This amazing guest post was written by Dr. Andreia Horta, ND, and Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND, founders of Infusion Health! You can check out their website here!
Have you felt hurt or betrayed? Have you ever been so bitter and upset towards a situation or person that you could not imagine forgiving them? You may have even replayed the event(s) over and over in your head. With each repetition, your feelings intensify, and you feel worse about yourself and it. There is evidence to prove that harboring these emotions can negatively impact your health. Thus, the subject of forgiveness surfaces to the top of this blog!
Forgiveness from a clinical perspective is the process of relinquishing one’s feeling of resentment and thoughts of vengeance. Forgiveness also includes the process of fostering compassion, generosity, and even love towards those who have inflicted pain.
It is obviously not an easy thing to do. Clinicians will undoubtedly tell you if your wounds are deep and traumas many you will need more time to heal. Nonetheless, forgiveness is possible, and I believe necessary. Let me tell you why?
Forgiveness even helps in cases of severe emotional abuse. Women were placed into two treatment groups. The first using techniques such as anger validation, assertiveness, interpersonal skill building, and the second using forgiveness. Women in the forgiveness group had significant improvements in depression scores, post-traumatic stress symptom, self-esteem, less anxiety, and better overall mastery of their life. Months later all these gains were still present! YAY! Forgiveness is powerful!
Forgiveness Positively Impacts Your Immunity
One controlled study assessed 78 medicated HIV patients for feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of forgiveness. Participants who truly forgave had higher percentages of CD4 immune cancer-fighting cells!
The improvement of blood pressure and cardiovagal tone is yet another benefit of forgiveness. Researchers have been able to show that forgiveness has a cardioprotective effect on the heart. While anger, is cardiotoxic, which damages the heart muscle.
Forgiveness Benefits Your Quality of Sleep
One study found that forgiveness of interpersonal transgressions is related to better sleep. While staying resentful, angry or even keeping hostile feelings around relate to a poorer quality of sleep.
The list goes on and on. The health benefits of forgiveness are monumental. Now that you have some facts think and devise a forgiveness plan. Start by forgiving yourself, and then move onto forgiving others. If you do not know how to forgive, contact a spiritual psychotherapist or psychologist in your area for help.
It is time to let go of past grievance, time to feel lighter. It is time to be free of the past to create space for a brighter present!
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
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