Health Effects of Guilt: What you need to know

Health Effects of Guilt: What you need to know


This article will examine some of the health effects of guilt. More importantly, we will be looking at what exactly causes guilt. Guilt is that “blame” feeling that we have within us when we do something wrong. Of course, the blame is done by our conscience. Guilt is helpful in the sense that it keeps us on our toes, making us accountable for the actions and decisions that we make. Bipolar patients and patients who suffer from other disorders also experience some form of guilt. The thing with theirs is that it is usually blown way out of proportion. This makes them feel unnecessarily remorseful or guilty. Guilt feelings in bipolar patients are usually accompanied by feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.

Bipolar disorder is a neurological disorder characterized by extreme changes in a person’s mood. These mood changes include bouts of depression and mania. During emotional highs or manic episodes, the individual may feel very energetic or happy. However, this doesn’t last; in a split second, they might experience a state of depression or hopelessness. The individual may feel sad and lose interest in activities that they normally feel happy engaging in. Bipolar patients also experience severe guilt during an episode of depression. They often think about a particular condition constantly and question their decisions. They may attribute their inability to do the right thing to the condition that they’re currently facing.

If you are a bipolar patient, then chances are that you’ve experienced these guilt feelings during phases of depression. You may think that you’re good at nothing and that you are always disappointing yourself and everyone around you. This can make you feel unworthy, incapable, and small. These are some of the health effects of guilt. You find it hard to say “no” to other people’s requests, which makes you agree to other people’s demands. This takes up most of your time, which can make you feel guilty of not spending adequate time with your family and friends. The frequent feelings of guilt make it difficult for you to see or identify your attributes and successes. Of course, this impacts negatively on your self-esteem.

Health effects of guilt
Photo Credit: Medical News Today


Excessive guilt isn’t good, take it or leave it. It is a debilitating symptom of bipolar disorder. When you have an inordinate feeling of guilt, your mind begins to sabotage itself with negative, unrealistic, and dark thoughts. You are entangled in a loop of negativity as your mind consistently rehashes even the littlest of situations, like the nagging of an old nanny.

No matter the efforts you channel into fighting guilt, it still affects your self-esteem one way or the other. Low self-esteem is common when a person is depressed. Low self-esteem involves having a negative view of oneself. You may feel that you are not as good as your peers, or maybe you don’t deserve any love, or you’re just unable to meet the expectations of others. The good news is that these are just a figment of your imagination, they’re not true, but sadly, negative feelings and emotions can always overshadow reality.

However, no skill or trick can kick despair, guilt, and remorseful out of your mind in an instant. However, there are a few ways that you can boost your self-esteem and also improve your symptoms. What you need is drive, determination, and practice.


People with bipolar disorder can benefit a lot from self-confidence. Having confidence in oneself prevents self-blame and instills a sense of duty. Here are some ways of overcoming the health effects of guilt and boosting one’s self-esteem:

Get to understand yourself

You must know yourself. It is very important. You can understand yourself by paying attention to your reactions and thoughts, keeping a blog or a journal, or maybe just spending some time in reflection or meditation. These are important activities that you should partake in whenever you feel depressed. Take note of your feelings as well as the start of the emotions. These discoveries may assist in therapy.

Meditation is a very good form of self-exploration. When you meditate regularly, you’ll be able to calm your mind and have a better understanding of your environment. It can also change your perception of life and your reaction towards situations.

Be charitable

Doing some form of charity, or putting a smile on someone’s face helps you to improve your mood. Giving you time to a non-profit or charity group can add value to the lives of those around you and also boost your self-esteem. Non-profit and charity groups are always on the lookout for volunteers.

Work on it

If you’ve noticed something unpleasant about you, then do everything you can to change it. For instance, if you are uncomfortable with your weight, you can do something about it, maybe eating healthy foods, or engaging in exercises. Always remember that the changes will not come immediately. It takes time, but in the end, you’ll notice that it is worth it.

If you are not happy about something, and you know deep within you that there’s nothing you can do to change it, let’s say your height, just work on accepting it. Attempting to change your perception of things, for instance, complicated conditions like bipolar disorder can be difficult. However, you should note that obsessing over these things will only bring down your self-esteem. Another thing you should avoid doing is jumping to conclusions about people’s thoughts or opinions of you. For instance, if you feel that people see you from a negative perspective, why not pay closer attention to what they are saying? Who knows, you may be skipping over the good things and emphasizing the negative aspects.

Take your time

You may feel that you have accomplished many things to have a productive day or feel good about yourself. Well, the truth is, when you rush through things, you may make some mistakes. This may become apparent during depressive episodes if you are attempting to remain busy to avoid dealing with your feelings. Slowing down may appear difficult at first, but taking your time is important and will help you to improve your self-esteem and overall well-being.

Make lists

This is an important way of overcoming the health effects of guilt. Forgetfulness is part of being human. However, if you forget too much, and too often, you may start feeling guilty. Well, you can tackle this by writing things down. Also, by making lists, you’ll be able to show yourself how much you’ve been able to accomplish within a specific period.

Other tips to overcoming the health effects of guilt include:

  • Celebrating your little conquests and victories
  • Practicing what you’re trying to do or change
  • Learning a new skill

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