LOU, Dr Ellen Hendrickson, University Of British Columbia discussed on The Savvy Psychologist's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Mental Health


Hello. Again, this is savvy psychologist. I'm Dr Ellen Hendrickson and every week a helping me life's challenges with evidence based research, a sympathetic ear and zero judgment. Now, recently, listener Lou wrote in and asked, how do I let go of guilt? She says, I feel guilty about everything even things I haven't done now. Lou also notes that she was pretty horrible as a teenager and has not been able to forgive herself for being as she says. So selfish and careless back then. But she also worries that she's equally awful now and just isn't aware of it. All of which leads her to feel you guessed it healty. Okay. So what can Lou and what can all of us do when we feel as guilty as a teenage boy with a freshly erased browser history? Well, this week will dive into seven ways to find. Nally let go of the guilt. So let's get right into it with tip. Number one, remember the flipside of guilt. Now guilt makes us feel lower than a worms belly, but the fact that we can feel guilt is actually a good sign because guilt is a sign of empathy and a signal that we care about not hurting others. So in fact, at the university of British Columbia, a pair of researchers set out to determine the opposite of psychopathy that is being a psychopath and found that a significant part of the answer is a tendency to feel guilt. Plus a predisposition to guilt often goes together with honesty, cooperation, consideration and conscientiousness. All good things that the researchers dubbed compassionate morality. So for our listener Lou the simple fact that she worries about being quote, equally awful. Is a sign that she's not Lou. If you were truly awful person, you would not be worried about it. Now, tip number two is to right any wrongs, of course, not all guilt is an illusion. If you feel guilty about a wrong, you have not yet righted. Go ahead and make amends. Yes, it is awkward to reach out. Yes, you will find a million reasons not to, but most likely you'll be glad you did if nothing else, a heartfelt apology and an offer to make things right. We'll soothe your own conscience. Tip. Number three is challenged. Hindsight bias. All right. A lot of what the mental health world knows about guilt comes from research with combat veterans. War is rife with upper -tunities to feel guilty, guilt about killing the enemy guilt about enjoying killing the enemy guilt about killing her displacing, civilians, guilt over surviving when others died guilt about violating the Noman left behind creed, guilt over feeling disconnected or alienated after coming home and more but veterans guild, even if the circumstances are specialized can apply to us all whether it's mommy guilt, Jewish guilt, Catholic guilt, liberal guilt. The list goes on at the root of all this guilt life, four common thinking, errors that are universal and often conspire to make us feel inappropriately guilty. So let's go through all four of them. And the first, as I mentioned. Is hindsight bias, which is a mistaken belief that the outcome was known at the time of the decision. For example, in the military, a soldier might feel guilty about shooting someone who appeared to have a weapon, but turned out to be on armed a more general example might be not being there for a friend who subsequently revealed themselves to be depressed. In any case, assure fire way to spot. Hindsight bias guilt is the phrase I should have known. Okay. So what do you do in the situation? Well, you think honestly about what you actually knew at the time differentiate between I should've known and I wish I had known. So for instance, switch, I should have known. She was depressed too. I wish I had known. She was depressed, but I didn't know one way or the other. It's not a cop out. It's the truth. Tip number four challenge your assumptions of a lack of justification. Okay. So the second thinking error is called quite simply lack of justification. Here, we believe there was no good reason for the course of action. We took that we should have done better. So for example, a veteran may feel guilty about shooting suspect who ignored orders not to come any closer. Our listener Lou feels guilty for heinous behavior as an adolescent. Now, no matter the scenario when we feel guilty about an outcome, it's often because of two things. First, we believe there must have been a path to a better outcome. And second, we think we had the resources required for the ideal outcome at the time even if we didn't. So to challenge these errors, think about the information skills and resources you had at the point where you made your decision. And this often. Leads to the reels ation that there was no good option or veterans. Other option was not to shoot which might have put her entire unit at risk, lose teenage behavior, likely made sense given her level of maturity at the time or perhaps the family situation that surrounded her now that she's older, both are different. So to me, it sounds like Lou came out the other side with a strong conscience and a sense of wanting to do better, both commendable outcomes. So to sum this all up, don't hold the actions of the past to the standards skills, maturity, and wisdom of today. Okay. Let's take a quick break and thank this week sponsor sun basket. Healthy eating is delicious with sun basket. The go to meal kit for fresh healthy meals made with organic produce and responsibly, raised meat and seafood. If you are stuck in a rut with your meals, sun basket, makes it easy to break out. Just go to the sun basket app and pick from eighteen delicious weekly recipes this week. My favorite was the spicy jerk chicken with ginger stone fruits law. And next time I'm excited for the Hawaiian tuna bowls with Brown rice and Nori. There are so many options paleo gluten free Leinen clean vegan Mediterranean family. There is something suitable for any busy lifestyle. So go to sun basket dot com slash savvy today to learn more and get thirty five dollars off your first order that sun basket dot com. Slash savvy for thirty five dollars off. Okay. Let's get back to letting go of guilt with tip. Number five challenge sense of over responsibility. Now, the third thinking error is a concept called over responsibility where we believe we were solely or mostly responsible for what occurred. Classic examples are when kids blame themselves for their parents fighting or rape survivors, bland themselves for the assault. So to challenge this, ask yourself who was acting inappropriately in our examples, was that the child was that the assault survivor? No, of course not. Now another way to challenge over responsibility is to think of all the responsible factors. For example, you hear my voice right now not only because you were responsible for hitting play, but also because I recorded the podcast, the distributor uploaded it. Your favorite podcast source carries it

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