How to live a full life with no regrets

How to live a full life with no regrets

“The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”

We all have something stored in our memory banks of the past that we wish we could have done differently, or something we wish we didn’t do.

As we get older we learn and grow, but that doesn’t mean we have to regret what we did before we learned how to do things differently. If we didn’t go through those experiences, we might not have grown into the strong and knowledgeable people we are today.

What I’m proposing is that we get rid of the negative thoughts—the could haves, might haves, and should haves—and start living a life that won’t make us feel regretful. Not even at an older, wiser age.

Here is a list of things you can do to practice living life with no regrets:

1. Realize that it’s okay to make mistakes. Just make sure to learn from them, forgive yourself, and move on.

2. Make your health and wellness a top priority and always take care of yourself so you’re ready to take care of others.

3. Follow your own path, not one that others want you to follow.

4. Find the humor in life and laugh like there is no tomorrow.

5. Relax and move with the flow of life by being unafraid of change.

6. Be adventurous by trying new things and taking more risks.

7. Have more intellectual curiosity and embrace creativity.

8. Try to find happiness with as many different people as you can.

9. Think for yourself instead of letting other people’s opinions influence you too much.

10. Try not to judge people before you get to know them.

11. Be thankful for what you have now instead of thinking about what you don’t have.

12. Wish well upon everyone equally and try to admire without envy.

13. Share your happiness with others instead of hoarding it all for yourself.

14. Don’t try to change someone—love who they are now.

15. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

16. Know that happiness is bigger than any bank account.

17. Control negative thoughts so that they don’t contribute to the outcome of your life.

18. Use your energy wisely because spending energy complaining, worrying, or being impatient is just wasted energy.

19. Be bold. Find the courage to change things that should be changed and accept that there are some things that cannot be changed.

20. Love your work. If you don’t currently love what you do, figure out what you would love and take the first step toward that life.

21. Turn your discontent into a mystery and enjoy trying to solve it.

22. Face problems from different angles in order to find solutions.

23. Gain independence by realizing that on this earth we are all dependent upon each other.

24. Change your perspective by taking on a wider view of things.

25. Don’t waste time trying to bring disagreeable people around to liking you.

26. Become the person you would like to spend the rest of your life with.

27. Be honest with yourself and others by saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

28. Treat people with respect and compassion.

29. Live in the now by loving the present and being aware of your thoughts and actions. Think happy thoughts and speak powerful words.

30. Try not to put things off until later.

31. Never hold grudges.

32. Face your fears head on and try to do the things that you think you cannot do.

33. Spend time with people who make you happy while also not depending on other people for your own happiness.

34. Stand up for yourself and others and don’t let anyone or anything hold you back.

35. Be yourself and love who you are now.

36. Be a participant in life rather than an observer.

37. Do the things that you love to do as much as you can.

38. Write out a list of goals and achieve them by doing them step by step. Don’t give up when things get difficult.

39. Do something every day that makes you feel proud of yourself—commit random acts of kindness whenever you get the chance.

40. And always keep on moving forward.

I know it seems like a rather large list of things to take on, but you can accomplish a lot on this list by doing just one thing. For example, right now as I’m typing this I’m putting into practice at least eighteen things.

Put these things into practice and see where life takes you, without regrets. And please comment below. I’d love to read your thoughts on this.

How to live a full life with no regrets

The key and the secret to living a happy and content life is to live it without any regrets. The more you regret, the more stay stuck in the past. If you want to live your life without regrets, then you have to really and truly understand what you need to do to achieve that goal. And not just temporarily.

With each chapter, you close in your life, comes the end of an old and the beginning of a new. These chapters are what we call cycles. If you are in tune with these cycles, you can feel the shift coming. They normally come in 7-year intervals, meaning that at age 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 (etc) you will have completed 6 cycles.

Each cycle ends with both positive and negative attributes, as well as hard lessons and immense growth. Upon each ending, you will notice the energies amping up. Everything around you may shift dramatically at the close of a volatile cycle, or fizzle out smoothly depending on which milestone you have accomplished.

