Guilty feelings are common. But are they healthy? Sometimes guilt can motivate us to do better. Studies have shown that people who experience guilt are more likely to be proactive in solving a problem. They are also more likely to reassess the problem later, see how they may have contributed to it, and learn from it.
Guilt over something trivial, such as eating an extra dessert, guilt that turns into shame, feeling that you’re not good enough, or blaming yourself for something that’s not your fault can be harmful. Both can diminish self-esteem and lead to depression.
Here are some tips to help you start handling guilt today:
- Learn from what’s making you feel guilty.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. You can’t be kind and understanding all the time.
- If you’re troubled by chronic feelings of guilt, a counselor may help to sort out the contributing emotions and issues