The Guilt Cycle May Be the Hardest Habit To Break

Forget to call your mom? Indulged in an extra slice of pie? Make a snarky comment to a coworker? Suddenly you’re beating yourself up and feeling very guilty for these lapses in judgment. And if you’re a woman, chances are you’re feeling doubly guilty for these transgressions. A recent study found that women feel habitually guilty more than men. Interestingly, men feel more guilt as they age. The study also found men between 25 and 33 years of age felt the least guilt.

Not only do women feel guilty more often, women are also lucky enough to feel guilt more intensely than men. Guilt levels are especially magnified if those feelings deal with interpersonal relationships, like forgetting a friends birthday. Perhaps this is part because research suggests women tend to be more socially sensitive than men. Since women are more conscious of how their actions affect others, this awareness can lead to more guilt.

How do you break the guilt habit? , actions that become so ingrained they become automatic; if you can’t let the guilt go and constantly dwell on it, you are more likely to repeat the same behavior. Everyone has bad habits, but the study did state that these habitual feelings of guilt could be broken through learning new ways of thinking. So the next time you break plans with a friend, snap at your kids for bickering or simply eat too many treats, remember guilt is getting you nowhere.

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