Take a moment, look back on your life and try to remember the major events that surrounded these age markers, and notice these major milestones. Can you see the pattern? Once you do, you can prepare yourself for the next transition.

Each cycle ends with a period of reflection. This is where the should have, could have, and would haves come up. And to ensure that you reach your final cycle with a clear conscience, here are 50 Ways to Live Life Without Regrets.

50 Ways to Live Life Without Regrets.

50. Speak Your Mind

Your thoughts are important, don’t undervalue yourself.

49. Be Yourself

You can only be you, don’t become a second-rate version of someone else.

48. Be Bold

What would you do if you knew for 100% certainty, that you wouldn’t fail?

47. Admit When You Are Wrong

Have the courage to admit when you are wrong. It will gain you respect, and will allow you to become a strong leader.

46. Make Your Own Path

Don’t follow the trail, break free. Find your own path and leave footprints for someone else.

45. Find the Humor in life

Finding humor during the most serious of situations helps you to find non-attachment. The true nature of the universe is playful, not serious. Strive to find the lighter side of every dark situation.

44. Be thankful

True prayer, is not asking for what we want the desires of the heart, but accepting all of life’s blessing and showing gratitude for everything in return. A cycle of love that continues to grow.

43. Be Courageous

If you don’t take risks somewhere in life, you will end up not accomplishing much of anything. The impossible can always be broken down into possibilities.

Live Life Without Regrets

42. Be Vulnerable

Being vulnerable doesn’t mean being weak. Be willing to express your feelings.

41. Be Honest

It not just about being honest with others, it’s more about being honest with ourselves. If we aren’t being true to ourselves, we suffer. Always live true to your heart.

40. Think for Yourself

Throughout your life, you have been told how others think things should be done. The way they have been done and should still be done. But each of us thinks differently, uniquely, so be unique. The way you view the world is different from every other person on the planet. So think for yourself, your piece to the puzzle may just be the one that solves the riddle.

39. Find Your Passion

What is it that really gets that fire burning in your heart? What makes you tick? Grab a pen and a piece of paper, write down all of your interests since you were young. Favorite books, movies, sports, anything. Spend some time alone and rediscover yourself, find what makes you tick, and take action.

“Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

How to live a full life with no regrets

How to live a full life with no regrets

As a former hospice social worker, I learned a lot about regret. It was shocking how many of my hospice patients got to the end of their lives wishing they had lived differently. Many had unresolved relationship issues, unfulfilled dreams, and long-held resentments. My role was to help them come to terms with their regrets while they still had the chance. Some were able to find some resolution, but for others, it was too late, and they died still hanging on to regrets.

This impactful experience became a huge motivator for me to start living as if any day could be my last. We never know how long we will live, so we must make conscious choices each day to live fully and make the most out of each experience we have. Here are ten ways to start living life with no regrets.

1. Let your loved ones know you love them.
The experience of love is one of the best things in life. When you love someone, let both your words and deeds be loving. No one is promised tomorrow, so tell your loved ones each day how much they mean to you. Not only will your relationships grow, but you will as well.

2. Follow your dream.
So often, we are so busy trying to live up to the expectations of others that we do not allow ourselves to follow our own dream. Pursue the longings of your heart. When we ignore them, we miss the opportunity to reach our full potential and experience that deep fulfillment that following our dreams can offer.

3. Trust your gut instincts.
Your intuition is your best source of guidance. Whereas rational decisions come from your thinking mind only, your gut is that “all-knowing” part of you that if paid close attention to and acted on, will never lead you astray. When we use logic as our primary thinking mode, we miss many opportunities that our gut may have led us to.

4. Keep your work at work.
Earning a living is important, but not to the exclusion of other things. To fully participate in all aspects of life, such as spending time with loved ones and enjoying meaningful activities, we should leave work at work. Without a proper work/life balance, we miss out on the things that are most important to us. When we reach the end of our lives, it is not our work that matters, but the people we loved.

