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Hilber Psychological Services

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Posts tagged guilt
How to minimize your "Shoulds"

Too many "shoulds" equals too much guilt. If you've been following Hilber Psychological Services, you already read the post about "Too Much Guilt" and you already know that "shoulds" are thinking mistakes or cognitive distortions and they move us further away from our happiness.  There's a place and time for guilt, but making our daily choices each day typically does not require excess guilt. We want to feel more empowered and "in control" of our decisions, feelings, actions, and our lives in general. So, you know that you need to limit your "Should" statements, but how do you actually decrease your "should" statements?

The first step is to be aware of statements that include "shoulds." The next step is to empower your decision making and take control of your choices. This is an easy activity you can do to minimize your use of "Should" statements.


You make millions of choices everyday. These range from minute choices to larger, life-changing decisions. These include what time you're going to wake up, whether you get out of bed at the first alarm or snooze it, how long you shower, if you shower in the morning, what you eat for breakfast, and if you sit down at the table to eat. We haven't even left the house yet. This means that you also have millions of choices to practice being aware, and accepting each choice you make. You have also had experience with these choices so accepting these small choices will probably be easy for you to practice with.

Each time you make a decision, even a small choice such as what shirt you wear, you can state, "this is my choice, I accept this," or "I choose this decision," or even "this is mine to make, I accept it." Or any variation thereof. The important part is to tell yourself that the choice is yours (awareness) and to accept that it's yours to make.

Now I know you cannot possibly do this for each and every decision you make or you may not make it out of the house in time, but try to do it as many times as possible. You can say this in your head or out loud for others to hear.

By the end of the week, note how often you're able to make a decision without shoulds or guilt and how empowered you feel. Can you imagine how good it will feel if you choose and accept your bigger decisions?

For more information, contact us at Hilber Psychological Services.

Too much guilt?

Do you have too much guilt? Does it eat away your insides? Do you often say "should" statements? There is a time and place for guilt, meaning that guilt is useful in some situations. Maybe we go to stand in line at starbucks only to realize there's a long line that we accidentally bypassed, or maybe we accidentally knock over a vase and it breaks, or even accidentally hurt someone's feelings. The key word here is "accidentally" and these situations illustrate that we just didn't notice something or someone. We can problem solve and use our coping skills in these situations, so we would go to the back of the line, apologize and pay for the broken vase, or apologize to the person and explain that you didn't mean what you said. After we do something of the sort, we can feel better and guilt can go away.

Relationship advice

However, sometimes the guilt likes to stay longer than usual or maybe it occurs more than the usual scenarios. Maybe we feel guilty almost daily for not eating better or working out enough. Does this guilt help you work out more? Does it make you eat better? Most people say "no" - it does not actually change their choices or habits.

This means that we are feeling guilty for no reason. We are wasting our energy, time, focus, and emotions on guilt when there's no reason. With extra, unnecessary guilt there are most likely "should" statements in our daily vocabulary. Based on the cognitive distortions or thinking mistakes, "shoulds" add more guilt where we don't need it. This is the brain's way of feigning that we're better than we actually are. The problem with that idea is that we are telling ourselves that we need to be different than who we are. I'm sure you can imagine how a child would feel if we told him, "you need to be a different person than who you really are." Adults are a little more sophisticated as we've practiced for many years, but we slide in the guilt with "should" statements.

Your challenge this week: Be aware of when you use "shoulds" or if you add unnecessary guilt. Try to redo the statement without the "should" and see how often you can correct yourself with an appropriate statement.

If you'd like more ideas on how to feel better or would like more information, contact us at Hilber Psychological Services.

Depriving Depression

What is Depression?

Depression seems to be common in the western society. Depression has a wide range of meanings - feeling depressed at the moment, feeling sad or down for an extended period, or feeling so down that you would rather not be here.  The following are some criteria for clinical depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, according to the DSM-5:

  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight, appetite, and/or sleep changes
  • Feeling worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Treating Depression

There are many ways to treat depression, including using your tried-and-true coping skills and adding new healthy coping skills. You can also call your therapist or set up an appointment with a mental health professional.What is depression?

One way to treat depression is to "deprive your depression." This takes an active view on depression as depression would prefer that you continue to feed your depression so it can maintain itself or continue to grow. Depression can be very selfish in the most negative way. Depression would rather you isolate yourself from others, give in to the eating and sleeping changes, choose not to exercise, and not to obtain help or support from others.

The following are ways you can inhibit your depression from growing and "Deprive your Depression"

  • Be sure to talk to others on a daily basis
  • Exercise 2-3 times a week, even if it's just 5 push ups
  • Go for a hike
  • Start an art project (coloring, drawing, knitting, crafts, etc)
  • Write in your journal
  • Sit on the beach
  • Listen, sing, or play music
  • Do yoga
  • Allow yourself to sleep only for the typical number of hours
  • Eat only at your typical meals
  • Do one thing that you used to enjoy
  • Talk to your therapist

You can do any of the above ideas or create your own. Your challenge this week - do one thing to Deprive your Depression today!

Contact us at Hilber Psychological Services for more information on how you can decrease your depression.

-Tanya L. Hilber, PsyD

Give Yourself a Break

Finding balance in your life incorporates a multitude of aspects that helps to maintain and encourage growth and stability. Part of this balance not only includes trying to fit in all 5 aspects in your week (see Striving for Balance in Your Week), it also means giving yourself a break when needed, or even when it's wanted. A break can refresh, prevent the wrong words from coming out, and rejuvenate you. A break can be done in many ways, but the most important thing to remember is to ban the "shoulds" from interrupting your break time. Feeling or thinking the "shoulds" are a way for your mind to give yourself guilt. Fortunately for you, guilt is something only you can give yourself - fortunate because you can stop giving yourself guilt when you're ready (something you can discuss with your therapist to make it easy).

Without the "shoulds" and guilt in your way, you're ready to give yourself a break. A break can mean taking the night off from working after dinner, a break from the long argument to prevent becoming angry, a break to watch the sunset, or a break can mean watching a movie on a saturday afternoon instead of housework.

For assistance with your weekly balance or taking a break, contact us at Hilber Psychological Services.

What do you do to take a break?? How does that help balance your week?