All that self-blame can take a major toll on your mental and physical health. Here’s how to retrain your brain to stop feeling guilty.
Quit the blame game
When something goes wrong, we naturally start looking for a person to blame—and that person is often ourselves. But feeling guilty won’t help the situation. Remember that the world is complex, and often a whole series of events contributed to what went wrong. Don’t bear (or assign) all the blame for the outcome, but accept that bad things happen, no matter how hard you try. Try these 28 tiny pick-me-ups for when you’re having the worst day ever.
Get to the root of your guilt
Do some soul-searching and figure out you are feeling guilty, instead of ruminating over it. If you feel like you should be volunteering at your kids’ school more, ask yourself why you haven’t. Have other parents made comments that make you feel like you’re not doing enough? Does the thought of reading out loud give you anxiety, but you’d happily help with snack duty at a class party? You know what’s best for you and your family, so getting to the bottom of your guilt will help you find a solution and get over those guilty feelings.
Keep a guilt journal
As soon as guilty feelings start to nag, jot them down in a journal. Record the time, day, and why you feel bad, then revisit your entries every couple of weeks. Look for any trends that might help explain the underlying reasons for your guilt. Here are easy steps you can take to develop a positive attitude.
Give yourself a true retreat
A vacation is hardly a vacation if you spend the entire time thinking about what productive things you “should” be doing instead. When you feel those thoughts creeping in, remind yourself why you took a break from stress in the first place. After all, getting away from the anxiety of your daily grind is a much-needed break that will help you get back feeling refreshed. Here’s how to ensure your free time is truly relaxing.