5 Ways Forgiveness Can Improve Your Health
When was the last time someone did you wrong? Was it family, friends or even a colleague? How long did you stew over it? How did it make you feel? Your emotions right now are validating this entire article because your mood changed as soon as you thought about how you felt for being wronged.
Do you realize when you are wronged and you haven’t forgiven the person, it affects your health? As soon as your mood changed, you may have went from happy to angry or even stressed. According to Dr. Karen Swartz from Johns Hopkins, “There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed. Chronic anger puts you into a fight or flight mode which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response.”
Stop and think for a minute. Have you ever noticed that your heart races when you are angry? All you can think about is the incident and sometimes what your response will be. Will you contact the person and make things right? Or do you let it fester for days, months or even years? People have lost friendships based on one person being wronged. While one party is upset and hasn’t forgiven the other, the second party has gone on with their life not even knowing the other was hurt.
Below are five ways forgiveness can improve your health:
(1) Recognize you are making a decision to let go and not look back. This will release you from being in bondage to those negative feelings. If you are the person reading this and you have been holding the grudge, hurt feelings or even anger, you are keeping yourself in captivity when the other person has no idea. Letting go will make you feel better.
(2) If you are not able to speak with the person, then write a letter or journal an apology to them. The letter doesn’t even have to get mailed to them, yet your having the opportunity to express yourself will be like a weight lifted off your shoulders. Don’t believe it? Write the letter.
(3) Forgive yourself. This is harder than forgiving someone else. We hold ourselves in a place of not being able to make a mistake or even feeling as if we let family members down, we have actually set ourselves up for a mistake. Stop today and forgive yourself for choices that ended up bad. This step alone can change your mindset and outlook on life about who you are.
(4) Bob Enright, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, said, “When you get rid of anger, your muscles relax, you’re less anxious, you have more energy and your immune system can strengthen.” (5) It can help you sleep. Have you ever tried to sleep when you were angry? Doesn’t happen. Resolve that anger and you will sleep better than the night before. Matthew 18:22 calls us to forgive 70 times seven. Will you begin your journey of forgiveness today? Your life could depend on it.