5 Ways to Push Past Your Regrets

Expert advice for living without the burdens of the past

by Jennifer Matlack • Next Avenue
regrets image
Photograph: Shutterstock.com

We all have a few regrets. Think of venomous words blurted out during an argument, a car accident that in hindsight could easily have been avoided, or even that new haircut that makes you long for your former look. Having a regret or two is normal, but fixating on deep regrets long after you should have worked them out and let them go can take a toll on your health.

"When you repeatedly revisit a painful regret, you continue to experience and suffer the negative emotions generated by it," says Hamilton Beazley, Ph.D., author of No Regrets: A Ten-Step Program for Living in the Present and Leaving the Past Behind (Wiley, 2004). Those emotions increase your levels of cortisol, the body's primary stress hormone, compromising your immune system and leaving you vulnerable to developing health problems ranging from the common cold to sleep or digestive disorders and more. But when you limit the flow of cortisol by avoiding stress and negativity, you strengthen your immune system, improve sleep, ward off weight gain, sharpen your memory and reduce your risk of heart disease, among other benefits.

(MORE: It's Possible to Overcome Depression)

How can you overcome or avoid the perilous pangs of regret? These expert tips can get you started.

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Gina Barreca10.15.2012

This is really great. We really do need to set our regrets aside and move on without anything holding us back. This article reminds me alot of another I've read recently from Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/snow-white-doesnt-live-here-anymore/....

Teri 10.01.2012

I have learned that my past has made me who I am today. Although there were/are MANY, MANY, MANY painful experiences in my life, through the grace of God, I have learned to accept them as growing pains and honor who I am today as a result!!

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