Date :10-Mar-2024

Regret is a feeling of sadness for doing or not doing something. It is a sense of sadness for a mistake committed in life. It is a strong painful emotion rooted in guilt or remorse. The victim always focuses on the past. Under the influence of regret one always evaluates oneself negatively. The problem may be real, perceived or imaginary. If the problem of regret is not addressed in time, it has a big physical and mental toll. A strong emotion of distress grips the victim. Physical symptoms include muscle fatigue, sleep disturbances, change in appetite, headache, joint or muscle pain,upset stomach, imbalanced breath, etc. Mental and emotional disturbances appear in forms of chronic stress, anxiety,depression, low self esteem, helplessness, hopelessness, isolation behaviour, self blame etc. The overall result is poor health. The overall career and interpersonal relationships suffer badly. If symptoms are chronic and severe, the patient is suggested to visit a medical doctor who treats it through cognitive behavioural therapy or medication. In his book, The Power Of Regret, Daniel Pink writes that regret may be a source of valuable information which can be utilised to guide, motivate and inspire to make better decisions. Regret can be seen as an opportunity for better change. Mistakes can be accepted and acknowledged. One can forgive and go ahead.
Most of the time CBT does not work effectively because regret is deeply embedded into the subconscious mind. Despite the best efforts, the problem remains unsolved. Experts suggest building resilience and wisdom to overcome the negative cognitive disturbance arising out of regret. But this is not so easy. I am discussing three Yogic and mind management techniques which have addressed the issue of regret very effectively. The first is the humming or chanting of some Mantra as per the religious belief. Second is witnessing the breath and third is visualisation of forgiving oneself or begging pardon from one to whom some wrongs are supposedly done. The 10 minute practice begins with sitting in solitude. The spine should be kept erect as the bioenergy flows uninterrupted in this position. Humming or chanting a Mantra releases nitric oxide in nasal passes. Nitric oxide is a hormone which relaxes the nervous system. As the nervous system starts getting relaxed, the conscious mind withdraws and the subconscious mind becomes active. Breath is to be watched as a witness.
Breath awareness deepens the relaxation and the subconscious mind becomes more receptive. After practice of both these techniques, the subconscious mind is now ready to take suggestions. The subconscious mind is the seat of all phobia, mania , habits, guilt, regret, etc. Now the sentence that I am forgiving myself or I am begging pardon is to be mentally repeated in the form of suggestion. The subconscious mind starts picking up these suggestions and the sense of regret starts disappearing. It has been found that regular practice of these 3 techniques starts showing good results within 15 days. Since, the problem of regret is psychosomatic, so these mind management and Yogic techniques are the best antidote to the problem even if the patient is on medication. (The writer is Former DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)