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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Health Benefits of Beating Yourself Up Over A Mistake

It's a common scene. You make a mistake, something simple, and you spend the rest of the day worrying it over in your mind. This sensation of "beating yourself up over a mistake" is closely tied to guilt and empathy, two things science says are good for you.

So what is the health benefit behind beating yourself up over every little mistake? THERE IS NONE.

Guilt is part of empathy. It lets you understand you've hurt someone else, or done something socially unacceptable.

Empathy is what separates adults from infants and psychopaths. The child who pulls out your earring and giggles while you scream and bleed doesn't understand you're in pain - they lack empathy. Hopefully the infant will outgrow this trait before they become and adult and start torturing people for fun.

Beating yourself up over small mistakes or social errors has no benefit. It is a symptom of depression, but other than being a warning sign it's not helping you at all. The good news is that depression is treatable. You don't need to beat yourself up over things any more! Awesome!

And if it isn't about depression? Let it go and be happy. Not sure how? If you don't feel like Googling "How To Be Happy" then here's the short list...

Volunteer - Doing something nice for other people is always a mood booster.

Get outside and Get moving - Sunshine and exercise are both great for mood boosting.

Get Some Sleep - Sleep deprivation not only causes hallucinations, but it makes you cranky too

Eat Something - Low blood sugar affects your mood (eat healthy!).

Address Underlying Causes - Undiagnosed illness, bad relationships, unhealthy habits... all those can lead to a state of near-depression where you find yourself beating yourself up over mistakes. Get out of toxic relationship and get your health checked.

Build Healthy Relationships - Even introverts need a few close friends they can go to when stressed. It doesn't matter if they're family or not, find people who understand you and can help you on the gloomy days.

Laugh - It really is the best medicine.

Don't Worry What Other People Think Honestly? Most people are way too busy wondering what you are thinking about them to have the time to judge you. We all get stuck in our own little bubbles sometimes, it happens. Don't assume it's all about you.

Find The Good Change the way you think. Instead of noticing all the negative things (something we're trained to do by society and mass media) look for the positive in people. On the train ride to work try to think one nice thing about everyone you see: cute shoes, nice hat, good smile... Then turn the trick on yourself: super cute shoes, awesome smile, fabulous personality :o)

Have a happy weekend!
Happiness photo found here and used under Fair Use license.


  1. Love this post! It's so important to take care of yourself. Speaking of...I need to go eat something for lunch. :)

  2. You are awesome. The last, like, two weeks' posts have been exactly what I needed to hear :o)

    Um, also, I suppose that means I need to go to bed O:) teehee.