How To Get Rid Of Bad Karma And Build Good Karma [TUTORIAL]

how to get rid of bad karma

Everybody needs to know how to get rid of bad karma and how to get good karma.

The karmic law is an invisible power that shapes our lives. It teaches us, changes the course of our destiny, and directs all things as we move through life.

Good karma and bad karma come from the actions we take. And they have reciprocal consequences later in life. Our future is dependent on our actions today, and the present moment is based on our past actions.

That’s why you need to know how to get rid of negative karma from your past: because you do not want karmic debt from your past to ruin today or tomorrow.   

The number one rule for positive karma is to practice being compassionate. This makes sense because of the staggering importance of compassion in life. 

Have you ever noticed how your present reality is a reflection of your past? What goes around comes around. It’s the cyclical nature of existence. Do evil deeds and they will come back at you. Do good deeds, on the other hand, and good will come back to you instead.  

Good deeds mean compassionate deeds. And indeed, compassion is the key.

If you’re currently suffering from an influx of karmic woe you might wonder what to do about it, because until you solve the problem it will continue to affect your life. 

Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to remove karmic debt and develop positive karma. One of the best solutions is to start practising good mental hygiene.

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How We Get Good Karma And Bad Karma

There are a lot of different definitions of karma. That’s because karma is discussed in so many different fields.

  • There’s karma yoga, which advocates devotion to selfless actions.
  • There’s Buddhist karma, which teaches that every intentional thought, feeling and action will bear fruit (ripe or sour) in the future.   
  • Hindu karma says that good present-day occurrences were created through good deeds done in the past.
  • Many spiritualities (especially Buddhism) teach that we will be stuck in the karmic cycle of life and death until we reach enlightenment.
  • The psychological, scientific definition of the word is more in-depth so I’ve discussed it below
  • And then there’s the pop-culture’s interpretation, which is the idea that what goes around comes around.

You might wonder whether there is any scientific proof of karma. In 2011 York University in Toronto researched the effect of kindness. Seven hundred people took part in a study to determine whether being kind to other people had a significant effect on our health. The group practised acts of compassion towards someone for 5 – 15 minutes a day. After the test it was determined that acts of kindness had a direct impact on the general wellbeing of the test participants. Lead author Myriam Mongrain, associate professor of psychology at York’s Faculty of Health tells us that it only takes a few moments of kindness to have a lasting effect.  “The time investment required for these changes to occur is so small. We’re talking about mere minutes [of kindness] a day,” she says.

Kindness makes us feel better about ourselves, which makes us value ourselves more. This, in turn, increases the value we perceive in our lives and motivates us to act in positive ways. So good deeds ultimately result in a better future, and the karmic law does hold weight scientifically. 

Now that we’ve looked at various definitions of karma, let’s combine them into one: Karma is the idea that every action has a reaction, which is very similar to the physics rule that every action has its equal and opposite reaction.

If we did a good deed in the past, something good will happen to us in the present.

You can visualise the effects of karma like this: Imagine you’re standing on top of a clock. You place a nice present on one of the hands. The hand goes around. And soon enough, the nice present you put on top of the clock has come right back to you. That, in a nutshell, is what it’s all about. 

So what is good karma? It’s the positive actions you’ve taken, the nice things you’ve done.

 Bad karma comes from harmful things you did in the past, and the karmic price you pay later. 

The word “karma” is a Sanskrit word that simply means deed or action. It’s also a word used in Buddhism, where it means to take responsibility for our actions [source]. 

The Christian definition of karma is written in the Bible: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

The karmic law is simply the rule of cause and effect. Obviously, that law is very questionable. There are people it doesn’t seem to apply to. For instance, what the hell has a starving African done to deserve to starve? Nothing. So how can you explain that using the karmic law? We’ll get into that a little later. Or, if you have your own answer, leave a comment.

Karma isn’t about punishment or reward, though. It’s not the pop-culture idea that you reap what you sew. It’s actually about learning from your past actions. Life gives you the experiences that you need in order to develop as a human being. Consider today. Ask yourself what you did in the past that created your reality today? How can you learn from that?

Here’s an example: Lots of people party too hard in their teens and early twenties [I know I did]. Life (karma) then teaches them that those actions can have negative consequences (lack of career, illness). So they learn from that in their late twenties / early thirties and change their ways, becoming more responsible. That’s a common example of karma.

Karma’s Influence After Death

What do you think happens when you die? Different spiritualities and religions believe that different things happen when we die and most of those beliefs are based on karma. Christianity is an obvious example. You’re either good or bad while you live. And after you die, you either go to heaven or hell. That’s why Christians try to get rid of karmic debt when they age, such as by attending church more often.

Other religions and spiritualities share similar beliefs. Buddhists and Hindus believe we are doomed to repeat the perpetual cycle of life and death until we achieve enlightenment. Enlightenment is ultimately about having a pure spirit when you live. In other words, by living a good life you will be rewarded.

The Karmic Law Is Really About Intention

If the karmic law were simply about whether or not you have done evil deeds before, everyone would be in hell, because we are all human and we all make mistakes. Thankfully it’s not so much about our actions as it is about our intent.

