How to Manage Regret

Regret can negatively impact our mental health and even compromise our future because we are too focused on our previous mistakes. Therapy can be greatly beneficial for coping with the regrets of the past and moving towards a positive future. BetterHelp has beneficial information and qualified counselors that you can take advantage of.

However, there are also a lot of ways to manage your own regret on your own. These methods can be a good way to supplement therapy. Regret can be so strong that it alters our future for the rest of our lives. It can keep us from pursuing the things that we truly desire because of the fear that we will make another mistake. It can cause anxiety that springs from thoughts of what could have been.

Communicate with Others

We all experience harsh emotions and regret can bring a lot of them along with it. Often, the regret is based around a mistake that caused shame and guilt. Talking with someone can help us express these emotions. Speaking with someone you trust can help us put our feelings into perspective. They can also offer us a view into the reality and even help us move on from the past.

Some people even like to write letters to someone from their past even if that person will never see it. If your mistake harmed someone, writing your true feelings out on a letter can be a great coping mechanism. Then, you can leave the past in the past.

Communicate with Yourself

It is important to tell yourself the objective truth about your emotions. Think of the mistake that was made and frame the emotions tied to it. Is it realistic to feel the way you do? If so, was the mistake made on purpose? Can you do anything about it now? This can help us manage our way through regret. Then, we can learn from our mistakes so that we can become better for the rest of our lives. If we could change our past, we would not remain ourselves because the past is part of us.

Some people also like to write diaries, journals, or letters. This can help us see all of our emotions and manage them. We can then build onto them to construct the future.

Learn from Mistakes

Regret can be a catalyst for a life of hesitation. However, instead of being stagnant and trying to avoid mistakes, we should positively apply our past grievances towards the future. It is best to understand that everybody makes mistakes and that avoiding them in the future is impossible.

We are not the same person that we were in the past. We are constantly changing and adapting. Looking at our past mistakes through the knowledge of our present can be enlightening. Use this to strive to be the best you that you can be. In addition, it is best not to say to yourself, “I will never make that mistake again.” Instead, we should acknowledge that that mistake is possible, but that we realize our mistakes and try to avoid them for our health and welfare.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

People often say that they do not have regrets. However, this is not the healthiest way to look at things. Regret is common and we should not hide from it. It needs to be acknowledged.

When we acknowledge our regret, we come to a more realistic view of ourselves. We can see ourselves as imperfect. Then, we can better manage our emotions and move forward. Some regrets are based around major mistakes that are usually impossible to amend. Acknowledging that there may not be any positive out of the mistakes of the past is healthy.

Looking at regret as a necessary emotion can be beneficial. The feeling of regret shows that we care either about others or ourselves. Mistakes are unavoidable because we are human.


We all experience some form of regret. Sometimes, it is over a small thing like eating too much birthday cake or staying up too late. Other times, it can be much larger like missing out on extra time with a parent who recently passed. Any regret can harm our mental health. We should try to accept regret and learn from it to press on towards a more positive future. It is never good to worry so much about something that you cannot change that it negatively effects your mental health and future self.

Marie Miguel

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.