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  • Isara Moriya

Mindfull X Shield - Healthy Ways to Deal With Regret

I hate the feeling of regret. Don’t you? It’s an inevitable emotion that is widely frowned upon. Some people live by the motto “Live the life you’ll never regret,” and that is positive in and of itself. However, most of us do feel regret. Rather than wallowing in the past, we can move forward, and grow from those regretful feelings.

Making Regret Something Positive

Changing your perspective on an event can remove some regret you may feel. When looking back at a regretful event, rather than all your losses, think about all that you have gained from those courses of action. Most of the time, that event led to valuable lessons and self-reflection, and it shaped you as the person you are. 

Regret can also be an indicator of change. Regret often signals that you have strayed from your values or standards. It can help you understand what you truly care about. For example, if you regret that time you spilled your best friend’s secret, that could mean that you value friendship and trust. Furthermore, regret can help reinforce moral and ethical guidelines, becoming a reminder of what kind of person you want to be. 

Additionally, experiencing and reflecting on regret can enhance your emotional intelligence. Regretful experiences are often the catalyst of empathy and understanding. Working through regret may lead to personal growth. You are growing by dealing with negative emotions and finding constructive ways to move forward.

How You Deal With Regret

  • Acknowledge

It’s what happens after regretting that makes all the difference. You can start by acknowledging that regret is a natural human emotion. It’s okay to feel regret; it indicates you care about your choices and their consequences. Then, try pinpointing what exactly you regret. Is it a missed opportunity, a wrong decision, or a behavior you wish you could change?

  • Reflect

Take some time to reflect on the experience. What about it was so regretful? Spend some time thinking about the situation. What led to the decision? What were the outcomes? It may be helpful to use a journal for this. Determine what you can learn from the experience. This helps transform regret into a learning opportunity. Changing how you look at an experience, from regret to gratitude, can improve your mental well-being. 

  • Understanding

Being understanding of yourself is key to optimism and getting rid of that negative, visceral feeling. Understand that everyone makes mistakes. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer a friend. Furthermore, words have power. Making a habit of speaking positively may aid in getting over regret. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your strengths and past successes.

  • Involving Others

If your regret involves someone else, consider offering a sincere apology. It can help heal relationships and provide closure. If there’s something you can do to make things better, take action. This could involve correcting a mistake or making a different choice in the future. Share your feelings with trusted friends, family, or a therapist. Sometimes, just talking about your regrets can provide relief. If regret is significantly impacting your mental health, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

When Regret Becomes Unhealthy

Regret can cause very real consequences that could lead to risky health problems. If regret is so overwhelming that it paralyzes you, preventing you from taking action or moving forward, it can be a sign of deeper mental health problems. Constantly dwelling on past mistakes can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, or depression as well. Research reported in the AARP collected data that showed how regret can result in chronic stress and negatively effect hormonal and immune system function.  Other actions such as excessive self-blame and guilt can erode self-esteem and self-worth. Regret may extend their emotional hold for weeks, months, years, or lifetimes. 


Dealing with regret in a healthy way involves acknowledging your feelings, learning from the experience, practicing self-compassion, cultivating a positive outlook, and ultimately accepting and letting go of the past. Remember that a regretful experience was an experience. It was in the past, and now you are a different person from it. Accept that you cannot change the past, and focus on what you can control now and in the future. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting but rather releasing the hold that regret has on you. This can be a gradual process, requiring patience and self-awareness.

Writer: Isara Moriya




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