Have you felt hurt or betrayed? Have you ever been so bitter and upset to a situation or person that you could not think of forgiving them? You may have even replayed the event(s) over and over in your head. With each repetition, your feelings heighten and you feel worse about yourself and it. There is proof to show that harboring these emotions can negatively impact your health. Hence the subject of forgiveness surfaces to the top of this site!
Forgiveness from a medical viewpoint is the process of relinquishing one’s feeling of bitterness and thoughts of revenge. Forgiveness likewise includes the process of fostering compassion, generosity, as well as love towards those who have inflicted pain.
It is undoubtedly not an easy thing to do. Clinicians will certainly tell you if your wounds are deep and traumatic, many of you will need more time to recover. Nonetheless, forgiveness is possible and we think necessary. Over 15 years ago there were no studies on the effect of forgiveness on our health. Thankfully to date, there are numerous scientific papers and clinicians prepared to share their knowledge with us.
Forgiveness Improves Your Life
Let us begin with the effect of staying angry, being frustrated or feeling negative about an event. Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, states that holding onto these negative emotions develops a chronic state of anxiety. This produces a predictable excess of adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells. These cells are your protection against cancer. If you choose not to forgive it not only makes you ill however can keep you that way.
Considering that we are on the subject of cancer, a neat randomized controlled trial with over 83 cancer patients evaluated feelings of forgiveness, pessimism, and self-acceptance after taking a course in self-forgiveness. The course taught techniques such as reflection, expressive writing and so on. As anticipated, the patients that took the course had statistically significant higher ratings for self-forgiveness, acceptance, self-improvement, and lower pessimism scores compared with the control group.
Forgiveness Helps You Feel Better About Yourself
If you think of an old memory of being mistreated, hurt, or offended you immediately start to feel unhealthy. The fact is that there are instant psychological and/or physiological responses that occur when you are having these memories. These responses consist of:
- Your high blood pressure increases
- Your muscles tighten
- You start to swell
These are all signs of stress and anxiety. Recent studies show that participants who practice empathy and forgiveness to those who do them wrong have a decreased stress response. To further deepen this point, approximately 1,500 Americans who forgave reported greater satisfaction with their lives, less distress signs, less anxiety, and less sadness.
Forgiveness even helps in cases of extreme psychological abuse. Women were placed into 2 treatment groups; the first using techniques such as anger validation, assertiveness, social skill building, and the second using forgiveness. Women in the forgiveness group had considerable improvements in anxiety ratings, post-traumatic stress symptom, self-confidence, less anxiety, and better overall mastery of their life. Months later all these gains were still present!
Forgiveness Positively Impacts Your Immunity
One controlled study examined 78 medicated HIV patients for feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of forgiveness. Participants who really forgave had higher percentages of CD4 immune cancer-fighting cells! The enhancement of blood pressure and cardiovagal tone is yet another advantage of forgiveness. Researchers have actually been able to reveal that forgiveness has a cardioprotective impact on the heart. While anger, is cardiotoxic, which harms the heart muscle.
Forgiveness Benefits Your Quality of Sleep
One study found that forgiveness of social transgressions is associated with better sleep. While staying resentful, upset or even keeping hostile feelings around associate with a poorer quality of sleep.
The list goes on and on. The health benefits of forgiveness are huge. Now that you have some facts, think and devise a forgiveness plan. Start by forgiving yourself, then move onto forgiving others. If you do not know the how to forgive, get in touch with a spiritual psychotherapist or psychologist in your area for help. It is time to let go of past grievances. It is time to feel lighter. It is time to be free of the past to create space for a brighter present!