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©2019 MICHAEL HESSDORF, LCSW, CGP

SEVEN WAYS TO MANAGE REGRET AND DOUBT

February 13, 2019

 Have you ever had a situation where you were filled with doubt or regret over an action you had taken or a decision you had made.  It probably has happened to all of us.  When this happens it can be extremely upsetting.  Many of us would like to be able to move on once the action is taken or the decision is made and not look  back.  However, that is often easier said than done.  

 

Doubt and regret can be debilitating and all consuming.  Here are five things that you can do to manage the regret and doubt.

 

1)  Realize  that these intense of feelings of regret and doubt will not last forever, even though it feels like it will.  These feelings will pass after some period of time.  This is quite important.  The feelings will pass and life will return to normal.

 

2)  Breathe through these feelings.  Don't run away from them.  Allow yourself to feel them for a few minutes and continue to breathe as you are in the throes of these intense negative feelings.  If you can stay with the feelings for some amount of time, allow yourself to feel the regret and doubt.  Fifteen minutes would be more than enough time to stay with these feelings.

 

3)  After the time has passed (15 minutes max.) do something else.  Distract yourself.  Live your life and occupy yourself with something that might be enjoyable or productive.  Do something else.  This will help you in getting through these difficult feelings and learn how to manage the situation.

 

4)  Use positive self talk to help remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, that you are not perfect.  Accept yourself as a human being who does not have to be perfect, that you are allowed to make mistakes.  Bring to mind those people who love you and care about you.  These images and thoughts of loved ones can help buttress you when you are in the throes of regret and doubt.

 

5)  Reframe the situation as one of an opportunity for self growth.  These experiences, though very difficult and challenging, can allow you to experience a greater level of self acceptance and love of yourself.  When you have greater self acceptance, it could allow you to experience a happier, more fulfilling life.

 

6)  Truly embrace these moments when doubt enters your mind.  It is a wonderful opportunity to engage in self care.  Remind yourself that you are human it is all part of the journey of life.  It can help motivate you to push through to the other side of the doubt.  

 

7)  Give yourself one small task to help you work through the doubt.  It could be speaking to someone who can be very difficult, or presenting in front of a large  group of people.  Whatever the goal or challenge, break it down into small tasks.  Prepare and practice whatever it is that is causing the doubt.   

 

8)  Even in the face of doubt, continue to work through the issue/challenge.  Once you are able to complete the task, goal, allow yourself to feel good about your accomplishment.   Stay with the good feeling of accomplishment.  The next time that doubt and regret creep up on you, bring to mind this good feeling of when you were able to work through a diffcult situation.

 

Therapy, both individually and group therapy can certainly help you become more accepting of your self and even love yourself.  The idea would be that therapy can lead you to have emotionally corrective experiences and live a more joyful life.

 

Please feel free to email me with any comments, reactions or questions.

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