Shame and Guilt. What’s the difference?

Shame and guilt are two distinct emotions that are often confused with each other. The main difference between shame and guilt is their focus: shame is focused on the self, while guilt is focused on the behavior.

Shame is an intense feeling of discomfort, humiliation, or self-disgust that arises from the belief that one has failed to live up to their own or others’ expectations or standards. It is a deeply personal emotion that often leads to feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Shame is often accompanied by a desire to hide, withdraw, or avoid the situation that caused it.

Guilt, on the other hand, is a feeling of remorse or regret that arises from the belief that one has done something wrong or hurtful to others. Unlike shame, guilt is focused on the behavior rather than the self. Guilt often leads to feelings of responsibility and a desire to make amends for the harm caused.

In summary, the main difference between shame and guilt is that shame is focused on the self and leads to feelings of inadequacy, while guilt is focused on the behavior and leads to feelings of responsibility and a desire to make amends.


10 Ways to Express Gratitude

Expressing your gratitude can be rewarding as well as healing. Here are some creative ways to embrace an “attitude of gratitude.”

Hands and arms of friends giving flowers

Focusing on gratitude can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially if you live with a mental health condition.

Being told to “be more grateful” might sometimes feel like toxic positivity — as if your struggles aren’t real or that you don’t appreciate what you have. 

But acknowledging the good doesn’t necessarily mean diminishing or denying the bad. In fact, expressing gratitude might even help you become more resilient while boosting your mood.

Why showing gratitude counts

Many experts believe that negative or unhelpful thought patterns and cognitive distortions may contribute to some mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety. 

Addressing cognitive distortions and unhelpful thoughts is a key principle behind cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to help people identify and change their thinking patterns.

In a sense, gratitude is a positive cognitive distortion. Instead of focusing on adverse aspects of life or assuming the worst, expressing gratitude encourages you to redirect your attention to the people, places, things, and experiences that make your life richer. 

Plus, a gratitude practice can help boost your mood — especially if you express that gratitude to others.

How to express gratitude

Consider starting your gratitude practice by taking a few moments to think about everything that you’re grateful for in your life — large and small. 

Some examples might include:

  • your health and wellness
  • having enough food to eat 
  • the home you live in
  • your loved ones and pets

You could also turn your gratitude to small things, like: 

  • a sunny day
  • the smell of fresh coffee 
  • wearing cozy slippers on a cold morning 
  • a warm smile from a stranger 

You may also choose to express your gratitude directly to the people in your life who have made a real difference, such as:

  • family members 
  • friends
  • colleagues
  • neighbors
  • anyone who’s been a source of support for you

Think about the particular ways they’ve helped you, and then consider how you’d like to express your gratitude. 

Here are 10 creative ideas for expressing gratitude, either privately or to those you love and care about. 

1. Write a letter

Gratitude letters can be incredibly beneficial for the person writing them, as well as the recipient. 

Writing a gratitude letter can be a form of narrative writing, which may be an effective therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to one 2015 studyTrusted Source

Writing things down often helps the mind to consolidate and process them. By putting your gratitude on the page, you can amplify the emotion for yourself. 

You can try writing a letter to someone special, yourself, or even things you feel grateful for. 

If you are writing a letter letting another person know how much you value them, those warm feelings of gratitude can be heightened. 

Plus, getting a letter in the mail might be a welcome treat that feels special in this day and age of instant communication. 

2. Be an active listener

With so many things demanding your attention, it’s easy to slip into the habit of only half-listening to your loved ones. 

Active listening means you make a conscious effort to really hear, understand, and retain what someone is saying to you.

Making someone feel truly heard is an excellent way to express your gratitude to them, particularly if they’ve been a good listener for you in the past.

3. Take a mindful walk

“Stop and smell the roses” might sound like a cliche, but there’s real truth in how helpful getting outside can be, especially for mental health. 

According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature may boast cognitive benefits, including: 

  • improved mood and memory
  • reduced stress
  • higher levels of compassion 

Try combining a nature walk with a gratitude practice by taking note of a few small things that give you joy during your walk, such as:

  • hearing birdsong 
  • a blooming flower’s fragrance 
  • the way the sun dapples through trees

Focusing on your physical surroundings and giving thanks for them can be a powerful way to ground yourself

4. Give a thoughtful gift

Gifts aren’t always the best way to express feelings, and they’re certainly no substitute for honest communication. 

