Though regret is invisible, it is one of the heaviest loads on the planet. Regret robs you of your joy, your sleep and affects your overall health and well-being. Regret is a universal emotional response experienced when “the outcome of a decision is worse than the outcome of an option foregone.”
Here are 5 ways to shed the heavy load of regret:
1. Show Yourself Some Kindness
Having made a bad choice in the past does not mean you are forever doomed to repeat this mistake over and over again. Give yourself permission to tackle a similar situation again with the benefit of experience and hopefully a better understanding about how to react in a more positive fashion.
2. Give Yourself Time to Heal From a Past Regret
If your regret is related to a major past decision, you need to give yourself time to heal from the consequences of that choice. Constantly thinking about it and ruminating will keep the negative thoughts and feelings ever-present. Focus on things that will relax, nourish, and energize you in positive ways. In time, the negative emotions will begin to subside.
3. Acknowledge what you’re feeling.
Let yourself express those feelings before moving on. Allowing yourself to feel feelings about the past and present is very freeing. says Ward. Many times people rush to forgive when they become aware of what happened to them. Forgiveness is a process and will come in time — sometimes forgiveness is simply being at peace within yourself without having to tell someone you forgive them. Once feelings are expressed and resolved within you, acceptance and moving forward with your life can occur.
4. Distract Yourself
Focus your mind and energy on a project with an outcome that will make you feel good. Spend time with people you feel comfortable with and who you can candidly talk with. If you are focused on a current positive distraction, you are less apt to ruminate about past regrets.
5. Create a New Set of Goals
Use the knowledge and experience you gained to make new, realistic goals. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to repair the old damage, respond to future situations, and create more positive outcomes. Celebrate when you meet a goal. If you learn that a goal you set is not realistic, set a new one within the realm of more realistic possibilities.