7 of Life’s Most Common Regrets People Have

Psych2Goers, do you ever feel as though you may have been able to do something different in the past that you wish you could change? Or maybe you’re nervous for the what lies ahead, wondering how to foolproof your future so that you don’t make as many mistakes that you may regret as time passes on.

Either way, we all experience life differently, and are bound to make some sort of mistakes as we grow and learn. However, there are some very common mistakes with some very real and pressing consequences. While no amount of mistakes should haunt you forever, we’ve compiled a list of life’s most common regrets that people tend to have. While you may be able to relate to some of these, or feel concerned that you may be making some of these mistakes now, there’s still time to recognize them before it’s too late.

In any case, here’s 7 of life’s most common regrets people have!

This article is for educational purposes and is based on personal opinions. This article is not a substitute for professional advice, but general guidance. We advise you to always listen to your intuition and always do what is right for you.

1. Holding onto grudges

Do you think about that one person just a bit too much? That certain incident that happened, or a time in your life where something just… didn’t go like it was supposed to? It’s common to feel upset or angry with others from time to time. Maybe they’ve done something to you that you can’t shake off, or that it’s constantly occupying your mind. Those who tend to hold grudges may be so focused from their grudge that they miss opportunities to reconnect and forgive others, which can, in turn, sometimes strengthen the relationship by figuring out what went wrong, and dealing with it in a healthy manner.

Others can hurt us with words, actions, or sometimes even physically, mentally, or emotionally. Holding a grudge against someone for years and years creates large amount of stress on our bodies. Forgiving and moving on helps allow us to heal, and to let go of the pent up frustration that we can experience. Refusing to forgive and holding onto grudges for many years at a time can cause increasing amounts of hostility and overall poorer health than others who forgive (How to let go of a grudge, 2021).

2. Working too much, or too long

Has anyone you know described you as a “workaholic”? Maybe you’ve gotten stares or a little bit of teasing from your friends for the hours you spend studying, working, or cleaning frequently. If you tend to spend most of your time working multiple jobs, projects, assignments, or personal ventures that you forget to spend time with the people or environment around you, then this may be one of the biggest regrets that you or younger people may have (Munoz, 2021).

While working helps us stay productive, work towards dreams or aspirations we have, or also if it’s just to get some cash to pay for things we need or want, it’s important to strike a life/work balance so that we can enjoy the time we have to take care of ourselves and enjoy with the people we cherish. Instead of taking more and more overtime, or doing all of your assignemets in one go, try to space out and give yourself time you need, because time is the only resource that you can never get back.

3. Not showing kindness to others

Have you seen someone online or in person participate in a “random act of kindness”? Whether it’s letting a friend or someone you don’t know have a bit extra of your lunch, giving someone a surprise gift, or (politely) complimenting someone on their appearance, kindness is a virtue that we can easily forget to offer to others. Being kind has shown to help reduce feelings of isolation, and help generate good feelings by supporting those around us (Kindness matters guide, 2021). Without kindness, we can tend to grow cynical or close-minded, absorbing and expelling negativity over and over again.

After time has passed, kindness can often be a reflection of how easy we’re able to make friends and support our community around us. If you’re not been the kindest person as of late, you might want to try to spread a little joy to the people around you. Starting small and doing things to make the people around you happy just might end up making a huge difference in their life, and you may find them returning the favor one day!

4. Neglecting to save for the future

Low on cash? Is it common that you spend your paycheck, allowance, or other form of income you get almost immediately on plenty of things that you want? While it’s always nice to get that brand new shirt, necklace, or game that you’ve been eyeing for a while, lots of people tend to regret their spending habits if they get a little too out of control.

When facing temptation to buy tons of expensive things just because you have the money available, it can be difficult to look into the future to put money into savings for later on. Thinking in the short term is a lot easier than thinking about what could happen dozens of years from today. But having to work when you’re well into your 70’s, 80’s, or even 90’s can be a total drag. Maybe opening up a savings account or putting a little bit of money away each month could help save for emergencies, vacations, or even retirement later down the line! Or else, you may get stuck without a good amount of money when you need it the most!

5. Forgetting your physical health

Living life to the fullest, at least in your diet? Maybe eating an entire pizza on the weekends, or snacking down on chocolates while you’re young is what makes you feel more alive. Who could blame you? We all tend to have cravings from time to time, and although they’re not the healthiest, our bodies do store nutrients and vitamins from the foods and diets we choose to have when we’re young, almost like a bank that makes use of these habits when we’re older.

Most people may regret choosing to eat unhealthy, which can lead to unhealthy BMI’s and can lead to severe problems concerning vitamin deficiencies, or other sorts of health complications later down the road! While healthy eating definitely plays a part as well, making sure that you’re getting plenty of exercise while you’re younger and spry can help with development and strength of muscles and bones! This has a similar effect to eating healthy and retaining diet patterns. Going on a diet doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not having any unhealthy foods whatsoever, but developing patterns to eat fruits and juices consistently can make a big difference, and was noted in a study to even help women as they age to not develop physical impairments as they got older (Hagan et al., 2016).