What matters is whether we intended to do good or bad. Consider this example. Imagine you’re driving late at night. You’re not speeding, you haven’t been drinking, and you’re driving safely. Then a kid runs in front of your car. There’s no way you can stop in time. You hit them. Are you going to get a karmic kick in the butt from that? No. You didn’t intend to do wrong and what happened wasn’t your fault. You’re the victim of unfortunate circumstances.

How about a totally different example. Consider cheating on your spouse. You intentionally cheat on your wife. She finds out. She’s devastated. Will you get negative karma? Probably. Because you did it on purpose.  

It comes down to this: The amount of bad karma you receive is proportionate to the harm you do multiplied by your intent.

Karma = Harm * Intent


You very intentionally cheat on your girlfriend and there is no justifiable reason for it. 

Harm = (for example) 7 (out of 10).

Intent = 10 out of 10

Harm * Intent = 70

In this instance, your karmic debt is quite high (70 out of 100) because what you did is fairly harmful (though there are far worse things a person could do). And at the same time, you had 100% intent and zero excuses. You will need to take some steps to get rid of the bad karma from this!

Let’s compare this to our example of a kid running out into the road and you accidentally hitting them because there was no way you could stop.

Harm = 10 out of 10 (you’ve killed a kid).

Intent = 1 (maybe you could have been more alert, but ultimately it is not your fault).


10 * 1 = 10

So interestingly, you’re really not going to get a lot of bad karma for this, because even though what happened was terrible it was not your fault.

This also works for positive karma in the same way.

Positive karma is based on the good you do multiplied by your intent to do it. Let’s give two examples that are related to the above.

Let’s say you save a kid’s life but you do it accidentally (for example, you happen to be walking down the road when you see a kid who’s been knocked-out, so you call the ambulance).

GOOD = 10 (you’ve saved a kid’s life).

INTENT = 3 (you just happened to be in the right place at the right time).

GOOD * INTENT = 30 (out of 100)

So even though you’ve done something outstanding, you won’t get a ton of karma from it because you just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

How about another example. You save a friend’s marriage because you really care about them and their relationship. And you put a ton of effort into it.

Good = 7 (you’ve done a good deed but it’s nothing amazing)

Intent = 10


KARMA = 70

Here you’re actually getting more good karma than the person who saved a kid’s life because you did it on purpose and it took real effort. Long story short: Karma is about the good or bad you do, multiplied by your intent to do it. 

Therefore, if you have harmed people by accident, chill because it wasn’t your fault so nothing bad will happen.

Lots of people ask if you get lying has a karmic consequence. Depends. Consider the equation again. Karma =(Good or Bad) / Intent.  So if your lie does a lot of damage and you lied intentionally, you will get back karma from lying. If your lie does no damage at all and you only lied because you had no choice, you will not get any negative karma from lying.

If you are trying to work out whether you get negative karma from lying, use the equation. Good / Bad multiplied by volition.

So here’s a question: is your karma good or bad?  

Inevitably, we are all going to do both good and bad things in life because no one is perfect, and no one is 100% evil either. So how do you know if you have good or bad karma overall? Just consider your overall desire to do good or evil, and how effective you’ve been in your efforts. 

The ultimate reason for good and bad karma 

Both good and bad karma exist for a reason. They are the wheels through which all things return to us. They are the life lessons we must learn. If you’re an empath, intuitive or sensitive type, you may already know whether you are experiencing karmic debt. It can feel like an invisible blockage in our energy. It is as though something is holding us back, but we don’t know what.

To determine whether you’re experiencing the impact of karmic law, look for these signs of negative karma:

  • Feeling stuck.
  • Being unhappy at work or in a relationship.
  • Feeling bad about something but not knowing why.
  • The universe is not providing what is expected or desired
  • Dwelling on the past and blaming the past for negative energy in the present.
  • A general feeling of heading in the wrong direction
  • The feeling or idea that things would be different if only you could learn one all-important life-lesson. 

How To Get Good Karma 

Traleg Kyabgon, author of the excellent Karma: What It Is, What It Isn’t, Why It Matters, says “The Buddha’s teaching on karma (literally, “action”) is nothing other than his compassionate explanation of the way things are: our thoughts and actions determine our future, and therefore we ourselves are largely responsible for the way our lives unfold.”

Right actions in the past become positive karma in the present. Right actions in the present convert to positive karma in the future. And when we say “right actions”, what we are really talking about is kindness and compassion. 

Compliment people

It costs nothing to give a compliment. But the right words can mean the world to the other person. I remember when a friend told me I was a great person because I spent so much time helping stray animals. Just hearing that gave me validation, and it made me feel special.

Random acts of kindness

One of the best ways is to practice random acts of kindness. Kindness cultivates happiness and self-worth. Be kind whenever possible. I love spending just a few minutes every day being outrageously kind to someone. It’s a win/win because it makes me feel amazing, and it puts a smile on the other person’s face.

Look for opportunities to help people

There are always opportunities to help other people. And those are also opportunities to build positive karma. We need to take a look around at other people and ask how we can help them. What can we do to make a difference in their lives? Then we need to act.

