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The Importance of Forgiveness

Today, the importance of forgiveness is blossoming into a vital part of what is means to be healthy. Evidence shows that learning to forgive is better for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Forgiveness helps you to alleviate your pain. It helps you let go of the suffering that you are experiencing as a result of a transgression. The importance of forgiveness is for you - for your own healing, health and wellbeing.

The pain of being harmed by someone hurts. We have all felt the sting, the pain, and the betrayal of being hurt by a person or incident. And these feelings are powerfully important in helping you heal. However . . .

Sometimes the harm caused by another person creates feelings of bitterness and hard-heartedness. This is, in fact, created by your thoughts, your thinking, about the situation. In the end, it's your thoughts that keep the hurt and anger alive not the actual incident. Thinking these thoughts can also make you feel wrathful and revengeful. The bottom line: the resulting anger, resentfulness of being unforgiving is a cause of stress.

The Benefits of Forgiveness

Dr. Luskin, a Palo Alto psychologist and his team at Stanford University have been researching forgiveness. He shares that grudges negatively impact emotional, mental and physical health. In his book, Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, he shares his research and the benefits.

What people who forgive experience:

  • 27% reduction in physical symptoms of stress, such as backache,
  • sleeplessness, headache and upset stomach
  • 42% decrease in depression
  • 35% increase in self-confidence
  • 62% decrease in feelings of hurt
  • 15% reduction in long-term feelings of anger

Being unforgiving literally creates unhealthy stress. "When we get angry, our body experiences a biochemical fight-or-flight reaction that was designed by nature to protect us from immediate danger, but can be harmful when these physical reactions are fostered by an ongoing, smoldering anger," says Luskin.

Forgiving reduces stress and improves health all the way around: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. That's the bottomline.

You can learn more about taking steps towards forgiveness here:

Forgiveness letter
Forgiveness exercises
Prayer for forgiveness
Definition of forgiveness
Self forgiveness

Forgiving yourself and/or others is a step towards mental pain and stress reduction that can bolster and cultivate your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness and overall health.

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