative emotions under the rug and pretending nothing bad has happened, take time to work through your feelings. Acknowledging your pain can help you move on.

16. Make a Plan

When you’ve made a mistake, make a plan to keep yourself from making it again.

17. Turn to Great Minds

Find inspirational words and take comfort in them. You will find that reading about someone else’s experiences may help you process your own.

18. Don’t Ignore the Problem

Denial and emotional walls will only delay your suffering, they won’t remove it.


19. Be Philosophical

Don’t allow your negative emotions to take over your life. Try to detach yourself from your problems and think about them in relation to your life as a whole.

20. Think Ahead to the Future

Just because you’ve experienced troubles in your life doesn’t mean that your life is ruined.

21. Focus on the Lessons You Learned

This can be challenging, but it will help you move on. Identify the issue that got you into the bad situation and focus on ways you can change.

Final Thoughts

Life’s misfortunes can be overwhelming, but don’t let them make you bitter. Don’t bottle up your emotions: share them with a trusted friend or family member. Changing your reaction to unfortunate events can help you put them in perspective and help you move forward positively.