According To New Research, Forgiveness Can Actually Improve Your Health

Forgiveness is a choice we have to make. Each day we’re faced with the decision to either forgive someone, or hold a grudge. Sometimes we’re on the receiving or denying end of forgiveness, and sometimes we have to make the choice ourselves. We all know that holding a grudge can be the wrong choice for a variety of reasons, but recent studies have shown there may be a more important reason to let go of a grudge and offer true forgiveness; it has to do with our physical health.

There’s actually a correlation between forgiving people and your physical well-being, which makes holding a grudge all that more dangerous. According to John Hopkins Medicine, chronic anger puts you into a state of flight or fight mode, which can have a major impact overtime.
When the body and the brain go into this mode, it results in heart rate, blood pressure, and immune response changes. From these changes, the body can develop heart disease, diabetes, and can increase your risk for depression, but letting go of your anger actually calms stress levels down.
Forgiveness is taught and practiced everywhere, which goes to show people have known about the benefits of forgiveness long before science could back up their beliefs.
In almost every major religion, there’s a story or parable that describes why forgiveness should be practiced. Jesus told his disciples that if a man wronged one of them, they should turn the other cheek. In the Buddhist tradition, Buddha was talking to his disciples when a man spat in his face, but his only response was to ask the man what he wanted to say next. The man was so troubled that he asked Buddha for forgiveness the next day.
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These religious stories speak mostly about the nature of forgiveness and why it’s important to practice in regards to how we treat others. Though, with recent studies showing a correlation between forgiveness and health, it has become even more important.
Forgiveness is something that can be learned and practiced, but it takes some time. It’s hard to forgive the people that wronged you; letting things go is obviously something that isn’t a natural tendency.
The true problem that we have with forgiveness is that it takes a willingness to meet hardship head on. It’s much easier to ignore the causes of our anger by simply remaining upset and holding a grudge, but identifying these causes and trying to fix them is a much more difficult path to walk.
If it was easy, religious leaders and texts wouldn’t stress its importance and practice. In order to offer true forgiveness, you may need to talk to the people who have harmed you in the past in order to clear things up. Whatever you feel like you need to do in order to let go of your anger, do it, because you’re only hurting yourself by holding it in.
Practice forgiveness throughout your life. Don’t think about how it impacts other people, although this is important, think about how it impacts you as a person. Do you really want to hold on to all that anger simply because something happened to you in the past? Let it go, and you’ll be better for it.
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