But a truly thoughtful gift can sometimes show how much you understand and appreciate another person.

A great gift doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, the most meaningful ones are often homemade. 

As you decide what to give them, think about what the person uses in their everyday life, or about your most special memories together. A gift could also be an experience, rather than a physical object.

5. Start a gratitude journal

Expressive writing through journaling can help to process negative events and emotions, but it can also help you to hone in on the positives in your life. 

By making a habit of gratitude journaling, you can develop a stronger awareness of what you have, which may help you become more resilient to stress and hardship.

There’s no right or wrong way to write a gratitude journal. Some people write a simple list of the things they’re grateful for on a given day, while others may prefer to write a longer entry. 

You could start your gratitude entry by noticing how you feel, both in your body and your mind. Then, try to list 5 to 10 things that you’re grateful for in this moment. 

6. Be specific

Identifying specific, small things that make your life better is an important part of any gratitude practice. 

It’s a good idea to be specific when you’re expressing gratitude to someone else, too. 

Rather than just saying, “I’m so grateful for all of your help,” you might talk about a specific occasion when they lightened a burden for you or quote a piece of advice they gave you that really helped.

7. Offer your help

You can also express gratitude through your actions. Some people might find it difficult to ask for helpC or give support to others in lieu of taking care of themselves. 

So if someone has helped you in the past, consider offering them help in return.

This could be logistical help, like running errands or assisting with DIY tasks around the house. It could also be offering advice on a subject you’re knowledgeable about. 

Think about where your skills lie, and then ask the person what they need.

8. Cook something you love

Cooking is a calming and meditative activity for many people. If that sounds like you, then you might also consider putting your culinary skills to use as part of your gratitude practice. 

Inviting someone over for a home-cooked meal is a nurturing act that can have mental health benefits for you both. But cooking for yourself can also be a wonderful way to experience gratitude. 

Think about the foods that make you feel nourished, both physically and emotionally, and consider starting with those.

9. Try visual reminders

No matter how positive your mindset is, life is always going to throw you curveballs. 

There will be days when it’s hard to focus on gratitude. But visual reminders can be a helpful way to keep yourself on the right track.

Visual reminders of what you’re grateful for can be just about anything, such as:

  • photographs of loved ones 
  • a beautiful object that makes you happy
  • tickets from an event you loved
  • artwork drawn by your children
  • Post-It notes or index cards with mantras or affirmations written on them

If you’re a visual learner, this can be an especially helpful technique. Place a couple of visual cues around your home, car, office, or anywhere else you could use a mood boost. 

10. Return the favor

In an ideal world, people treat others the way that they want to be treated. So if someone has been a source of support for you, there’s a good chance that their behavior reflects how they want others to show up for them.

Think about the specific ways a person has improved your life, and then ask yourself if they might need the same kind of support in return.

Then, do your best to follow that same “golden rule” and pay it forward. 

Let’s recap

A growing body of research shows that consciously focusing on gratitude can be a powerful boost to your mental health. 

It doesn’t necessarily matter what you focus on, as long as your attention is on gratitude. You could be grateful for something large, like your good health or loved ones, or something small, like seeing a sunset. 

Expressing gratitude to others can strengthen your relationships and help you create a strong support network. The ways people choose to show appreciation for each other often vary from person to person. For example, you could: 

  • write a gratitude letter 
  • offer practical help
  • tell them how they’ve made a difference in your life

Whatever method you choose, expressing gratitude is often a win-win for your mental health and mood. 

Therapeutic Effect and Mechanisms of Essential Oils in Mood Disorders: Interaction between the Nervous and Respiratory Systems

Essential oils (EOs) are extracted from plants and contain active components with therapeutic effects. Evidence shows that various types of EOs have a wide range of health benefits. In our previous studies, the potential of lavender EO for prevention and even treatment of depression and anxiety symptoms was demonstrated. The favourable outcomes may be due to multiple mechanisms, including the regulation of monoamine level, the induction of neurotrophic factor expression, the regulation of the endocrine system and the promotion of neurogenesis.

