Young or old, everyone has regrets. They can be small or big ones like turning down a great job offer or refusing to relocate for love or passing nasty remarks during a fight with a loved one. There are days when you decide to look back and think of doing things differently. Once in a while thinking about the past is fine, but just dwelling on it and not moving forward is unhealthy. So, you should get over 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 resulted in negative outcomes. Regret can pop up from choices related to relationships, career, education or personal values. Also, people may regret not taking certain risks or not acting on their aspirations, leading 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
Having regret can significantly impact mental health. Persistent feelings of regret may lead to increased stress, anxiety and even depression, the expert tells Health Shots. Constantly dwelling on past mistakes can make people feel stuck and unable to move forward, affecting their self-esteem and self-worth. Moreover, regret can hinder decision-making abilities in the present, as people may fear repeating past errors or making new ones. So, it is crucial to address and cope with regrets to maintain positive mental health and overall well-being.
Ways to get over regret
You can stop obsessing over regret and be happy by doing the following:
1. Acceptance and self-compassion
Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes and that it 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, suggests Raj.
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 now. Letting go of the past allows you to 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 aspirations. Working towards new objectives can provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment.
5. Seek support
Your friends, family or even a mental health professional can be of great help. You can share about your feelings of regret with them. Sharing your emotions can be cathartic and help you gain new perspective.
6. Practise gratitude
Always be grateful of things in your life. You must show gratitude by acknowledging the positive aspects of your life. Focusing on gratitude can shift your attention away from regrets and towards the things that bring you joy and contentment, says the expert.
7. Write it all down
Diary entries might be something you relate with school kids, but you can also try journaling about your regret. Write down about what happened, how it made you feel and what you could have done differently. Writing can help you heal.
8. Forgive yourself
You won’t be able to get over regret if you don’t forgive yourself. It is all about separating your actions, good or bad, from who you are as a person. Being able to forgive yourself means you are able to recognise that nothing is wrong with you and that you are a worthy person.
Use these tips to gradually overcome regrets, foster personal growth and find happiness in the present and future.