8 Tips for Coping with Regret – FutureGrowAcademy

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

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Tips for Coping with Regret

Life is full of choices & paths we choose to ignore, so it isn’t unexpected that people now & then feel regret over the decisions they made or the actions they took & the ones they didn’t make or take. They often look for Tips for Coping with Regret in such scenarios.

Regret can be an extremely hurting emotion. While originating from feelings of remorse, disappointment, guilt, or depression for things that took place in the past, those feelings can have a powerful influence over your life in the present & future. The fact is that when you regret past errors, you may sometimes miss out on the joys of the present.

Tips for Coping with Regret

Tips for Coping with Regret

1. Follow Self-Acceptance

Acknowledging & accepting yourself & your feelings are among the essential Tips for Coping with Regret. When you accept yourself & your feelings, you can recognize that your past mistakes or failures don’t define your core value & identity.

Accepting yourself & your feelings does not show you are not ready to change things or do better. It shows that you can recognize that you are always learning, altering, & developing. Keep reminding yourself that the events or choices of the past don’t determine your future or your identity, & you can make better choices in the future.

2. Recognize & Address Your Weaknesses

When we identify & acknowledge our weaknesses, there often comes a disguised sense of judgment, as if we are not allowed to make any mistakes. The option is to acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes & then focus on what we can do differently in the future.

It means identifying your fears, shortcomings, and areas of weakness. The rewards of overcoming that fear in the present prevail over the pain of surrendering to it in the past.

3. Forgive Yourself

As regret comes with guilt & self-recrimination, finding ways to forgive yourself can help relieve a few of the negative feelings connected with regret. Forgiving yourself makes an intentional choice to release the anger, bitterness, or disappointment you feel about yourself.

Accepting your past mistakes is one answer to the question, How To Deal With Regret, but forgiveness also needs practicing self-compassion. Instead of punishing yourself for past mistakes, treat yourself with some kindness & compassion.

You can do this by assuming accountability for what happened, conveying remorse for your mistakes, & taking positive actions to make amends. You cannot change the past, but taking steps to amend them can help you to forgive yourself & move ahead instead of getting stuck.

4. Apologize For Your Mistakes

Besides forgiving yourself, you may find it helpful to apologize to people who may have also been affected by your past mistakes or choices. This is vital if your regrets are based on conflicts in your relationships or other problems that have caused emotional suffering & pain to you & others.

An honest apology can convey to other people that you feel regret about what happened & that you understand their feelings & sorrows.

5. Take Action

One way to manage feelings of regret is to use those experiences to direct future action. Think about what you might have changed & done differently; rather than pondering over what cannot be changed, consider it a learning opportunity that will help you make better choices in the coming future.

You may not have had the ability to make a better choice in the past because you lacked the knowledge, experience, or insight to foresee the outcome. You chose based on your past knowledge, experience & information you had back then.

Keep reminding yourself that because of what you learned from the experience, you now know how to make a better choice the next time you run into a similar problem.

6. Focus On Things You Can Control

If you said some harsh words to someone you love in fits of anger or frustration, you probably wish you could go back in time & stop yourself from uttering those words. Unfortunately, what you should have or could have done is now immaterial. All you can do is move ahead from where you are. Regretting & getting stuck on a particular mishap is not a wise choice.

There are many things you can’t control, but there are many things you can, such as your reaction or responses. You can choose to stay calm & composed in the face of severe provocation or lash out. You can choose to remain cool in times of crisis or lose it. The choice is entirely yours & before making a choice, think about which action will bring more positive results.

There are always certain things you can control, no matter how bleak the situation may seem. Try to assume control over those things.

7. Assume More Responsibility

 We all make mistakes; that is an evitable truth. Mistakes often give birth to that sense of regret we find hard to shake off. Sometimes, those mistakes happen as we don’t take much responsibility & try to find someone to blame.

Instead of blaming others for the mistake, if we assume responsibility, we will be much as peaceful. If you have failed to submit a report within the due time, it can happen for several reasons; instead of blaming the entire department, think about what you could have done to speed up the process & why you couldn’t do that.

8. Challenge Your Thinking

There’s a quote from Al Bernstein, “Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.” If your mistake drives you to a better future, then it’s a blessing in disguise. Mistakes often bring challenges, but eventually, you can move ahead if you find opportunities in your reality, whatever that may be.

Regret may seem imperative sometimes as if we have to treat it like a meal we prepared & now have to eat it. But nothing is forcing us to mull over how things could have been. The only thing that keeps us trapped in lost opportunities is the denial to focus on new ones.

We always have a choice in our current life: Do we drown in regret over missed opportunities or create new ones? Taking the latter choice is much better.

Characteristics of Regret

There are several Tips for Coping with Regret. It is also useful to know its characteristics.

  • It mainly focuses on the past.
  • It is a negative, apathetic emotion.
  • It chiefly focuses on portions of the self.
  • It causes increasing comparisons.
  • It often triggers self-blame.
  • It can cause stress & anxiety.


Q: What is Regret?

A: Regret is a negative emotion based on the belief that some event from the past could have been changed to produce a more advantageous outcome.

Q: What causes regret?

A: Often, our past actions or choices, which failed to produce the desired outcome or somehow harmed or hurt someone, can cause regret.

Q: What do people regret most?

A: According to a study, the most common regrets can be found in the areas of education, career, relationships, parenting, self, & leisure.

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