You might feel guilty after doing or saying something you regret. Sometimes others can make us feel guilty about something that isn’t our fault. We can help you understand what's happened and find out ways to make you feel better.

What is guilt?

Guilt is a complicated emotion. And it can be confusing. It's something we generally don't like to feel. You can feel guilty when you regret something you’ve done or said that you can’t take back. It might feel like your conscience is reminding you about what happened.

You may also feel guilty about small things, that aren't that bad, but you tell yourself they're really terrible. And sometimes other people might make you feel guilty – even though you haven’t done anything wrong. 

Feeling guilty doesn’t always mean you’ve done something wrong though. There are lots of reasons we can feel this way. And there are always things you can do to make yourself feel better again. 

Lots of things can make us feel guilty. It might be:

  • being mean to someone or bullying
  • being involved in something illegal 
  • self-harming
  • drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs
  • fancying a friend's boyfriend or girlfriend
  • cheating in an exam or copying someone’s work.

Understanding your feelings

People experience guilt differently. It can feel like a bit like a shadow that follows you everywhere. Or a heavy weight in your body that won’t go away. Other times it can just be a little niggling feeling that makes you feel bad every now and again.

Your guilt might be trying to tell you something

Guilt can be useful if it's reminding us about something we need to face up to. It can encourage us to change the way we behave for the better. For example, if you feel bad because you haven’t been studying, it might motivate you to start so you don’t feel guilty anymore.

If you feel guilty about something specific, you could make a deal with yourself to do something about it. This could be a simple thing, like saying sorry to someone or finding ways to get help.

Sometimes you can feel guilty for taking care of yourself. It’s something we all need to do sometimes. If you are feeling guilty for putting yourself first, it can help to think about what makes you feel this way and who might be able to help.


Feeling guilty doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes it can be difficult to work out if something really was your fault.

Other people can make you feel guilty about something that wasn't your fault.

When people around you are doing things they shouldn’t, they might blame you rather than taking responsibility for what they're doing.

Whatever you're going through you don’t have to cope on your own. We're here for you.


Getting over guilt

Bottling up emotions