For a happier life as a Thirdager, you're best off letting go of any regrets you may have. That's the conclusion of a study published in the April 19th issue of the journal "Science." The German researchers entitled their report "Don't Look Back in Anger!" Lead author Stefanie Brassen of the Hamburg University Medical Centre and colleagues wrote: "Our results suggest that disengagement from regret reflects a critical resilience factor for emotional health in older age."
Or as Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth put it: "Things without all remedy should be without regard: what's done is done."
Fortunately, Brassen and her team say regrets typically fade as we age because we're focusing on doing what we can to make the most of the rest of our lives. The scientists used brain scans that showed that emotionally healthy older people, as contrasted with those who are depressed, experienced less regret when they made mistakes during a computerized game. They also regulated their emotions better and their heart rates were slower. They sweated less, too, an indication that they weren't all that stressed out by errors and missed opportunities in the game. They just moved on to try again.
According to an online article in HealthDay, Brassen said that "people who are content in old age may use ‘mental strategies’ which they may not even be aware of – such as reassuring themselves that the results were only chance."
HealthDay quoted article's main finding: "As opportunities to undo regrettable situations decline with age, a reduced engagement into these situations represents a potentially protective strategy to maintain well-being in older age."