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If You Think Guilt Can Help You Discipline Yourself, You’re Totally Wrong

If You Think Guilt Can Help You Discipline Yourself, You’re Totally Wrong

In an experiment conducted by psychologists Clair Adams and Mark Leary, women who were watching their weight were encouraged to eat doughnuts and candy. The aim of the experiment was to find out if people will indulge less if they do not feel guilty about it.

The experiment

The dieting women were divided into two groups. One group was encouraged to feel better about breaking their diets, while the other group were left to feel guilty about it. At the end of the experiment, the psychologists would determine which group ate the most candy.

The women were told that they would be participating in two distinct studies. The first study would look at the effects of the food on a person’s mood. The second study would be a taste test.

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In the first study, each woman was directed to select either a chocolate or glazed doughnut and to finish it within a four-minute time frame. They were then told to drink a full glass of water. The aim was to make the women feel guilty and overly full.

After the first study, the group that was encouraged to feel better about breaking their diet were given the following message: “Sometimes, participants feel guilty about eating a whole doughnut, but you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself about it. Remember that everyone indulges sometimes.” This message was intended to help these women get rid of some of their guilt. The second group did not receive any message.

Both groups were then given candy and told to sample each candy and rate it. They were told to eat as much candy as they like so that they could achieve an accurate rating.

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The results

The remaining candy was weighed by the researchers.

The women who were given the message to feel less guilty about having eaten the doughnut ate approximately 28 grams of the candy. Comparatively, the women who were allowed to feel guilty ate almost 70 grams.

The researchers concluded from these results that feeling guilty leads to indulging more.

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Let us take a look at some examples of scenarios that may leave you feeling guilty and see why these guilty feelings may lead to overindulging in unwanted behavior.

Drinking too much

You may find that lately you have been drinking too much alcohol. Your efforts to reduce the amount you are drinking are not working and you are left feeling guilty about it. The guiltier you feel, the more you drink. It becomes a vicious circle.

Procrastinating when there is work to be done

You have a lot of work to do but all you are doing is procrastinating. You feel guilty about procrastinating and hence you continue to put off your work. The guiltier you feel, the less work you find yourself doing.

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Spending too much money on jewellery or clothing

You may be splurging on jewellery and clothing, buying yourself something new every time you walk into a shop. The money you are spending seems to be adding up, but the more remorseful you feel about it, the more you find yourself buying and buying.

Gambling too much

You have been gambling a lot lately. All the money you have in your savings seems to be going to waste. The more you gamble, the worse you feel about it. You are guilty and you don’t know what to do. However, it seems that the guiltier you feel, the more you gamble.

Smoking too much

You may be a heavy smoker. You have tried several times to quite but without success. You feel very guilty every time you smoke a cigarette, but this only leaves you craving the next cigarette even more. The more remorse you feel about smoking, the more you smoke.

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2019

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

1. Spend Time with Positive People

If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

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2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

3. Contribute to the Community

One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

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Some recommendations for you:

5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

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Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

8. Offer Compliments to Others

Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

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9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

10. Practice Self-Care

Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

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Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

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