How can feeling guilty affect health?

Guilt is fueled by negative thinking. Studies show that thinking negative thoughts increases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. While these hormones are great at helping us when we need to avoid danger, stress or immediate trauma, longer-lasting levels make us irritable and restless. Cortisol and adrenaline also increase heart rate, blood pressure and inflammation throughout the body. Learning how to shift away from guilt-ridden thoughts and feelings will significantly improve your emotional and physical well being. Talk therapy is a great treatment to do this.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Let’s get straight to it: Guilt can shorten your life. It weakens your immune system. A study compared those who had high guilt levels with those who had lower guilt levels related to pleasurable activities. They found higher levels of illness-fighting immunoglobulin A levels in those who took pleasure in activities with less guilt.

Guilt also has been shown to increase cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that your body makes as part of its “fight or flight” response. It is designed to mobilize our energy stores and activating systems, which may be necessary to fight off a potential threat. However, constant exposure can increase blood pressure and your risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety disorders.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.