The molecules of EOs may reach the brain and exert an effect through two distinctive pathways, namely, the olfactory system and the respiratory system.

After inhalation, the molecules of the EOs would either act directly on the olfactory mucosa or pass into the respiratory tract.

These two delivery pathways suggest different underlying mechanisms of action. Different sets of responses would be triggered, such as increased neurogenesis, regulation of hormonal levels, activation of different brain regions, and alteration in blood biochemistry, which would ultimately affect both mood and emotion.

In this review, we will discuss the clinical effects of EOs on mood regulation and emotional disturbances as well as the cellular and molecular mechanisms of action.

Emphasis will be put on the interaction between the respiratory and central nervous system and the involved potential mechanisms. Further evidence is needed to support the use of EOs in the clinical treatment of mood disturbances.

Exploration of the underlying mechanisms may provide insight into the future therapeutic use of EO components treatment of psychiatric and physical symptoms.

See the full study here –


Fung TKH, Lau BWM, Ngai SPC, Tsang HWH. Therapeutic Effect and Mechanisms of Essential Oils in Mood Disorders: Interaction between the Nervous and Respiratory Systems. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 3;22(9):4844. doi: 10.3390/ijms22094844. PMID: 34063646; PMCID: PMC8125361.

Bible Oils: 12 Most Revered Oils and Their Historic Uses

Essential oils have been an integral part of the daily lives of people for thousands of years. At least 33 specific essential oils and aromatic oil-producing plants are mentioned in the Bible, and the word “incense” is mentioned 68 times in Scripture. Psalm 45:7-8, Proverbs 27:9, Isaiah 61:3 and Hebrews 1:9 all reference oils in some way, as in “the oil of joy” and “the oil of gladness,” and they speak of how oils “rejoice the heart.”

Essential oils are also referred to in the Bible as fragrances, odors, ointments, aromas, perfumes and sweet savors. In total, there are over 600 references to essential oils and/or the aromatic plants from which they were extracted in the Bible.

12 Essential Oils of the Bible

Here are 12 of the most revered oils of the Bible and their historic uses…

1. Frankincense

Frankincense is the king of the oils. It was used as a primary component of the holy incense, a medicine and a currency — and of course, it was a gift from the wise men to baby Jesus. In fact, at the time of Jesus’ birth, both frankincense and myrrh may have been worth more than their weight in the third gift: gold.

2. Myrrh

Quoted in Scripture 156 times, uses of myrrh oil in the Bible included use as an ointment, an incense, an embalming ingredient and as a skin beauty treatment by Queen Esther in Esther 2:12. By far, myrrh’s most common usage in the Bible is as a part of holy anointing oil.

3. Cinnamon

Like myrrh, cinnamon oil was a chief ingredient in holy anointing oil and used to cleanse the air, kill mold and act as a natural medicine. In Proverbs 7:17, Solomon uses this aromatic oil in the bedroom and as a natural perfume or cologne.

4. Cedarwood

King Solomon used cedarwood in building God’s temple and Jesus was crucified on a cross made of cedarwood or cypress. It was thought to bring wisdom, was used for ritual cleansing and served as medicine in treating skin conditions and leprosy.

5. Spikenard

In Biblical times, “nard” was not only a very expensive perfume but also a precious ointment that was used as medicine. Interestingly, the “spikenard” used in the Bible may have in fact been lavender oil. In John 12:3, the Bible tells how spikenard was used to anoint Jesus just days before His death and resurrection.

6. Hyssop

In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to use hyssop in the ceremonial cleansing of people and houses. Hyssop appears at Jesus’ crucifixion, when the Roman soldiers offered Jesus a drink of wine vinegar on a sponge at the end of a stalk of hyssop.

7. Cassia

An herb very similar to cinnamon, cassia oil is the fourth ingredient listed in the holy anointing oil detailed in Exodus 30:24. It may have been brought out of Egypt when the Israelites fled Pharaoh and was commonly used with myrrh and aloes to scent garments.

8. Sandalwood (Aloes)

In Scripture, sandalwood is referred to as “aloes” and is called one of the oils of joy and gladness along with frankincense, myrrh and cedarwood. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought sandalwood (aloes) and myrrh to bury Jesus, and in today’s market, the amount of oils used would be worth an estimated $200,000.