6. Losing the opportunity to speak how you feel

Cat got your tongue? If you’ve ever had something important to say, you may hear others to tell you to “Say it, or else you’ll regret it for the rest of your life!” While this saying may be a bit blunt, it has been revealed in a previous study that starting at the age of about 8 years old is when regret may begin to affect our desire to make risky decisions, and the more we regret decisions the older we get (Travers et al., 2017).

This research may come across as shocking, but as we grow and get older, we may realize that there is a lot more at stake for each decision that we make, and the more familiar we become with the consequences of our actions. As a result, you may find it more difficult to go out on a limb, or make a risky decision if you’ve felt as though you’ve had bad experiences with regret in the past on previous decisions. This may also affect your ability to make decisions in the moment when need be, and how much you may increasingly regret them as you get older! Speaking how you feel is important, as when we get good feedback from risky decisions, we may feel more likely to repeat them, or develop a sense of bravery. Making sure to make decisions when you’re younger, and to learn not to regret the decisions you’ve made in the past as you age is a helpful way to help balance out these conflicting emotions. Tell that one special person how you feel, or say what’s on your mind—you’ll be happier that you did!

7. Taking care of your mental health

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a serious topic, and nobody else in the whole world more than Psych2Go wants to emphasize the importance of mental wellbeing!

Mental health can be fascinating to some, which may be why you’re reading this article right now. In any event, sacrificing your mental health to complete other tasks, speed up your work efficacy, or to take care of others while neglecting yourself can put your mind and body in a position where it can be compromised to stress, bouts of anxiety, or in severe cases, different types of mental health or anxiety disorders. Pushing your body and mind past its limits on a constant basis, undergoing debililtating pressure, stress, or emotional trauma can cause severe damage to your mental wellbeing. Much like you wouldn’t put too much strain on your arms by lifting more than you’re capable of, or your eyes by staring into the sun for too long. It’s important to take care of you.

Concluding Remarks

While we all don’t have an unlimited amount of time, it’s important to understand the time that we do have, and what we choose to do with it. While priorities and needs tend to come first, we can easily forget about our future, or what making certain decisions in the now can affect us later down the line. Making sure that you are able to have a balance of enjoying yourself in the present, while also helping your future self can make a world of difference. While the balance isn’t always easy to achieve, we genuinely hope this article may have helped you think of a few regrets that you may not have known, or regrets that you may have, and how one can still recover and know that we all make mistakes.

Everyone has a different experience with regret, and with things in their past or future that they’re concerned about. What’s the greatest regret you’ve had, and how did you come to terms with it? Did you ever manage to avoid a mistake that lots of others make, or fix a mistake that you had made in your past years later? We would love to hear about it, so feel free to comment down below! Remember, we here at Psych2Go absolutely adore your love and support, which includes you reading our articles, watching our videos, and any reactions or comments you have for any of our content! Your love and support helps make psychology more accessible for people like you all around the world. So thank you, Psych2Goers!

If you can relate to any of these signs, please do not take this feedback as an attack on your character.  This article was meant to be a self-improvement guide for those of you who have been feeling a little stuck.

Further viewing:


Hagan, K. A., Chiuve, S. E., Stampfer, M. J., Katz, J. N., & Grodstein, F. (2016, May 11). Greater adherence to the alternative healthy eating index is associated with lower incidence of physical function impairment in the nurses’ health study. OUP Academic. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/146/7/1341/4616094

Kindness matters guide. Mental Health Foundation. (2021, April 6). Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/kindness/kindness-matters-guide#:~:text=Acts%20of%20kindness%20have%20the,in%20control%2C%20happiness%20and%20optimism.&text=They%20may%20also%20encourage%20others,to%20a%20more%20positive%20community.

Munoz , J. (n.d.). The biggest regrets people have later in life. Psych2Go. Retrieved November 7, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJVIo46qBC4

Travers, E., Feeney, A., O’Connor, E., Beck, S. R., & McCormack, T. (2017, May 13). Knowing when to hold ’em: Regret and the relation between missed opportunities and risk taking in children, adolescents and adults. Taylor & Francis Online. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02699931.2017.1326373

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2022, March 15). Nutrition for older adults. MedlinePlus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/nutritionforolderadults.html

UW Medicine. (2021, March 22). How to let go of a grudge. Right as Rain . Retrieved March 29, 2022, from https://rightasrain.uwmedicine.org/mind/well-being/holding-a-grudge#:~:text=When%20you%20hold%20a%20grudge,make%20you%20minimize%20your%20emotions.

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