How to tackle 'blurt regret' over the festive season

If you’ve ever spent days, weeks or even months worrying about something you said, or how it came across, you’ve probably fallen victim to ‘blurt regret.’

Whether it was the thing you said, how it came out, or the way people around you reacted to it, it’s that feeling of wishing you could take a comment back.

But as this regret sets in, obsession follows. We spend hours and hours replaying the moment in our heads, thinking about what we should have said instead, or how we could have acted differently.

This form of social anxiety is likely to be rife over the coming weeks, with gathering, events and celebrations on the agenda – and plenty of people to talk to.

Plus, the fact that blurt regret can strike at any moment makes it all the more challenging.

Sometimes it’s not until we get home that we start to question what we said. It can even be the hangxiety the following morning that gives us flashbacks to the night before.

Life coach Natalie Trice tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Given that we have spent nearly two years watching everything we say and do, there is little surprise that we are overthinking when it comes down to “blurt regret anxiety” over the party season.

‘There is nothing worse than spending time with family, friends, and colleagues to then berate yourself for what you said at the time.’

Once we get stuck in this repetitive cycle of thoughts, it can often be hard to break free.

So how do we tackle it?

Experts have shared some things to keep in mind when you’re spiralling over what you’ve said.

Question your thoughts

It’s important to consider whether your perception of an event is actually representative of what happened, explains Dr Zoe Cross, a clinical psychologist at My Online Therapy.

She says: ‘Questioning your thoughts can often lead us to realise that we’re not recalling the event in an accurate way. It therefore discounts the thoughts, as they begin to make little sense.’

Problem-solve 

Dr Zoe also suggests making a plan to address what it is you’re overthinking. 

She adds: ‘Be specific, but realistic. Take one step at a time.’

An example of this could be writing down the issue and then creating five different solutions – with pros and cons for each.

Distract yourself

Try to take your mind off it, rather than spiral down an anxiety hole.

‘Call a family member or a friend, occupy yourself with jobs around the house or watch something on TV,’ adds Dr Zoe.

‘You might also lose yourself in an activity, such as drawing or reading a book. Or take a mindful walk – be present and notice what’s happening around you.’

This should help ground you and put things in perspective. 

Meditate

When we get stressed in this way, it’s a good idea to engage in activities that calm us down – this could be in the form of meditation or deep breathing exercises. 

This is because when we have a clearer mind, it can help us see things for what they are. 

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Try not to dwell

Of course, it’s easier said than done – but it’s vital to try not to overthink a comment.

Natalie adds: ‘It could be that you are simply nervous about being “out out,” you might have had one cocktail too many or things got heated over discussions about vaccines and masks.

‘This is all totally natural and I would suggest you don’t get too hung up over this – or it will really bring you down.’

After all, it’s very likely you are the only person that’s still thinking about this remark.

Write it down

‘If you have said something to your dad, bestie or boss that you regret, first of all write down and get it out of your head. Then, step back and ask yourself, is it really that bad?’ says Natalie.

Once our anxieties and worries are physically in front of us, it can help us make sense of them. This why journaling has become so popular.

Talk about how you’re feeling 

Ultimately, if guilt is taking over, talking to the person or people you were with at the time of the ‘blurt’ could help.

‘If you feel like you have upset them, or overstepped the mark, the best thing is not to mull it over and over to the point of insomnia, but instead talk to them,’ says Nataile. 

‘Saying you are sorry, you didn’t mean to be divisive or upset them is the first step to not only building bridges but also bringing down your anxiety over the matter. 

‘We are all human and we are all trying to navigate choppy waters, so go easy on yourself.’

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