Regret and worry are the two most common negative thought patterns that your mind creates. The problem is that the mind doesn’t judge them as negative first. Both are helping survival, but when these thoughts become obsessive, they start working against you, instead of for you. Just like when a healthy amount of fear protects your life, but too much fear is poisonous.
Regret is thinking about something bad that happened in the past, while worry means thinking about something bad that may happen in the future. Regret helps you learn from past mistakes and avoid them in the future. Worry helps you avoid dangerous situations, and planning is helpful for efficient action.
The problem is when fear and other negative and stressful emotions come up, and you lose control. You become obsessed with these thoughts, as your internal survival machine is chewing the problem from every angle possible, trying to spit out the perfect answer. Instead of you using the mind, the mind is using you.
Use your mind knowing that it is just a tool for survival, be conscious about it. Notice its mechanism, and take back control. Learn from the past, but then move on. Plan for the future, but then take action. Don’t let yourself indulge in repeating and never-ending streams of thought because they won’t lead you anywhere. Instead, they immobilize you and fill you with negative emotions.
First, re-evaluate your evaluations! Regret and worry are both about bad things. But how bad is it actually? Don’t you overreact? Bad is just your evaluation, which is quite subjective many times. Everything has a positive and negative aspect, nothing is purely black and white. Think about the thing you regret so much, or worry about: how did it or how would it serve you? What was the worst thing that happened? Was it really that bad? What is the worst thing that could happen? Would it be really that bad?
Regret and worry are both about survival. But survival is impossible in the long run, so they are also futile and meaningless. Don’t regret anything because you can’t change it anyway. Don’t worry about anything, because you will die anyway.
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