Thinking Guilty Thoughts Can Make You Feel Fat


You know the phrase “weighs heavily on your conscience”? Well researches have found that you can literally feel like you weigh more when you feel guilty. Emotional baggage is like actual baggage.

As Drake Bennett writes for Bloomberg Businessweek:

In the study, two researchers, Martin V. Day of Princeton and D. Ramona Bobocel of the University of Waterloo, asked subjects to remember unethical and ethical things they had done. Then they had the subjects say how heavy or light they felt. Specifically they asked them “Compared to your average weight, how much do you feel you weigh right now?” on a scale of 1 to 11. People who were asked to recall past transgressions actually felt heavier than those who recalled an ethical act—or the control group of those who weren’t asked to recall anything at all. The authors argue that the extra perceived weight is the weight of guilt.

There’s also research showing that a person holding a hot cup of coffee can be perceived as “warm,” and a person holding an iced coffee can be thought of as cold. But it’s interesting to think about how the people thinking about horrible things they might have done in the past felt like they weighed more than they actually did — carrying baggage really does weigh you down. And does this mean that coming clean and getting some guilt off of your chest will make you feel lighter and more svelte?

[Bloomberg Businessweek]

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