The health benefits of forgiveness

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Letting go of anger and bitterness can work wonders for both your attitude and your health, but it can be a difficult thing to do. Today is Global Forgiveness Day and the perfect time to start thinking about letting go of something that has been eating away at you for a long time. It’s up to you to forgive, and it’s up to you how you choose to do that. But knowing what benefits forgiveness can bring to you as a person, might just help spur you on.

 It lowers your stress levels – according to studies carried out in recent years, the benefits of forgiveness include lowering the amounts of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.

It actually lowers physical pain as well as emotional pain. It is believed that holding grudges or grievances can show up as a physical ache. In fact, research in one particular study showed that of 61 subjects suffering from chronic back pain, those who were more likely to forgive experienced lower levels of pain.

It helps keep your heart healthy. People with high stress levels and those who hold grudges for long periods of time, actually have higher heart rates, while people who are more empathetic and have the ability to forgive, have lower heart rates.

It lowers blood pressure. Higher stress levels can increase your risk of heart disease so it’s important to make your life as stress free as possible. Holding a grudge or holding on to anger won’t get you anywhere, but forgiving and letting go of some of that emotion that makes you feel bad, won’t assist in keeping you healthy.

It will help you live longer. If you’re already lowering your blood pressure and keeping your heart healthy, as well as alleviating physical pain, you’re adding years on to your life. It might be difficult and sometimes talking to a professional will help you learn to forgive in your own way, but if you’re holding on to grievances or grudges, you’re hurting yourself more than anyone.

There’s a famous quote by a theologist that reads, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you.” We think he was on to something.