Young or old, everyone has regrets. They can be small or big things, like turning down a great job offer, refusing to move out of love, or making nasty comments during a fight with a loved one. There are days when you decide to look back and think about doing things differently. Thinking about the past occasionally is fine, but just dwelling on it and not moving on is unhealthy. So you have to overcome regrets to be happy and enjoy life.
Regret is an emotional response to the perception that one has made a mistake or missed an opportunity in the past, explains Gurugram-based clinical psychologist Aishwarya Raj. It often arises when people feel responsible for their actions or decisions that led to negative outcomes. Regret can stem from choices related to relationships, career, education, or personal values. People may also regret not taking certain risks or following through on their ambitions, which can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction or longing for what could have been. Understanding and processing regret can be an essential part of personal growth and learning from past experiences.
Regret and mental health
Regrets can have a significant impact on mental health. Persistent feelings of regret can lead to increased stress, anxiety and even depression, the expert tells Health Shots. Constantly dwelling on past mistakes can leave people feeling stuck and unable to move forward, which affects their self-esteem and self-worth. In addition, regret can hinder decision-making ability in the present, as people may fear repeating past mistakes or making new ones. So addressing and dealing with regret is crucial to maintaining positive mental health and overall well-being.
Ways to get over regrets
You can stop obsessing over regrets and be happy by doing the following:
1. Acceptance and self-compassion
Recognize that everyone makes mistakes and that this is a natural part of being human. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion, understanding that you are not defined by your past choices, Raj suggests.
2. Learn from mistakes
Reflect on your regrets and identify the lessons they offer. Use these insights as opportunities for personal growth and development.
3. Focus on the present
Embrace the present moment and focus on the things you can control right now. By letting go of the past, you can invest energy in building a better future.
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4. Set new goals
Create positive and achievable goals that align with your values and ambitions. Working toward new goals can provide a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
5. Seek support
Your friends, family, or even a mental health professional can be a big help. You can share your feelings of regret with them. Sharing your emotions can be cathartic and help you gain a new perspective.
6. Practice gratitude
Always be grateful for the things in your life. You should show gratitude by recognizing the positive aspects of your life. Focusing on gratitude can help you shift your focus from regrets to the things that bring you joy and contentment, the expert says.
7. Write it all down
Diary entries can be something you do with school children, but you can also try keeping a diary of your regrets. Write down what happened, how it made you feel, and what you could have done differently. Writing can help you heal.
8. Forgive yourself
If you don’t forgive yourself, you can’t overcome the regret. It’s about separating your actions, good or bad, from who you are as a person. If you can forgive yourself, it means that you can recognize that there is nothing wrong with you and that you are a worthy person.
Use these tips to gradually overcome regret, promote personal growth, and find happiness in the present and future.