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Can Forgiveness Improve Your Health?

We’ve all heard the saying, “forgive and forget,” but what if you can’t forgive or forget? Can holding a grudge negatively impact your health and well-being? A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic reported that people who hold a grudge are more likely to have elevated blood pressure, have an increased heart rate, hold more tension in their muscles and report a feeling of being out of control.

The same study also reported that when the participants were asked to imagine forgiving whoever had hurt them, they felt more positive and relaxed, thus changing some of the physiological results of holding a grudge. In addition, other studies have shown that forgiveness can improve psychological well-being.

According to Katherine Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at the Mayo Clinic, everyone experiences some kind of hurt, sadness or betrayal in their life. Many people are able to move past hurtful experiences, but other times the hurt and devastation run so deep that people hold onto feelings of anger and revenge. When these feelings are able to run rapid in the mind and body, the negativity overpowers the positive aspects of the individual’s life and can consume them.

Often times, people who experience prolonged bouts of anger, resentment, and revenge toward another individual find themselves suffering in other areas of their life. For example, their grudge may begin to negatively impact their healthy relationships with other people, or increase their stress and anxiety level. In addition, people who hold onto anger and revengeful feelings may be more prone to alcohol and substance abuse.

One of the challenges of forgiveness is the belief that if you forgive the person who hurt you, then you are forgiving their actions. It’s important to remember that forgiveness is not the same thing as condoning someone’s actions. You can acknowledge the hurtful actions of the individual, but you can also remove the burden of revenge and anger, which ultimately frees you from the hurtful act.

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Please click HERE to see the rest of the article, including practical steps you can take to help you arrive at forgiveness.

And please click HERE to visit Truthbook's topical study of Urantia Book teachings about Forgiveness

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