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Regret is a very real reaction to a disappointing event in your life, a choice you made that can’t be changed, something you said that you can’t take back. It’s one of those feelings you can’t seem to shake, a heavy and intrusive negative emotion that can last for minutes, days, years or even a lifetime . Imaging studies reveal that feelings of regret show increased activity in an area of the brain called the medial orbitofrontal cortex.
Dealing with regret is even more difficult because of the other negative emotions connected to it: remorse, sorrow and helplessness. Regret can increase our stress, negatively affect physical health and throw off the balance of hormone and immune systems. Regret is not only unpleasant. It is unhealthy.
As with other negative emotions, it doesn’t work to avoid, deny or try to squash regret. In the long run, these tactics only increase negative feelings and prolong the time you suffer with them. Rather than stay stuck, people can manage these emotions in four steps: First, accept the fact that you are feeling them; determine why you are feeling them; allow yourself to learn from them; and finally, release them and move forward .
This method of noticing and then restructuring your thoughts is sometimes called cognitive reappraisal . Seeing the situation in a different way may help reduce regret and help you make future decisions .
Forgiving yourself for actions taken or not taken is a powerful step toward overcoming regret. This has been formalized into a commonly used cognitive psychological model called REACH , which asks people to recall the hurt (face it), empathize (be kind and compassionate), altruistically offer forgiveness (to oneself), commit publicly (share it) and then hold on to that forgiveness and stay true to the decision . Research shows that six hours of work with a trained professional using this model can have a positive impact .
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .
What to say? Seen and lived a lot. At the same time...not enough. Love Photography, Reading, Gardening, Coloring, at times Journaling. Pets. Jane of trades. Travel, History, Art to be continued..
#personaldevelopment #regret #forgiveness #self
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