5. Take risks.
Staying within our comfort zone may be safe, but it is impossible to achieve greatness by living cautiously. Identifying one way each day to move outside our familiar comfort zone will help us take the risks needed to propel us forward and achieve a fuller, more gratifying life.

6. Take life less seriously.
Life is far too short to be spent worrying about things that are beyond our control. Allow happiness and fun to be part of your life each day. Being mindful and open to the good that is present in all situations can help us not to take life so seriously and is a key ingredient to having a more enjoyable life.

7. Turn “failures” into stepping stones.
Don’t quit when you perceive you have failed. Instead, use the experience to learn from and grow. It has been noted that Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before he succeeded in creating the light bulb. Can you imagine if he had he quit that we might still be living in the dark? A failure is always a stepping stone in disguise.

8. Practice forgiveness.
At some point in life, we all have been hurt. How we deal with that hurt is up to us. Some people stay stuck in bitterness their entire lives and never move beyond the pain. By choosing to forgive, we release ourselves from the grip of resentment and can move forward in our lives.

9. Be yourself.
We hear this statement all the time, but it is the truth. We have our own values, beliefs, personality traits, and desires. When we deny any part of our authentic self, we die a little death on the inside. Our uniqueness makes us who we are. By being true to ourselves, we also give everyone else permission to do the same.

10. Practice kindness.
Intentional kindness is life-giving. It works wonders in putting people at ease and improving relationships. A smile or kind gesture can make someone’s day brighter. Being kind is an easy practice that enhances our own lives and the lives of others, whether we know them or not.

Our lives are meant to be lived fully and completely, without regret. We never know how long we have, so let’s start living a life free of regrets today and every day.

How to live a full life with no regrets

How to live a full life with no regrets

As a former hospice social worker, I learned a lot about regret. It was shocking how many of my hospice patients got to the end of their lives wishing they had lived differently. Many had unresolved relationship issues, unfulfilled dreams, and long-held resentments. My role was to help them come to terms with their regrets while they still had the chance. Some were able to find some resolution, but for others, it was too late, and they died still hanging on to regrets.

This impactful experience became a huge motivator for me to start living as if any day could be my last. We never know how long we will live, so we must make conscious choices each day to live fully and make the most out of each experience we have. Here are ten ways to start living life with no regrets.

1. Let your loved ones know you love them.
The experience of love is one of the best things in life. When you love someone, let both your words and deeds be loving. No one is promised tomorrow, so tell your loved ones each day how much they mean to you. Not only will your relationships grow, but you will as well.

2. Follow your dream.
So often, we are so busy trying to live up to the expectations of others that we do not allow ourselves to follow our own dream. Pursue the longings of your heart. When we ignore them, we miss the opportunity to reach our full potential and experience that deep fulfillment that following our dreams can offer.

3. Trust your gut instincts.
Your intuition is your best source of guidance. Whereas rational decisions come from your thinking mind only, your gut is that “all-knowing” part of you that if paid close attention to and acted on, will never lead you astray. When we use logic as our primary thinking mode, we miss many opportunities that our gut may have led us to.

4. Keep your work at work.
Earning a living is important, but not to the exclusion of other things. To fully participate in all aspects of life, such as spending time with loved ones and enjoying meaningful activities, we should leave work at work. Without a proper work/life balance, we miss out on the things that are most important to us. When we reach the end of our lives, it is not our work that matters, but the people we loved.

5. Take risks.
Staying within our comfort zone may be safe, but it is impossible to achieve greatness by living cautiously. Identifying one way each day to move outside our familiar comfort zone will help us take the risks needed to propel us forward and achieve a fuller, more gratifying life.

6. Take life less seriously.
Life is far too short to be spent worrying about things that are beyond our control. Allow happiness and fun to be part of your life each day. Being mindful and open to the good that is present in all situations can help us not to take life so seriously and is a key ingredient to having a more enjoyable life.

