Tips for dealing with guilt

Guilt is common among people who suffer from psychosocial problems.

In normal circumstances the feeling of guilt can motivate us to carry out good work, but in excess it makes a person angrier and more self-loathing which may worsen other psychosocial problems. Therefore, it is better to alleviate its effects before the problem gets worse.

We may feel guilty because of our own behavior, inability to perform a certain task, occurrence of religiously or morally negative thoughts (e.g. sins) and sometimes attributing ourselves for any wrong doings that we are not responsible for.Some people feel guilty after surviving natural disasters, especially if they lost their relatives, loved ones and friends. Psychosocial and other social workers may also feel guilty for not being able to render adequate help to people in need.

Try the following tips to deal with the feeling of guilt:

  • You can find solace by keeping in mind that guilt is natural and a common human emotion. Things change with time.
  • Intention to help other people is a positive feeling in itself, however, you have to understand your limits. There are some things that we can do and there are other things which we cannot – they are outside of our control.
  • As we forgive our juniors for their minor mistakes, often it is the best to forgive ourselves too, especially if things are beyond our control.
  • Try to understand that losing others in disasters is beyond your control and you are not responsible for what happened. For example, it might help to repeat these statements: “I was not responsible for the accident, things are not under my control all the time” or “I should give attention to only those things which are under my control.”
  • When you experience disasters,it is better to think that “I am not the only one who suffered and it is natural to feel negative emotions in such difficult times.”
  • When you lose relatives or friends, you may feel guilty be asking yourself: why did only I survive? Remind yourself that your effort to stay alive is a natural human behavior and this behavior is essential to our very survival.Try to be patient. It takes time to return to normalcy after disasters.
  • Dedicating your time and energy to help others, volunteering or working towards achieving important objectives will help you understand the positive meaning of your life.
  • Talking to someone about your feeling of guilt who understands you and whom you can trust, can also be helpful.
  • Think, has guilt brought any positive changes in your life? For example, if you feel guilty after consumption of alcohol and repent about it, the guilt may motivate you to change your negative behaviors.
  • Try not to label feelings as “good” or “bad.” It helps to simply understand your emotions and changes in feelings, observe them, be aware of them. A non-judgmental and mindful approach could help gain perspective and help you feel better.

For more information and help please contact TPO Nepal.