9. Cypress

Cypress is celebrated in Scripture as a symbol of strength, security and prosperity. The Bible mentions cypress as the choice wood
for building, trading and even weaponry. In Genesis 6:14, God commanded Noah to “make yourself an ark of gopher wood,” which in modern English is in fact “cypress.”

10. Galbanum

Galbanum is a main ingredient of the holy incense used in the heart of the temple in Exodus 30:34. Interestingly, although galbanum itself has a somewhat foul odor, when burned with other sweet smelling oils in holy incense, it has the most beautiful scent and was thought to balance the emotions.

11. Rose of Sharon

Mentioned in the Song of Solomon, the rose of Sharon is not really a “rose” but instead similar to the hibiscus or tulip (which is also a source of saffron). Some Bible expositors see the rose of Sharon as Christ and the lily as the church, His bride.

12. Calamus

Also known as “sweet cane,” calamus is an ancient herb that is perhaps what we now know as lemongrass. In Biblical times, calamus was used in perfumes, incense and as an ingredient in the special holy anointing oil used by the priests in the temple.

The Miracle of the Oil Vessels

Now there happened to be a certain woman who had been the wife of a member of the Guild of Prophets.

She cried out to Elisha, “My husband who served you has died, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. But a creditor has come to take away my children into indentured servitude!”

Elisha responded, “What shall I do for you? Tell me what you have in your house.”

She replied, “Your servant has nothing in the entire house except for a flask of oil.”

He told her, “Go out to all of your neighbors in the surrounding streets and borrow lots of pots from them. Don’t get just a few empty vessels, either. 

Then go in and shut the door behind you, taking only your children, and pour oil into all of the pots. As each one is filled, set it aside.”

So she left Elisha, shut the door behind her and her children, and while they kept on bringing vessels to her, she kept on pouring oil.

When the last of the vessels had been filled, she told her son, “Bring me another pot!”

But he replied, “There isn’t even one pot left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

After this, she went and told the man of God what had happened.

So he said, “Go sell the oil, pay your debt, and you and your children will be able to live on the proceeds.”



Here at the Super Duper, in a glass tank
Supplied by a rill of cold fresh water
Running down a glass washboard at one end
And siphoned off at the other, and so
Perpetually renewed, a herd of lobster
Is made available to the customer
Who may choose whichever one he wants
To carry home and drop into boiling water
And serve with a sauce of melted butter.

Meanwhile, the beauty of strangeness marks
These creatures, who move (when they do)
With a slow, vague wavering of claws,
The somnambulist¹s effortless clambering
As he crawls over the shell of a dream
Resembling himself. Their velvet colors,
Mud red, bruise purple, cadaver green
Speckled with black, their camouflage at home,
Make them conspicuous here in the strong
Day-imitating light, the incommensurable
Philosophers and at the same time victims
Herded together in the marketplace, asleep
Except for certain tentative gestures
Of their antennae, or their imperial claws
Pegged shut with a whittled stick at the wrist.

The flame beneath the pot that boils the water.

We inlanders, buying our needful food,
Pause over these slow, gigantic spiders
That spin not. We pause and are bemused,
And sometimes it happens that a mind sinks down
To the blind abyss in a swirl of sand, goes cold
And archaic in a carapace of horn,
Thinking: There’s something underneath the world.

The flame beneath the pot that boils the water.



