Dealing with Despair: 5 ways to overcome feelings of regret.
As we age, we all have a strong desire to live a life of smooth transitions. It is great to look back at one’s life and feel a deep sense of satisfaction and achievement. However, shared narratives from the Loneliness Project provide a glimpse of what it feels like to grow old while being plagued with streaks of despair. This experience is often accompanied by regret or a sense of loss for missed opportunities and unwise or irreversible decisions made in the past. Nevertheless, one must not suffer permanently from these shadows of doubt and condemning what-ifs that threaten our well-being and joy during retirement.
Here are some tips for conquering feelings of regret for seniors.
1. Make peace with your past blunders.
Living a good and meaningful life was never easy. Unless we are hardwired to be perfect, believing that our lives should have been without mistakes is a mindset that is flawed. Undeniably, our successes and failures contributed to our growth and maturity. Aging gracefully means that while we celebrate our previous victories, we also learn to accept the wrong choices we made in the past. Perhaps even coming to terms with suffering from the consequences of our mistakes. However, this should not hold us back from celebrating our present joy. Better yet, letting go of the past, that may have caused our sorrows can help us move on to trying new things.
2. Cultivate the attitude of gratitude.
With the richness of your experience at this age, there is much to celebrate. Wake up daily with the commitment of being mindful of what you can be grateful about. You won’t have time to regret the past when you have a grateful heart. Being grateful and happy during your retirement is possible. So make an effort to find something you can be thankful for. Try making a list, and you might be delighted to know that there are lots to be grateful for indeed.
3. Get connected.
There is power in knowing that you are not alone because we find comfort in the experiences of others that are relatable to us. Maximize every opportunity for interaction and making friends. Become part of a retirement community where you can be genuinely connected to people. Whether you are the initiator of a conversation or you simply choose to listen more, learn to engage. These friendships serve as part of our support system and can protect us from spiraling into feelings of despair.
4. Seek Help.
Acknowledge your vulnerability in battling feelings of regret. Don’t hesitate to seek help whenever you think you need someone to talk to so you can make sense of what you are thinking and feeling. We can never claim to be too old to stop learning and healing from our internal battles and struggles.
5. Stop ruminating, and reminisce instead.
Ruminating is destructive because it is characterized by obsessive and intrusive thinking with overly negative undertones. On the other hand, reminiscing refers to a pleasurable recollection of the past. Between ruminating and reminiscing, choose to reflect, so your overall well-being is not disrupted by excessive negative thinking. Our memories carry with them a sense of nostalgia, of fond recollections. Therefore, we do not wish to allow our regrets to take center stage in our consciousness. Reminisce when talking with a friend or family. It might help to write down your insights about the past and your happy memories and share this with your circle of support.
The Cedars Retirement Community
Located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana, The Cedars Retirement Community believes in providing the highest quality of life and opportunity for seniors. We want to ensure that your latter years are lived with joy, enthusiasm, and relational connections. Please contact us with any questions or to schedule a tour of our beautiful lakeside retirement community.