July 26, 2011

Regret: Not Just a Bottle of Wine.

Part of being human is to think on the past.

Sometimes this entails happiness, sometimes sadness. And sometimes regret.

regret (verb): to be very sorry for

Photo: MonchieroCarbone.com

I have gone through long periods of time — years — regretting missing out on life, wishing I had turned left instead of right and regretting the development of an eating disorder. I think, “if only I hadn’t decided to stop eating” or “if only I had said yes instead of no” and I wonder what would be different. Would my life be as I had pictured it at age 29: married, a family, a perfect job?  Who and what would I be?

These regrets failed to fill up the gaping, empty space. My mind was stuck in a vicious cycle of negative thinking: a cycle that left room for little else.

Regret only breeds more regret.

Over the past couple of years, as my yoga practice has developed and I’ve grown into my body — allowing other avenues of life to fill that space — these feelings of regret have mysteriously lessened. Reflections on the past have shifted away from sadness: my thoughts no longer of loss, but rather gratitude.

I am a believer in some forms of fate and feel that I have perhaps been dealt this life because fate knew that I would be able to face these trials and ultimately find grace in turning them around to help others. While I do believe in events of fate, I also believe that our reactions to these events are of our own choosing.

Of course pangs of regret still appear, but when I notice their presence I react by questioning them and act to reframe my thinking.

The energy of thought is much better spent in a positive mindset than a negative one.

Photo: Ricardo Wang

The more you can practice this, the more it will flow naturally into your life: effortlessly.

The next time you notice yourself getting into one of these mindsets, acknowledge what you are thinking or feeling without judgment and without a reaction. View these thoughts as if they were streaming on a marquee and only then begin to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why is this thought is here?
  2. What are my choices to react to this thought?
  3. Which will benefit me in the long run?
  4. How can I reframe my thinking?
  5. Is there a way to find gratitude in what I am feeling or experiencing?


And if all else fails? Go find a corkscrew!


You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Hannah Siegle

Hannah Siegle began to do yoga four years ago initially for the physical practice, however she quickly discovered that the yoga began to do her in ways she never anticipated. The mind, body and spiritual connection that yoga cultivates has helped Hannah through the ups and downs of life, both large and small. She regularly blogs at Balancing on Two Feet on topics such as yoga, mindfulness, eating disorder recovery and all those things people don’t like to talk about. She was trained at the RYT 200 through Laurel Hodory and is currently working towards becoming a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. She teaches yoga throughout Central Ohio with GoYoga ,yogaServe, and also works as an Assistant Editor for the elephant journal!