Did you know that continually nurturing grudges and negative feelings of resentment can keep your stress levels high and come at an emotional and physiological cost like premature death? All it takes to bring those stress levels down is forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a simple practice that can provide you with some of the same health benefits as yoga or meditation. Years of research have connected the regular practice of forgiving those who’ve wronged us with less psychological stress and countless other health benefits, such as a boost in overall heart health, improved physical ability, and even a longer life.
Research suggests that forgiveness works in two key ways: it helps us let go emotionally and physically. Forgiveness also lets us recover from the physical and emotional hangover, which is long-term stress.
When you forgive someone, you choose to give up your desire for revenge and feelings of resentment, you stop judging the person who hurt you, and you show generosity, compassion and kindness. When you forgive someone, you don’t necessarily forget that the offense occurred or excuse it, but instead, you substitute the negative with positive feelings, thoughts and behavior.
Forgiveness offers us a chance at letting go of both emotional and physical burdens. So try it out yourself in honor of your mind and body – not to mention the person you’re forgiving – will probably thank you.
“There’s a Counterintuitive Way to Relieve Stress — and It’s Way Easier than Meditating,” Erin Brodwin, businessinsider.com, March 1, 2016.“Live Longer by Practicing Forgiveness,” Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., psychologytoday.com, Jan. 1, 2013.”