We all feel a wide range of emotions from time to time, but some feelings just don't deserve to stick around — guilt being one of them. Unless you've done something terrible, you shouldn't feel bad for your actions, and there are certain things you should never feel guilty doing, especially when they don't hurt anyone. It's easy to get caught up in pleasing others, but sometimes there are things we just need to do for ourselves without feeling bad about it.
"Guilt is stressful, and stress is damaging, both physically and psychologically," says Tina B. Tessina, PhD LMFT over email. "The wear and tear of the constant tension guilt creates can damage your heart, your brain, or your immune system. Because it makes you feel bad about yourself, it can create create shyness, fear of intimacy, and other consequences of low self-esteem."
It's always important to be a good person and do the right thing, so as long as you're respecting yourself and others, you shouldn't have to feel bad about the decisions you make. Despite how other people may make you feel, you should never feel guilty for doing these 11 things, which can be beneficial to your mental health.
1. Taking Time For Yourself
Your friends may give you a hard time for staying in on a Friday night, but there's no need to feel bad. "Never feel guilty about taking some time for yourself," says Tessina. "If you never take time for yourself, you won't have the patience, positive outlook, and confidence you need to have good relationships with others."
2. Saying No
"Being able to say an honest 'no' means you can say an honest 'yes' and your word will be reliable," says Tessina. "Not saying 'no' means you will make commitments you won't be able to keep, and you'll be unreliable. Your word can only be your bond if you are free to decide when to give it."
3. Being Honest
Being honest doesn't mean you have to be negative and nasty. "Never feel guilty about telling the truth," says Tessina. "You can be kind about it — you don't have to be mean. When you tell the truth, tell all the truth, including the positive parts."
4. Setting Boundaries
Sometimes we need to set boundaries with the people we care about, and that's okay. "Privacy and personal space are important components of intimacy," says Tessina. "Intimacy doesn't thrive where boundaries aren't clear. Respecting your loved ones' boundaries and insisting they respect yours is a way to insure that your closeness will be authentic."
5. Asking Questions
Asking too many questions can make us feel inferior or as if we lack knowledge — or perhaps it makes us feel like we are bothering someone with our requests. But asking questions is a key component to learning, and it also helps prevent us from making mistakes out of confusion or misunderstanding.
6. Saying Sorry
"Never feel guilty about saying 'I'm sorry,'" says Tessina. "Apology is a wonderful blessing you can give to your relationships. Be willing to take responsibility for whatever part in a problem is yours, even if it's the smaller part."
7. Shutting Off Technology
If you want to log off Facebook and shut off your iMessages for a bit, you should go for it. Research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has found a link between heavy social media use and depression, so there's nothing wrong with wanting to take some time off from the internet to get your mood up.
8. Being Yourself
"Never feel guilty about being yourself," says Tessina. "Make the most of who you are, and don't hold back because of the opinions of others. Respect your critics, learn from them, but don't let them feel bad about who you are."
9. Having Good Morals
"Never feel guilty about being an example of good values, kind manners and positive outlook," says Tessina. "We have a very 'cool' and cynical culture, but warmth and caring, friendship, and respect are always the best ways to interact. Please and thank you are still the same magic words your mother said they were."
10. Eating Something Delicious
Everyone loves a good treat, and when you eat something yummy, now matter how bad it is for you, you shouldn't feel guilty. In fact, research shows that feeling guilty after eating a food can actually lead to you making worse choices later on.
If you find that you often feel guilty for these things, it might be time to switch your mindset.
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