/rɪˈgrɛt/ [ri-gret] -gret⋅ted, -gret⋅ting, noun
–verb (used with object)
1. to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.): He no sooner spoke than he regretted it.
2. to think of with a sense of loss: to regret one's vanished youth.
3. a sense of loss, disappointment, dissatisfaction, etc.
4. a feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, disappointment, etc.
5. regrets, a polite, usually formal refusal of an invitation: I sent her my regrets.
6. a note expressing regret at one's inability to accept an invitation: I have had four acceptances and one regret.
1. the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, esp. against moral or penal law; culpability: He admitted his guilt.
2. a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
3. conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of guilt.
A lot of people regret things that they have done in their lives. I have always been a bit proud that I am not regretful. The things that I have done have made me who I am.
On the other hand, I feel guilty about everything. Seriously. I carry so much guilt around it's hard to stand sometimes.
How does regret compare to guilt?
Firstly, with a quick look, guilt is way more serious. Sally regrets giving Sarah that last drink. Sally feels guilty about letting Sarah drive home drunk.
They are both feelings of remorse (deep and painful regret for wrongdoing; compunction).
Side note: Don't you hate it when you are trying to figure out the meaning of a word just to have the definitions circle around one another?
Regret is remorse for an act or fault. Guilt is remorse for a crime or offense. Geez.
I think the most important part of either of these definitions is that guilt is for something either real or imagined. Regrets are real. Ben called Lucy a bitch and regrets it. Lucy got angry, stormed out the door and got hit by a bus. Now Ben feels guilty about Lucy getting hit by the bus. Ben wasn't driving the bus. Calling Lucy a bitch did not cause her hospitalization.
Who knows, maybe Ben is better off.
What is my conclusion? I suppose it would be healthier to be regretful than guilt ridden. Especially for things out of your (my) control. I don't know if anyone else learned anything in the past couple of minutes (assuming you are a slow reader) but I did. I can't say that it will help or change anything, but I certainly learned something.