A Compassate Heart Is Good For Your Heart
- Learning To Forgive May Improve Well Being
Forgiveness may be good for your health,
according to the January issue of Mayo Clinic
Holding a grudge appears to affect the
cardiovascular and nervous systems. In one
study, people who focused on a personal grudge
had elevated blood pressure and heart rates,
as well as increased muscle tension and feelings
of being less in control. When asked to imagine
forgiving the person who had hurt them, the
participants said they felt more positive and
relaxed and thus, the changes dissipated. Other
studies have shown that forgiveness has positive
effects on psychological health, too.
Forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting, condoning or
excusing whatever happened. It's acknowledging hurt
and then letting it go, along with the burden of
anger and resentment.
There's no single approach to learning how to forgive.
Talking with a friend, therapist or adviser (spiritual
or otherwise) may be helpful during the process, to
sort through feelings and stay on track. The January
issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource covers four
steps that are included in most approaches to learning
-- Acknowledge the pain and anger felt as a result
of someone else's actions. For forgiveness to occur,
the situation needs to be looked at honestly.
-- Recognize that healing requires change.
-- Find a new way to think about the person who caused
the pain. What was happening in that person's life when
the hurt occurred? Sometimes, the motivation or causes
for the incident have little to do with those most
affected. For some people, this step includes saying,
"I forgive you."
-- Begin to experience the emotional relief that
comes with forgiveness. It may include increased
compassion for others who have experienced similar hurt.
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