I am a pomegranate
delicate and intricately made
complicated, as everybody is
with countless countless seeds
I am flesh and juice
I am thick exotic skin
I am sensual and erotic
I am frightened
frightened of moving beyond my pomegranate-self
frightened of my pomegranate-thoughts
being untrue
frightened of all of you
frightened of searching beyond my realm
frightened of the darker blue where
the ocean gets deep
I tried to swim there once
and lost everything I had ever known
deep in the ocean I lost my band of gold
and shattered someone else’s dream
yet still I think my pomegranate-thoughts
and know that
I am the Last Great Lover
I am a feeder of souls
I am a paramour
I should have been the courtesan of a king
I am corseted and perfumed
I am the muse of ancient poets
alone, surrounded by friends
I search for my king
my counterpart in the game of love
he is out there somewhere
with honeyed words
and a sinful voice
and eyes that look only at me
I may have found him on a Thursday
as we made love in my opium den
sorting through the tunnels and seeds
to find that perfect bit of ripe fruit
and once we found it
he enjoyed it to the full
and didn’t just swallow it whole
yet even as we searched then loved then wept
I knew a secret sadness
that sweet secret sadness that only longing can bring.
I am afraid of the sunlight
I have always preferred the serene moon
to the unforgiving sun
I am afraid of the nakedness
afraid people will know me
afraid not to be able to lie
afraid of the utter lack of mystery
afraid I won’t be able to hide behind a pomegranate
naked and humiliated
I can never look my conquerors in the eye
my mind races my heart gallops
and that soul spot beneath my rib cage is always full to overflowing
as my body stands
quietly quivering
beneath every critical eye
yet I am empty
empty of great pain
of sorrows beyond imagination
of true anguish of true desperation
of true contentment
of true love
I had it once
it died
I mourned
I mourn
I move on
Because although I am empty
I am full
full of the beauty of my surroundings
full of the light in a new lover’s eye
full of the juice of countless pomegranates
I am full
and jaded
and desensitized
I have already stepped
over all the dead bodies in my path
and broken a heart beyond recompense
and torn my own heart out
and fed it to a hungry lion for dinner
nothing can touch me anymore
as I sit,
pomegranate in hand
reposing like a muse half in thought
and wait
and search
and devour
and get sick from my feast
and get sick from my hunger
and get sick from my fear
and get sick from my sadness
that sweet secret sadness that only longing can bring.

Pomegranate 76


Our legacy dwells
In the hearts of those we touch.
Did you leave a bruise?




The soldiers are afraid
of the camera. Are you shooting the souk?
The photographer says No no, just her.
I say Just me, just me.
My black dress, a little above the knee, helps.
A girl learns to spectacle enough.
The soldier nods, lowers his head.
The crew remind me to say

Not from here, to say Half-half,
to speak English, mostly.
Everyone is always kinder to strangers.
The city will devour its children,
unless she doesn’t recognize them.

And so I, of this city,
I who stand on stages and name this city,
deny this city in the heart of the city,
deny this city at the old gate of the city.
I say Bonjour, I say Thank you, I undo
my accent and put on the colonizer’s tongue.
When you say hometown, what do you mean?

The crew comment on the quality
of the light through the tin roofs,
they say Pretend no one is looking.
But the guy with the espresso and cigarette is looking,
and the teenager who sells batteries is looking,
and the man with the shisha is looking, and the woman
in the clothes shop, his wife perhaps, is looking.
The photographer says Beautiful, says Try
to keep your shoulders even. I cross and uncross
my arms, remind him it’s time for my second outfit.
A girl learns not to spectacle too much.

The store owner who’s given us space to change
tells me the story of this ancient street,
tells me about the shootings a few years ago,
says And they were all neighbors,
says Nothing works, nothing works,
says his uncle comes here every morning
just to bathe and feed this kitten.
I do not tell him I heard the fire from my house.
I raise my eyebrows. I shake my head.
I code switch I dress switch
I silent I carnival I hypocrite.
When you say blasphemy, what do you mean?

The looks are lighter when I’m in jeans.
I stand in the center of the street,
remember to give way to the motorcycles,
give way to the old man with a bag of minced meat,
give way to the mother and two daughters.
The crew remind me to breathe
on the count of three, for a better photo.
As we pack up, someone yells, Kiss it!
We laugh. When you say body, what do you mean?

This is called The Wheat Market.
There used to be harvest here, once.
Sometimes names stop belonging to their children,
and does it matter? I used to think
the cemeteries were far from the city.
I used to think my shadow didn’t belong to me—
my mother found me, two years old, terrified,
trying to run from it in the corridor.
I look up—1 2 3, 1 2 3,
there are stone arches,
there are posters of politicians,
there’s a red lace dress
bright on the ropes above us.

Zelna Hashem Beck



line no sooner down than taut

shadow silvering into air
desperate fruit all wriggle

and twitch snapped off
slapped in a plastic crate

fading to layers of leaves
knives out guts chucked

to an instant coven of gulls
heads scarfed whole

sea a boil of snatch and scream
fillets home in a bucket

fried in their own oil
all night my head full

of saltwater skin sun
flesh feather beak bone

so little between us

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