Practice forgiveness 

Good karma can come from positive actions, and it can also come from noble thoughts and feelings. One of the most noble traits in the world is forgiveness. The harder it is to forgive, the more good karma you will generate when you do forgive.  Find someone who needs forgiveness, and have the compassion to forgive them. 

Donate to charities

One of the reasons why people love to donate to charity is because it makes them feel amazing. And of course, the right charity also helps those in need. Donating to a great charity is one way how to get good karma. And remember, you don’t have to donate money. You can donate food, clothes… whatever you have to spare.  Which is your favourite charity to donate to?

Practice gratitude

Another excellent way how to get good karma is to practice gratitude creates good karma.

Simply telling people that you are thankful can be a big deal. I remember when a friend of mine was going through depression. His family were not supporting him. He had no one to turn to. So I did everything in my power to help him. Afterwards, he told me that he was so thankful that there are people like me in the world. That felt amazing. And it generated a lot of good karma for both of us. Sometimes just saying thanks can make a world of difference. 

Give away a valuable possession

The more something means to you, the more karma you will receive when you give it away. The item you give away doesn’t have to be of monetary value. It could be a personal item that has immense value to you, like a family heirloom. Passing that item on to someone else who needs it, or who will value it, is another way how to get good karma. It stings a little to give away such a prized possession, but it builds good karma in spades.

Share your knowledge

Teachers usually have good karma simply because they spend so much time teaching people and helping people. The knowledge you’ve accrued in your lifetime is of immense value to someone. Find that person and pass on all the knowledge you have sitting up there in that brain of yours.

Help someone to achieve an ambition or dream

Dreams make the world go round… or is that love? I know. How about we combine dreams with love. Find someone who has a dream, or ambition, and lovingly help them achieve it. Seriously, if you do this, you will feel bloody amazing, and it will create so much good karma you’ll be sitting on cloud nine the rest of your life.


How To Get Rid Of Bad Karma

Stop being angry:

Bad karma is caused by bad deeds. And a lot of the time, bad deeds are caused by anger. The less anger you have, the less bad karma you will have. Simple. Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation will lead to less anger. That, in turn, leads to less bad deeds and less karmic debt. It’s basically the opposite of the Yoda quote. You remember the Yoda quote, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering”? Flip it. It becomes this: Hope leads to happiness. Happiness leads to love. Love leads to heaven. Start with inner peace. That’s the essential way to to get rid of negative karma. 

Say sorry

It’s never too late to say sorry. And when you say sorry, you will stop bad karma from the deed you’re apologising for. Saying sorry has a transformative effect. It stops the damage of past mistakes. It lets the other person know that they matter and that you are sorry, and it helps both of you to move on. “Sorry” is a truly powerful word.


Let go

Inevitably, bad relationships happen, and grapes turn sour. Clinging on to a broken relationship is never the right answer. Bad relationships create negative karma. Let go. Know when it’s time to move on. Stop the flow of bad karma, and turn the page.

Never seek revenge:

The idea of an eye for an eye is just ignorant. If someone does you wrong, their own bad karma will punish them. There’s no need for you to punish them yourself. Doing that will create an imbalance of karma for you. When an enlightened person is wronged, they focus on forgiveness, because forgiveness stops bad karma and builds good karma. Accept that the other person made a mistake. Let their own karmic debt punish them. Don’t mess up your own good vibes through one stupid act of vengeance.

Practice Loving Kindness Meditation:

Loving-kindness meditation will completely stop karmic debt because it cultivate warm feelings of compassion and love. It is the single best meditation for karma.

  Have compassion for all:

Negative karma is usually the result of a lack of compassion in the past. If we acted selfishly or in ways that harmed other people, life will teach us to change our ways by giving us a karmic slap in the face. The opposite is also true. When we act in compassionate ways we build good karma that leads to a positive life. So naturally, one the best things you can do is to be compassionate to all people and indeed all living things.

Accept life as it is

One of the main reasons why some people fail to learn life lessons is that they do not accept life as it is. When we fail to accept life as it is, we create a loop. We refuse to accept life as it is, so we keep acting in negative ways. The universe responds by producing negative karma. And we react with more negative deeds. It’s an infinite loop that serves neither the universe or the individual. Accept life as it is. Learn the lesson. Change perspective. Change attitude. The universe will acknowledge the change and reward you.

Help other people find inner peace  

Having inner peace for ourselves is a beautiful thing, but what’s even better is to help other people find inner peace. Ask what ways you can help other people to feel peace. This benefits you, benefits the other person, and benefits the universe.

Express gratitude for both good times and bad times  

We all know that gratitude is essential, especially when it comes to karmic law. When we are grateful for life itself we see the value in all life’s moment, both good and bad. This is vital. We have to learn from the past, and the only way to learn from the past is to be grateful for the experiences life gave us. We must be grateful for good and bad. Only then can we achieve all the lessons life is teaching us.  


Karma is the invisible force controlling our destiny. You now know some ways to control karma.  Do good deeds today and reap the benefits tomorrow. It’s one of the few rules all religions and science agree about.

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a passionate meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. "My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation" - Paul Harrison


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