Coulda, shoulda, woulda: How to deal with regret and guilt by detoxing your emotions

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Illustration photo by Getty Images
Illustration photo by Getty Images


Guilt is an emotional state that most of us experience and the effects can be worse than just lying awake at night. Clinical psychologist Mai Dao says guilt can not only become immobilising, it can interfere with our decision-making skills, make us oversensitive, mislead or misdirect us and make us more prone to depression or anxiety.

So if it makes us feel so awful, why do we persist in feeling guilty? "People are often prone to feeling guilty when they are constantly engaged in thinking things like 'I should have done something' or 'l must do something", says Dao. "Engaging in such thinking patterns causes people to put unreasonable demands and pressure on themselves and creates unrealistic expectations."

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