7. Turn “failures” into stepping stones.
Don’t quit when you perceive you have failed. Instead, use the experience to learn from and grow. It has been noted that Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before he succeeded in creating the light bulb. Can you imagine if he had he quit that we might still be living in the dark? A failure is always a stepping stone in disguise.

8. Practice forgiveness.
At some point in life, we all have been hurt. How we deal with that hurt is up to us. Some people stay stuck in bitterness their entire lives and never move beyond the pain. By choosing to forgive, we release ourselves from the grip of resentment and can move forward in our lives.

9. Be yourself.
We hear this statement all the time, but it is the truth. We have our own values, beliefs, personality traits, and desires. When we deny any part of our authentic self, we die a little death on the inside. Our uniqueness makes us who we are. By being true to ourselves, we also give everyone else permission to do the same.

10. Practice kindness.
Intentional kindness is life-giving. It works wonders in putting people at ease and improving relationships. A smile or kind gesture can make someone’s day brighter. Being kind is an easy practice that enhances our own lives and the lives of others, whether we know them or not.

Our lives are meant to be lived fully and completely, without regret. We never know how long we have, so let’s start living a life free of regrets today and every day.

How to live a full life with no regrets

The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. Such things are more like illusion and fantasy, such as relationships and care for others. These things must be felt with the heart.

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Albert Einstein

Does a time come when a man asks himself if he is living a meaningful life or wasting his time? First, one should know what is a meaningful and useful life is all about. A useful life is not about how much currency we have piled up, how big of a celebrity we are, where we got our degrees from, or a sense of being perfect in everything.

On the other hand, a meaningful life is all about how lively and pleasantly we are living on this globe, how helpful and down to earth we are, to be our real self and be capable of sharing our happiness with others. It’s the true meaning of life that we make efforts for others instead of focusing on ourselves.

Purpose Of The Meaningful Life

No one can change the life of others, but we can make efforts. Efforts must be at such a level that no one can challenge you on them.

The heart is where one feels for others. Some experiences turned out to be good, some bad, but bad experiences can teach a lesson, and good experiences give you excitement, an excitement that can be seen in your eyes, and deep inside into your heart.

Types Of People

There are two types of people that exist in this world. The first is those who can’t see themselves crying or in miserable conditions. Such people are self-oriented, and being self-oriented isn’t a bad thing. People consider this selfishness. No, it isn’t, they are trying to make their lives more fascinating, a good one and a comforting one. They also help others but keep their personality first; they never compromise and never let themselves down.

The second type is those who prefer others and thinks about others first. They don’t care about their happiness and work hard putting smiles on other people faces. They think their victory is our victory and there is nothing more pleasing to anyone who has given up in life. In this case, you are taking him/her towards life and teaching him/her how life is beautiful.

“People living deeply have no fear of death.” – Anais Nin

Every day isn’t a good day, but every day can’t be a bad day. Good days teach you who you are and a bad day shows you how people would act in your downfall. So it’s an encouraging person that never leaves your side and gives anyone a vacancy to accommodate.

Ways To Make Life Meaningful For Others

Successful people live for others and devote their lives for other’s happiness. And in doing this, they adopt different ways. These ways can be based on their personality and resources that he/she can afford, but every successful person chooses their own way to help others in life.

Follow Your Aspirations

A successful person keeps aspirations far apart from his/her objectives. Most people can’t differentiate the two and intermingle the concepts. Aspiration is all about answering yourself every night before you go to sleep about what you did for people today.

How did you make them feel better? Did you make efforts for relieving their stress? Did you heal their wounds, or devote time to hearing their words of distress?

On the other hand, there are personal objectives – What should I do for myself to be on top? How I can get fame and become a successful model for others?

Stay Fully Passionate

A life without passion is something like a barren island on which nothing can be produced or cultivated.

Passion gives true meaning to life. If you don’t have any passion for helping others, then you can’t keep yourself ready for others. Sometimes it becomes so difficult to separate emotion, relationships, and workload, but with a little effort, you can balance all of them.

Make Your Own Rules Of Living

A genuine person possessing an urge to maintain a meaningful life makes his/her own rules without worrying about the consequences.

