In some situations, people who got hurt, replay the disturbing moment in their heads for many times and for many days. Every repetition you make usually causes more intense feelings making the situation worse.
Thanks to modern medicine, there is now proof that keeping these emotions inside you can have negative effects on your overall health. That’s why we would like to discuss forgiveness.
When it comes to clinical view, forgiveness is a process where a person gives up from the feeling of bitterness and thoughts associated with retribution.
In addition, forgiveness is closely related to the process of developing and nurturing feelings of generosity, empathy and at some point – love to the people who made you suffer.
Truth be told, this process is not simple or easy. Most clinicians agree that in case a patient has deep emotional wounds and traumas, the process of healing will be long. However, it is possible to forgive and overcome these feelings and it is definitely worth it.
About two decades ago, medical science had minimal research reports and studies about the effects of forgiveness on mental and physical health. However, this situation has changed, and there are dozens of studies and scientific papers today.
Forgiveness Enhances The Quality of Your Life
We should begin by saying that the effects of remaining angry, feeling frustrated or being negative all the time about some event from the past is toxic. According to many experts, keeping these negative feelings and emotions leads to chronic anxiety.
As a result of that, the body produces more cortisol and adrenaline which leads to cell damage making you more prone to cancer. So, if you don’t want to forgive, you will feel sick and you will eventually become sick.
While we are talking about cancer, a recent clinical trial which included more than 80 patients dealing with cancer has focused on the feelings of self-acceptance, pessimism and forgiveness after patients took classes in self-forgiveness.
During these classes, they have learned things like expressive writing, reflection techniques etc.
Once the classes were finished, the patients who took them had better results when it comes to acceptance, self-forgiving, pessimism and self-improvement.
Forgiveness is Here to Boost Your Confidence
In case you start thinking about an old event where you felt hurt, mistreated, humiliated or offended you will start feeling unwell right away. Truth is that there are instant physiological and emotional responses in our body that are triggered when we think about these memories.
Some of the most common responses are:
- Increased blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle tightening
As you can see, these are the common symptoms of anxiety and stress too. A few scientific studies have confirmed that people who often practice forgiveness and compassion to people who have hurt them have reduced stress response.
Another survey has shown that 1.500 adult Americans who forgave others said that they are more satisfied with their lives and feel less stresses and nervous.
It was proven that forgiveness is great for those who have experienced intense emotional abuse too. A group of women were separated into two groups.
The first group was focused on forgiveness while the second group practiced methods like assertiveness, anger validation and building interpersonal skills.
It turned out that the women that were focused on forgiveness have witnessed great improvement in terms of depression, self-esteem, symptoms related to post-traumatic stress, anxiety and quality of life.
On top of that, the effects of forgiveness were present months after the test was finished.
Forgiveness is Good for The Immune System
A scientific study conducted not while ago which included nearly 80 patients suffering from HIV was focused on their thoughts, feelings and behaviors of forgiveness.
Patients who were able to forgive had better amount of immune cancer-eliminating cells.
We should not forget that forgiveness stabilizes blood pressure as well as cardiovagal tone. Scientists have proven that forgiveness has excellent protective effects on the cardiovascular system.
At the same time, anger is bad for the cardiovascular health and causes damage to the heart muscle.
Forgiveness Helps You Sleep Better
Another scientific study has shown that forgiveness of offensive interpersonal conducts is associated with better sleep. On the other hand, if you keep being angry, resentful and bitter, you can expect lower quality of sleep.
This is just a short list of all the health benefits of forgiveness. So, now that you know how useful forgiveness is, it is the right time to make a good plan and truly forgive the person who hurt you.
The process begins with self-forgiveness and continues with others. In case you are not sure how you should forgive, consult an experienced spiritual psychotherapist.
Forget about the past and the unpleasant events that happened back then and move your life forward!
Sources and references:
The unique effects of forgiveness on health: an exploration of pathways.Lawler KA, Younger JW, Piferi RL, Jobe RL, Edmondson KA, Jones WH – J Behav Med – April 1, 2005; 28 (2); 157-67