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Forgiveness Exercises

Forgiveness exercises are steps to forgiveness that empower your heart. Forgiveness exercises help you let go of anger and release the burden of pain.

The relief of forgiveness is unmistakable. At times, it comes in a rush. At other times, it comes in gentle waves bringing refreshment to you and your heart.

Hurt is real. Holding onto hurt instead of healing it can turn into resentment. Resentment fuels a grudge. And this can create a wall around your heart. Over time, the natural compassion of your heart diminishes in intensity.

Make a choice. Being willing. Be open to letting go of grudges and resentments that have built up. This is a powerful first step in forgiving.

Forgiveness is a complex act. The act of forgiving someone, whether or not they deserve it, calls upon the highest good within us. The actual act draws upon a place deep inside of you and I where the highest compassion and unconditional love exists.

Small steps create big effects. Forgiveness arrives as the result of many small but significant steps.

You, like a lot of people, myself included, may need a helping hand to guide and help move you through it. A trusted friend or family member, spiritual advisor, a therapist and/or helping professional are allies you can turn to. Reach out and get a helping hand if you need to. There's no need to suffer unnecessarily.

Stress relief tips for pain and stress reduction

Let's shift. And reclaim your calm.

A self-care moment. Try these:

The forgiveness exercises here are gentle. Done regularly, they will slowly help you to release the burden of emotional pain that you carry in your heart.

Forgiving is for giving the pain a way out of your heart. These forgiveness exercises are kind ways that help you to let go and to giveaway, for your own sake, the pain you've held onto. The process is transforming. In this way your heart can begin to experience relief and openness again.

For further information on forgiveness explore these pages: a definition of forgiveness, the importance of forgiveness and self-forgiveness.

Forgiveness exercises

You will/may need:
Paper or a journal/notebook.
Pen, pencil or a special writing utensil

Forgiveness exercises #1: The Forgive and Release Exercise
Forgiveness exercises #2: Healing Hurt
Forgiveness exercises #3: Forgiveness letter

Forgiveness exercise #1: The forgive and Release exercise

A long time ago, I took a class in which the assignment was the following exercise. At the time, it as very difficult to do and yet, it was very empowering. This exercise has stayed with me over the years. I've modified it but the essence is the same. I've forgotten the teacher's name but I haven't forgotten her. I send her my appreciation and gratitude for this exercise.

Preliminary step: Take a few deep breaths. Center yourself. You are about to help yourself feel better. You're about to let go of some emotional pain.

1. Look into your heart and reflect. Ask yourself these questions to help: Am I holding a grudge or have resentments weighing me down? What pain am I holding onto however recent or distant? Who hurt me? What hurts about that situation or that moment with this person?

Choose only one person and the situation that has the most emotional charge for you in this moment.

2. Assess how you feel emotionally about this on a 0 to 10 scale. Record this number in your journal.

0 means you are very well and at peace
10 means you are resentful, hurt and want to punish the person who hurt who.

3. Fill in the blanks below by using that emotionally charged memory of that one person and situation.

I forgive insert name of person and release name the pain and hurt caused.

4. Write it down and say out loud the above forgive and release statement.

  • Continue to write the above statement. Say it out loud. Repeat it.
  • You may find that what you write about changes. Allow that.
  • You may find yourself vocally emotionally expressing yourself. Allow that.
  • You will feel different feelings moving through you. Accept them. Feel them pass through.

Continue to do this for 5- 25 minutes or until you feel it is time to pause and stop.

5. Pause and stop the exercise. Notice how you feel. Assess how you feel now, emotionally, on a 0 to 10 scale. Are you the same, worse or better than when you started? Record the number.

6. Repeat this daily for 7 days with the same person/situation. Use a ratings scale before and after the exercise to see your progress.

7. After the 7th day, reflect on your progress and how you feel. Make entries in your journal.

Forgiveness exercise #2: Healing Hurt

Preliminary step: Take a few deep breaths. Center yourself. You are about to help yourself feel better. You're about to let go of some emotional pain.

1. Look into your heart and reflect. Ask yourself these questions to help you: Am I holding a grudge or have resentments weighing me down? What pain am I holding onto however recent or distant? Who hurt me? What hurts about that situation or that moment with this person?

Choose only one person and the situation that has the most emotional charge for you in this moment.

2. Assess how you feel emotionally about this on a 0 to 10 scale. Record this number in your journal.

0 means you are very well and at peace
10 means you are resentful, hurt and want to punish the person who hurt who.

3. Where is the pain located in your body? Notice what arises. Just be present to it. You may feel, see, sense, or hear things or you may notice nothing. Just be with what is. And remember to breath.

Physically, begin to smile - even if you don't feel like it. A smile, regardless of whether you want to smile, uses less muscles then a frown and engages the happy hormones of the body.

Smile into that space of pain. Radiate your smile. Fill that space up with a bit or a lot of smiles. Feel a good feeling(s). Anyone will do. Shine it into that part of you that hurts. Continue to breath and smile inwardly. Take some time here.

5. When you're ready open your eyes. Notice how you feel. Assess how you feel now, emotionally, on a 0 to 10 scale. Are you the same, worse or better than when you started? Record the number.

6. Repeat this daily for 7 days with the same person/situation. Use a ratings scale before and after the exercise to see your progress.

7. After the 7th day, reflect on your progress and how you feel. Make entries in your journal.

From Forgiveness Exercises to Emotional Wellness

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