Regret is a terrible thing. It can completely consume you. Living with regrets can take over your life, prevent you from moving forward and hold you back from taking exciting risks and grabbing on to fantastic new opportunities. Life is much too short to be wasted living in a state of regret and missing out on good times. However, getting over regrets, especially if it’s something big, is much harder to do than people might think. You can easily start to feel trapped. Unable to stop thinking about the things you wish you could change or you’d like to have done differently. Unable to move on. Here are some ways you can begin to let things go.

Fix it

Not all regrets have to stay that way. If you regret them that deeply, try to find a way to fix them. If you’ve lost someone that you love check out for help. Don’t give up until it’s clear that things are over. But, learn to recognize when that point is reached and leave with dignity.

Learn From it

All mistakes are lessons. Take a good look at the thing you regret and ask yourself what you could have done differently and what you could take away for next time. It may be a regret, but it shouldn’t be a waste.

Look at the Positives

Lessons might not be the only positive that you can take away from a regret. The experience may have led you down certain roads. You may have met lifelong friends or learnt useful skills. Think of any positives you have gained and focus on these instead of what went wrong.

Forgive Yourself

If you regret something because of a mistake that you made, learning to forgive yourself can be the most significant step in letting it go. It’s happened, mistakes are made, we all mess up occasionally. You’ve also done some brilliant things in your life. So, forgive yourself. Stop blaming yourself. It’s ok.

Embrace the Regret

Sometimes before you can move on you simply need to wallow. In some cases, you may be able to learn lessons, forgive mistakes and embrace the positives straight away, but that isn’t for everyone. Some of us need to embrace the regret. So, give yourself a time frame. Have two weeks or even a month of constructive wallowing. Allow yourself to dwell on what went wrong and be sad. Grieve for what you have lost. But, then when that time is up, draw a line under it.

Ban What If’s

The biggest stumbling block when it comes to dealing with regrets is the constant question of what if? What if I’d done this? What if I’d said that? What if I hadn’t done that? Well, the truth is that you will never know for sure. Things may have gone wrong anyway. They may have even been worse. You’ll never know, so don’t ask. If you’d done anything differently, you wouldn’t be where you are now, with all of the opportunities that lie in front of you. Don’t let them pass you buy while you are busy asking “what if?”.

Take a look at if you are really struggling to move on and think it might be affecting your mental health.