He/she doesn’t think about the pain that he/she endures making others’ lives more comfortable. He just sets his mind on what he/she has to do in every case.

Be A Kind-Hearted Person

Kindness is not merely a feeling, it’s a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. It’s not always easy to be kind. It demands lots of effort, dedication, sacrifices, and devotion.

Being a kind man is just like a flower seller who sells flowers all day and has nothing left in his hands at the end of the day but a fragrance and some painful wounds from the thorns. But when he passes people identify him from the scent of roses.

Strive To Help Others

Striving means sacrificing your own pleasure for others, and it leads a man towards lifelong learning. A humble man burns the midnight oil for other’s happiness and doesn’t bother with his own situation. He leaves his future on risk for other peoples’ tomorrow.

Volunteer

A man full of passions is always ready to do volunteer work. He does anything that can alleviate poverty, to provide shelter to those who are living beneath the open sky.

Life gives you a test when you put yourself in a situation where you create room for others or step forward to serve a more significant cause. But during the whole journey life becomes meaningful, and not only will one person get the benefits, but a family and the family will help others.

In this way, a candle spreads the light from one to another.

How to live a full life with no regrets

No regrets, you swear to yourself as you move through life. But the daily grind, the end of another year and the beginning of a new one may make you wonder: Am I making the most of my time on Earth?

Your elders can provide some perspective.

“If you get to the end of your life with no regrets at all, you probably haven’t lived that interesting a life,” Karl Pillemer, a gerontologist at Cornell University, told TODAY about his conversations with older Americans. “But they can’t believe how people waste their time. Petty fights, resentments and worry.”

Pillemer, author of “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans,” and his team interviewed 1,500 people over 65 about what haunts them most about their life choices.

How to live a full life with no regrets

Simple ways to be happy right now – and every day

Here are their biggest regrets and their advice on how not to make the same mistakes:

1. Not being careful enough when choosing a life partner

The elders agreed choosing a mate is one of the most important decisions a human being makes, but looking back over their own experience, they believe many people aren’t careful enough, Pillemer said. They’re too impulsive, perceive the relationship as a “last-chance leap,” or they slide into the inevitable.

One woman who had been in a bad relationship told him: It’s better not to marry than to marry the wrong person. Some learned that hard lesson from a first marriage.

Their advice: Take the time to get to know someone before committing. Really make sure the person is the right one.

2. Not resolving a family estrangement

Some of the unhappiest older people Pillemer met were those who had a rift with a child and no longer had contact with him or her. Almost all wished they had tried harder to reconcile, asked for forgiveness, apologized or tried to communicate before it became too late.

“The kinds of things that seemed worth saying ‘My way or the highway’ when you were 40 and they were 18 usually never seem worth it at 80,” he said. “Even if their relationships with their other children were great, the one with whom there was this irreparable rift still caused them a lot of remorse and anguish.”

Their advice: If it’s within your power to resolve an estrangement — whether with a child, parent, a sibling or a friend — do whatever you can to repair that rift. Explore opportunities for forgiveness and reconciliation.

Start with no regrets and move on from there

by Barbara Hannah Grufferman, AARP | Comments: 0

How to live a full life with no regrets

Getty Images/Hero Images

Staying engaged with friends, and making new friends and connections, is important to your overall well-being.

En español | One of the keys to living your best life after 50 is to steer clear of regret.

Accept the results of your earlier choices but understand that it’s probably time to make some adjustments to how you live your life going forward.

Think about your future and imagine what you would like it to be. Not sure where to start? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I staying engaged with the world and the people I care about?
  2. Am I taking care of my body, mind and spirit?
  3. Am I making “me” a priority?
  4. Am I in control of my finances?
  5. Am I having fun?

Here are 10 tips that will help you answer all those questions with a yes:

1. Keep networking

Whether you’re working, retired or thinking about reentering the job force, networking is essential. Engaging with people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and face-to-face in industry groups will keep you current and connected. Keep your résumé up to date, too.

