Guilt and its handmaiden, shame, can paralyze us––or catalyze us into action. Appropriate guilt can function as social glue, spurring one to make reparations for wrongs. Excessive rumination about one's failures, however, is a surefire recipe for resentment and depression.

Recent Posts on Guilt

5 Things They Don't Tell You About Grief

Worried you aren't grieving the "right" way? There are some parts of the grief process that people don't like to talk about.

Do Crocodiles Really Cry?

What's up with crocodile tears? Do crocodiles really cry? Scientists find out.

The Imposter Syndrome in Progressive Leaders

Progressive political leaders have a special version of the Imposter Syndrome, a set of beliefs in public leaders that they don't deserve the power and authority that they actually have. For progressives, this often stems from a guilty over-identification with the underdog. They react my diminishing their power and status to their own detriment and that of their movement

The Psychology of Food

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 How To Do Life
As we enter the holidays, on harvesting maximum pleasure from eating and cooking.

Addiction and Rescue

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on November 05, 2015 A Swim in Denial
In video clip on Facebook a presidential campaigner promises prospective voters in a New Hampshire tavern that he favors treatment for addiction. Within a day or two, more than two million people called attention to the clip. What's the magic?

One Simple Way You Can Become a Human Lie Detector

Researchers have identified that observing whether or not someone is "thinking too hard" is the single most reliable cue for detecting a liar.

A Guilty Pleasure: Being With People From Your Background

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 28, 2015 How To Do Life
Implications for relationships and for the workplace.

Postpartum Depression: From Blame to Responsibility

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on October 15, 2015 Child in Mind
When we point to the negative effects of postpartum depression on child development, parents may be overwhelmed with guilt. "I'm guilty" can also mean "I'm responsible." Framed in light of responsibility, parents may instead feel empowered.

I Lied To My Mother

How To Repair A Relationship With Your Mother

The Martian Totally Neglects the Behavioral Sciences

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on October 13, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
The Martian is very proud of it's accurate depiction of sciences--so why was psychology entirely absent?

Escaping or Accepting?

It is my belief that escape is at the heart of all addiction. Brene Brown points out in her book "Daring Greatly," shame and guilt are fostered by our attempts to escape our feelings. She identifies three primary ways of escaping feelings.

Survive the Nightmare of Weeknight Cooking

By Zanthe Taylor M.F.A. on October 09, 2015 A Million Meals
We have more food options than any previous generation of parents, but if you give your child take-out, pre-packaged or processed food every day, you are at risk of having your Good Parenting card revoked. Changing a few things about your routine and attitude can make a big improvement in how you feel about that dreadful parade of family meals stretching past the horizon.

Dreadful Companions Called Fear, Guilt and Shame

Along with anger comes companion emotions that need to be examined as you heal from your eating disorder or disordered eating. Anger can be an immediate response to pain in your life. Fear, guilt and shame, however, follow close behind.

6 Mental Habits That Will Wear You Down

Do you struggle with self-doubt and self-defeating habits? Do you want to feel more confident about yourself and what you have to offer? Do you focus on pleasing others, rather than following your dreams and living your best life? The best way to start feeling better about yourself is to notice the automatic mental and emotional habits that don’t serve you well.

Anxiety Can Speed Aging

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on September 27, 2015 Memory Medic
No one gets to re-live the past, but everyone can influence their own future.

Not Just About the Psychologists

By Nancy Sherman Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 Afterwar
What are the moral effects of torture and depersonalization? A discussion with a psychiatrist and retired Army brigadier general.

Video Games Impact Your Feelings in Real Life

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on September 21, 2015 The Squeaky Wheel
With an estimated 59% of the population playing video games, it’s time we paid more attention to their psychological impact.

Feeling Guilty?

Guilt can isolate one from friends and family and a healthy social life, trap one’s mind in a never-ending cycle of self-pity and self-punishment, and eventually destroy one’s self esteem. Why are some people not affected by it, whereas others get completely swallowed by this ruinous emotion?

Spreading Coherence and Emotion

By Art Markman Ph.D. on September 16, 2015 Ulterior Motives
Going back to the 1950s, social and cognitive psychologists noticed that people’s beliefs tend to become more coherent over time. For example, a couple buying a house might initially notice both the positive and negative elements of that house. If they decide they are not going to buy that house, they may start to focus on the negatives rather than the positives.

Personality Challenges, Perfectionism, and Self-Compassion

Having compassion for oneself means that we can honor our humanness by accepting ourselves—even during those times when we inevitably come up against our limitations and fall short of our ideals.

The Enduring, Ghoulish Legend of Lizzie Borden

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on August 31, 2015 Wicked Deeds
The story of Lizzie Borden has taken on mythical proportions over the years. Despite her acquittal in criminal court in the nineteenth century for the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie has always been considered guilty by the public as a result of ghoulish media and cultural representations of her.

What Good Is Guilt?

When it comes to evaluating guilt and whether it's helping or hurting you, it's the underlying beliefs that matter. Here's how to get to the bottom of it.

Nine Steps to Turn Your Money "Shoulds" Into Action

When was the last time you rocked a “should”? As in, "I should replace that burned out light bulb." "I should exercise more often and eat better."

Why Was the Movie Theater Killer Spared the Death Penalty?

Why was the insanity plea nullified in the movie theater killings in Aurora, Colorado? The answer is simple - because the carnage was so horrendous that there was too much public pressure in favor of the death penalty. There was no way the insanity plea would be allowed. Nonetheless, Holmes was clearly and incontrovertibly psychotic and delusional.

4 Ways to Set Boundaries

Most of us must set boundaries around our helping and giving at some point in our lives. But internal conflict is common when we place limits on what we’ll do for or give to others, even when we know it’s the right thing to do. Managing this boundary-setting ambivalence is key to setting and maintaining healthy boundaries.

Why Do Women Have Rape Fantasies?

Rape fantasies reflect women’s erotic comfort—wherever it may lead.

No Regrets

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on July 24, 2015 Mental Mishaps
What regrets do you have? Although I’ve heard that we should live with “No Regrets,” I suspect we all have a list of regrets. Regrets invade our thoughts, occupy our minds, and keep us thinking about the things we wish we had done differently. But there may be ways to barricade your mind and stop ruminating about your regrets.

How Zoning Out Benefits Your Present and Your Future

Contrary to what we've always been told, we don't mind-wander enough. Research shows a number of benefits to mind-wandering in the realms of creative problem solving, planning, and holding out for something better in the future. With our devices pouring information into us constantly, we block out the important background processing that occurs when we mind-wander.