The Effects of Guilt – Part 1

Don’t Let Guilt Dictate How To Feel About Yourself!


There are so many variables that come into play whenever our brain is trying to make us “feel” a certain way. Some of these variables can be controlled by us internally. However, there are also outside influences that come into play that we have no control over. And while we have no control over those influences, we do have control over how we heal and move on.


What is Guilt?


Whenever people do something wrong, they feel guilty. Guilt is oftentimes tied directly into your internal moral code. Sometimes guilt is normal, while other times guilt is merely a symptom of some form of trauma or an underlying/undiagnosed mental issue or disease.


Feelings of guilt should not wholly consume your life. You should not be obsessing over guilt.


Feelings of guilt are different from any other emotion. Sometimes you may even feel like you deserve to feel guilty. Even if it means feeling guilty for something that was out of your control, feeling guilty for an imagined offense or scenario, or even feeling guilty about being “inadequate” in various aspects of your life.


What makes someone feel guilty can essentially be anything, but in most cases the cause is extremely minor when compared to the grand scheme of things.


How Guilt Can Affect Your Mental Health


Because guilt can look different and affect people in various ways, it may be hard to pinpoint exactly how guilt is affecting other parts of your life – but odds are it probably is. If you already struggle with your mental health, feelings of guilt can worsen and even feed off of other mental issues, causing extended periods of anxiety and depression.


For those who may already struggle with depression in particular, guilty thoughts can turn obsessive and can draw out this sense of feeling guilty, even if it simply isn’t a big deal (but in your mind, however, it may seem like a huge deal!). The same is true if you suffer from anxiety and even obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).


This is because guilt is linked in the mind with a sense that you did something wrong and it won’t ever get better until you fix it. In some cases, a guilty feeling is brought on by simply something you can’t fix, and that can set your mental health up for a seemingly never-ending cycle of agony.


Stress will also be directly affected by guilt. Regardless of where the initial feeling of guilt stems from, the stress of having this feeling of guilt itself can have serious effects on your mental health, as well as a negative impact on your sense of self and life going around you.


Coping With & Treating Feelings Of Guilt


While there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to overcoming feelings of guilt, or even related feelings like shame and remorse, there are many options available. Here are some of the common ways that a professional can help you address feeling of guilt:


  1. Talk Therapy: A trained therapist will be able to help examine and sort through any of the guilty feelings that you may be experiencing, and they may be able to help you uncover any feelings of guilt that are out of proportion for what’s normal.
  2. Behavioral Therapy: Individuals may have been raised to feel guilt about things that are either completely normal or unavoidable. This is especially true for those who were raised in an overly strict or very religious household. Behavioral therapy can help train your brain to learn that you don’t need to feel guilty about being human
  3. EMDR Therapy: A beneficial form of psychotherapy treatment that has been proven to work wonders for survivors of trauma and traumatic events. By working to retrain your brain to feel different about this trauma, feelings of guilt may dissipate in the process.
  4. Work On Underlying Issues: Individuals with other mental health disorders may experience guilt more than the average person. For example, a person with depression may feel guilty about being depressed. By working to address underlying issues, guilt may not rear its head as frequently as before


Contact Sheldon today to find the missing piece needed to address your guilt.

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