2. Build a personal board of directors

Life after 50 is filled with change and can be confusing. Whether you’re looking to switch careers, pursue a relationship (or end one) or buy a house, having a trusted posse to review life’s bigger questions helps. Invite several nonjudgmental friends who will encourage and guide you. And do the same for them.

3. Don’t smoke

This is a no-brainer, but it’s shocking that we still see smokers on the street. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death, according to the American Lung Association. If you’re over 50 and still smoking, get help to quit.

4. Have safe sex

Don’t think because you are over 50 you are immune to sexually transmitted disease. You are not. Make sure you know the scoop on your partner before you proceed, even if you’re in a steady relationship. Use condoms. Discuss your risk factors with your doctor and get tested for the most common STDs, especially when you start a relationship. Insist that your partner do the same.

5. Move your body

Give your body, mind and spirit the daily gift of movement, whatever it is. Even going out for a brisk walk will put you on the right path. It’s not about being skinny; it’s about being strong and as fit as possible.

6. Strengthen your bones

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that we associate with aging, and rightly so. Getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D (which helps the body absorb the calcium) is essential. Equally important is doing strength-training exercises to build muscle mass and bone density. Added bonus? Your body will be toned and strong.

7. Save more and spend less

The more money you have saved after 50, the less stress and anxiety you’ll experience. A big fear among those over 50 is not having enough money to live well later in life. (The AARP Retirement Calculator can help you see how you’re doing.) The sooner you start saving more and spending less, the better you will be down the road. Take the advice of the top money experts: Use a fee-only financial planner to get you on the right path.

8. Be a person of action

We’re all busy with family, work and friends, but that’s no excuse to stop thinking about causes that are important to us and to the world. We have wisdom and ideas. Don’t just pass the baton to the next generation. Hold it with them so we can solve the world’s problems together.

9. Hug your inner kid

Smile, play, laugh, have fun with family and friends. Take up a hobby or activity, perhaps one you can do with others who care about you.

10. Embrace your age

Don’t fight aging. It is a very powerful concept — letting go of your younger self, and embracing and loving your aging self. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and take care of you — body, mind and soul — as you would your children, your family and your friends.

Read Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s “best of everything” posts on the AARP Blog.

How to wise up and move on

by Dorothy Foltz-Gray, AARP Bulletin, March 14, 2012 | Comments: 0

A severe case of the regrets — feeling overwhelmed by the coulda-shoulda-woulda of life — not only robs us of energy and imprisons us in the past, it can also make us sick

According to research at Concordia University in Montreal, the emotional distress of regrets can disrupt your hormonal and immune systems, particularly if you are 65 or older, which can lead to colds, headaches — or worse.

How to live a full life with no regrets

Photo by Getty Images

Feeling depressed? Learn to let go of past regrets.

“People with severe life regrets had more cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion, coughs, sneezing, fever and headaches,” says Concordia researcher Isabelle Bauer, now a clinical psychologist at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

Bauer also found an increase in depressive symptoms — such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating — in those with unresolved regret. “Obsessing or ruminating over regrets can also lead to depression and anxiety as you kick yourself over and over,” says psychologist Neal Roese, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Related

  • Things to do at least once when you’re over 50. Read
  • Learn ways to change for the better — and get the life you’ve always wanted. Watch
  • Top 5 regrets of the dying. Read

Join AARP today – Receive access to exclusive information, benefits and discounts.

Roese’s 2011 study of most common regrets found that romance topped the list, followed by regrets about family, education, career, finances and parenting. But he adds that regrets can have their upside as well. “They can be a signal that it’s time to change your strategy, and a motivator for new action,” he says.

The other goods news is that as we age, most of us become more adept at letting go of regrets. We may not have as much opportunity to undo the past — return to school for a degree, say, or undo an unhappy marriage — but life experience has wised us up. “We get better at accepting things we can’t change,” says Carsten Wrosch, an associate professor of psychology at Concordia University.

