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7 Regrets in Life that You Should Avoid According to Psychology

By Ysh Estayo | Posted on June 4, 2024 | Manila, Philippines | EDITORIALPH

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You Should Avoid This!

May 2, 2024 | Authored by: Ysh Estayo

Self Help | Personal Development | Motivation | Psychology | Regrets

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1. Not pursuing one's passions and dreams

Research by psychologists Laura King and Joshua Hicks found that individuals who pursue personally meaningful goals experience greater life satisfaction and well-being. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, highlighted that aligning one's career with personal passions leads to higher job satisfaction and reduced feelings of regret.

Actionable goals and steps to avoid this: Set aside time each week to explore hobbies or interests that bring joy and fulfillment. Create a vision board or journal to visualize goals and track progress towards achieving them. Seek out mentors or join communities related to your passions for support and guidance.

2. Neglecting personal relationships 

A longitudinal study conducted by Harvard researchers over 75 years found that the quality of one's relationships is the strongest predictor of happiness and life satisfaction. Moreover, a meta-analysis published in Psychological Bulletin concluded that social connections are associated with reduced risk of mortality and overall better health outcomes.

Actionable goals and steps to avoid this: Schedule regular quality time with loved ones, such as family dinners or outings with friends. Practice active listening and empathy in conversations to strengthen connections. Make a conscious effort to reach out and stay in touch with friends and family members, even during busy times.

3. Prioritizing work over life balance

The Whitehall II study, led by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, revealed that employees who work long hours without adequate time for rest and leisure are at higher risk of stress-related health issues, including cardiovascular diseases and depression. This emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance for both physical and mental well-being.

Actionable goals and steps to avoid this: Set boundaries around work hours and designate time for relaxation and leisure activities. Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Incorporate breaks and physical activity into your daily routine to reduce stress and improve productivity.

4. Not expressing true feelings

A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships demonstrated that emotional suppression in relationships can lead to feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction. Conversely, research by psychologist James Pennebaker suggests that expressive writing about emotional experiences can improve emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships.

Actionable goals and steps to avoid this: Practice assertive communication by expressing thoughts and emotions openly and respectfully. Journal about feelings and experiences to gain clarity and insight into personal emotions. Seek out supportive relationships where vulnerability is encouraged and reciprocated.

5. Not taking risks 

According to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, individuals who embrace uncertainty and take calculated risks tend to experience greater personal growth and life satisfaction. Moreover, a study conducted by psychologists Laura Blackie and Tim Jay revealed that regret over inaction is more prevalent than regret over action, indicating the potential consequences of not taking risks.

Actionable goals and steps to avoid this: Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone by trying new activities or pursuing opportunities for growth. Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) to break down larger risks into manageable steps. Reflect on past experiences where taking risks led to personal growth and positive outcomes.

6. Not prioritizing self-care

The American Psychological Association (APA) emphasizes the importance of self-care practices, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management, for maintaining optimal mental and physical health. Numerous studies have shown that neglecting self-care can lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout 

Actionable goals and steps to avoid this: Develop a self-care routine that includes regular exercise, adequate sleep, and mindfulness practices. Schedule time for relaxation and leisure activities that bring joy and rejuvenation. Practice self-compassion and forgive yourself for mistakes or setbacks in your self-care journey.

7. Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance

Research published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (ten Brummelhuis & Bakker) suggests that employees who prioritize leisure activities outside of work experience higher levels of job satisfaction and overall well-being. Furthermore, a study by researchers at the University of British Columbia (Staines et al.) found that individuals who regularly engage in leisure activities report lower levels of stress and better mental health outcomes.

Actionable goals and steps to avoid this: Create a weekly schedule that includes dedicated time for work, leisure, and personal activities. Delegate tasks or seek support from colleagues to manage workload and avoid burnout. Set boundaries around work-related communication outside of designated work hours to protect personal time.

This article is sponsored by Intellycoach | For coaching, mentoring, online courses, talk and training, please visit their website at

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