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The Feelings Of Regret

The Feelings Of Regret

  • Feelings of regret are not just a fact of life, but a powerful catalyst for self-improvement.
  • Feeling regret is painful. What’s more, individuals tend to view regret as futile – as something preventing them from looking forward. 
  • Yet decades of scientific research suggest that banishing regret from your life is not just futile, but also, unhelpful.


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Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • Feelings of regret are not just a fact of life, but a powerful catalyst for self-improvement.
  • Regret is not dangerous or abnormal. It is healthy and universal, an integral part of being human. Equally important, regret is valuable.
  • Feeling regret is part of the human experien...


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Step One: Try to Gain Perspective on Your Regrets

Step One: Try to Gain Perspective on Your Regrets

Don’t whitewash or self-criticize. Instead, practice self-compassion by acknowledging that making mistakes is human.

Also, consider the fact that other people might have gone through a similar experience, and that the event may not taint the rest of your life.


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Step Two: Put Your Feelings Out In The Open

Step Two: Put Your Feelings Out In The Open

If you don’t want to entrust them to a friend, write about your negative experiences or speak them out loud into a recording device.

Research shows that putting feelings into language helps individuals clarify and process them. If you decide to share your feelings with others, know that p...


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Step Three: Draw a Lesson From Your Experience

Try to self-distance from the experience by pretending you are giving advice to another person who had an identical experience. Or, imagine your future self looking back at your current problems.

Another technique is to pretend you are a neutral expert analyzing your predicament, and then...


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The Human Experience

The Human Experience

A 1984 study at San Francisco State University found that regret is the most common negative emotion people express. Researchers associate the inability to feel this emotion with brain lesions, neurodegenerative diseases and mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Regret has a key place in human evo...


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Instead of those unpleasant emotions fluttering around uncontrollably, language helps us capture them in our net, pin them down and begin analyzing them.



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The Three-Step Process To Make Regret Work For You

The Three-Step Process To Make Regret Work For You

The way people deal with feelings of regret determines their ability to turn them into something positive. Trying to suppress the feelings, or endlessly ruminating over them won’t do much good. Instead, you can make feelings of regret work for you by following a three-step process.


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The effectiveness of self-compassion is especially evident with regret.



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Solve the problem or leave the problem. But…… Do not live with the problem.

Most people don’t want to experience regret – yet it’s impossible to go through life without regretting something from time to time. Best-selling author Daniel H. Pink – who likes to turn conventional wisdom on its head – argues that, rather than being an unpleasant feeling that holds you back, regret can serve as a powerful catalyst for improving your life and that of others.

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