Here are some experts’ tips for overcoming regret and moving on.

    Focus on others’ regrets. When the source of your regret is undoable — say, a badly chosen career path — realizing that someone else’s sorrows are more wrenching than yours can help you more easily make peace with the past, says Bauer.

  • Let others motivate you. “If you can change what led to regrets, thinking about people who are better off than you can be motivating,” says Bauer. “It can make you think of how to take advantage of current opportunities.” For instance, if you regret not spending time with family during your working years, perhaps you can follow the lead of a buddy who dotes on his family now.
    • Shift from inner to outer focus. Take your regrets seriously, says Roese, “but then move on by taking new action.” Maybe you can’t make amends to the late cousin you dissed. “But you can rechannel that energy to people around you now,” says Roese. If you regret parts of your education, “take a new class in pottery — or anything,” says Roese. “Switch your mind away from the past to focus on the present.”
    • Write out your angst. Bauer asked people to write about regrets: One day they wrote about people who had regrets more severe than their own, another about external circumstances that led to regret, and finally, about goals for the future. “The adults who went through the writing intervention reported fewer cold symptoms than the others,” says Bauer. “If you write about recent emotional experiences daily, it helps you put them in context and leave them behind,” says Roese. A 2008 Australian study also found that writing once a week for three weeks about an upsetting experience reduced intrusive thoughts.

      Assess your actions. Let’s say you bought a house that turned out to be a money pit. Examine the process that led to the purchase, says Roese: “Did you do a house inspection or decide on impulse? Sometimes it’s good to go back and assess. You may see that there wasn’t anything else to be done, and that’s comforting.”

      Set new goals. “Let go of regret by finding something positive and meaningful to do,” says Wrosch. “It may not be the same things you were engaged in when you were working, but the underlying themes may be similar: traveling, making new friends, learning something new.”

    • Seek help. If you find yourself unable to stop thinking about regrets, consider counseling, says Roese. “Cognitive behavioral therapy, in particular, emphasizes changing thought patterns that are destructive.”

    Dorothy Foltz-Gray is a freelance writer who lives in North Carolina.

    How to live a full life with no regrets

    No regrets, you swear to yourself as you move through life. But the daily grind, the end of another year and the beginning of a new one may make you wonder: Am I making the most of my time on Earth?

    Your elders can provide some perspective.

    “If you get to the end of your life with no regrets at all, you probably haven’t lived that interesting a life,” Karl Pillemer, a gerontologist at Cornell University, told TODAY about his conversations with older Americans. “But they can’t believe how people waste their time. Petty fights, resentments and worry.”

    Pillemer, author of “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans,” and his team interviewed 1,500 people over 65 about what haunts them most about their life choices.

    How to live a full life with no regrets

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    Here are their biggest regrets and their advice on how not to make the same mistakes:

    1. Not being careful enough when choosing a life partner

    The elders agreed choosing a mate is one of the most important decisions a human being makes, but looking back over their own experience, they believe many people aren’t careful enough, Pillemer said. They’re too impulsive, perceive the relationship as a “last-chance leap,” or they slide into the inevitable.

    One woman who had been in a bad relationship told him: It’s better not to marry than to marry the wrong person. Some learned that hard lesson from a first marriage.

    Their advice: Take the time to get to know someone before committing. Really make sure the person is the right one.

    2. Not resolving a family estrangement

    Some of the unhappiest older people Pillemer met were those who had a rift with a child and no longer had contact with him or her. Almost all wished they had tried harder to reconcile, asked for forgiveness, apologized or tried to communicate before it became too late.

    “The kinds of things that seemed worth saying ‘My way or the highway’ when you were 40 and they were 18 usually never seem worth it at 80,” he said. “Even if their relationships with their other children were great, the one with whom there was this irreparable rift still caused them a lot of remorse and anguish.”

    Their advice: If it’s within your power to resolve an estrangement — whether with a child, parent, a sibling or a friend — do whatever you can to repair that rift. Explore opportunities for forgiveness and reconciliation.