TODAY

TODAY   |  June 11, 2013

How to push past regret and move forward

Whether it’s a bad haircut, a wrong career move or an argument with your spouse, having regret is normal– but fixating on your past can take a toll on your health. Psychologist Dale Atkins and Jennifer Braunschweiger of More magazine reveal how you can forget regret and move on.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> okay. did you make the wrong career move -- go. the monitor went on --

>> did you buy a house you really couldn't afford or did you say something to your spouse you wish you hadn't.

>> having regrets are a normal part of life. but feeling guilty can be bad for your health.

>> here to help us get past it is the author of sanity savers and more magazine's deputy editor.

>> we all have regrets. what's the biggest one.

>> not having gastric bypass sooner.

>> would have done it earlier?

>> for me it's growing up as an air force brat and not keeping in touch with friends and family over the years.

>> mine is i rushed into a job. the first job coming up. i wish i had taken a year. i had ideas about going to par gatt risk for a year. there was an offer to play for an odd professional basketball league in ireland. do it.

>> it was a league for guys like me. but beyond -- regrets we all have them. anyone that says i live without regrets, they're lying, aren't they?

>> yes, they're normal. that's how we process the difference between what we expected to happen and what did happen. they're our minds way of letting us know that perhaps we could have made a different choice or different decision but they're completely normal .

>> having regrets is that a positive thing? i guess unless you're overwhelmed with guilty daily.

>> that's the point. it can be positive if we use them as a way to learn from them and if you are overwhelmed with guilt or stay in the past and don't move forward it can be destructive to your health or wellbeing but you can use them and move forward.

>> how can it be harmful say physically and emotionally.

>> well, regret causes stress and stress as we know can be detrimental to our health. it raises the levels of cortisol and that can cause other problems.

>> is there value in going back and trying to rectify regrets whether it's a year later or 20 years later?

>> absolutely. it's the way we process them and what we think about them because what we learn from them, sometimes if it involves the person you can go back and talk to the person. you can say, you know, this is how i felt then, this is how i feel now and i ask your forgiveness or wish i had done it this way. you can open a dialogue. whether the person receives you, in the way you wanted to be received it's secondary to the fact that you have been able to try and let this go and move it to a different level. sometimes you're not able to but you can change your life in relation to what you learned from it and you can change your behavior which then will change your health ideally.

>> sometimeseople can be paralyzed by regret? having that fear of not knowing what will happen.

>> and they keep going around in a circle thinking about how awful they were. how stupid they were. why didn't they do this or do that. that keeps them in a downward spiral rather than integrating what they learned and moving forward and saying i wasn't able to keep in touch while i was younger but now i would like to keep in touch with friends.

>> do people look at regrets more if they're not happy as oppo opposed to if they are? if you're happyith your life everything before lead up to now.

>> yeah, taking the long view, people regret things they didn't do where in the short-term they might regret things they did. in the short-term you regret something you said but in the long-term it's a chance you didn't take or opportunity you missed.

>> are you going to go sign up for the o-dunkers.