The holidays are a time when many of us hope for peace on earth and goodwill among people. Yet many people struggle with letting go of hurt feelings, often to the detriment of their health.
Many scientific studies show how holding a grudge can damage health. For instance, a widely cited Emory University study found that, compared to more forgiving people, bitter people had higher blood pressure and were more likely to die from heart disease.
Why is this? If there’s someone who has hurt you or wronged you in some way, and you haven’t forgiven them, your stress level will inevitably be greater than it should be, putting more strain on your heart, as well as your circulatory and immune systems – your whole body.
When we withhold forgiveness from someone who has hurt us, we may think that we are getting even or hurting that person, but nothing could be further from the truth. What we are really doing is hurting ourselves.
On the other hand, when we learn to let go and forgive others, we experience greater peace, calm, hope, gratitude, and joy – all of which can improve our physical health as well as our emotional outlook. According to the Mayo Clinic, some benefits of forgiving others include:
- Improved mental health.
- Less anxiety, stress, and hostility.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Fewer symptoms of depression.
- A stronger immune system.
- Improved heart health.
- Improved self-esteem.
- Healthier relationships.
Learning to forgive is one of the top things you can do to reduce stress in your life! However, sometimes we feel we are not ready to forgive. Other times we may want to forgive, but still struggle with feelings of anger and resentment. But when you recognize that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself to improve your health, that can help make it easier.
Say someone has done something truly horrible that seems impossible for you to forgive. This is where you have power to do something meaningful that can be life-changing, especially for yourself! Here are three simple steps you can take make forgiveness stick:
Write a letter to yourself or another person you need to forgive. It helps you express angst and negativity that might be in your soul about yourself or another person, even if you don't mail the letter.
Burn the letter. Take the letter outside and light it with a match, burn it up, and send it out to the universe. That can really help you to let go and forgive.
Speak Forgiveness. This can be telling yourself or another person that you truly have forgiven yourself or the one who wronged you. This helps seal the forgiveness.
Often achieving true forgiveness takes time and practice. Here are some additional steps you can take to foster forgiveness in your daily life:
- Strive for a state of acceptance and understanding of others, despite their negative behavior or difficult nature. None of us are perfect and we all have reasons for acting the way we do. Recognize that the higher path of the spirit is to be at peace with the universe and with all our fellow beings.
- Don't forget to go easy on yourself: How many times have you chastised yourself for making a poor decision, lashing out at others, being clumsy, or running late for a meeting? Most mistakes we make won't affect us in the long run. In fact, by recognizing the value in our own folly, we can learn some of life's most valuable lessons!
- Choose Positive Emotions: You are the pilot of your own course in life, and you can choose to make intelligent and balanced decisions. When you find yourself automatically being guided toward the emotion of anger, for example, wait a few seconds and ask yourself if it would better serve you to change course. The ability to choose more positive emotions is something all of us have, but it's like a muscle that needs regular exercise in order to serve us best. When you focus on flexing this muscle, you will learn to become more patient and your emotions will enhance your life instead of controlling it. This can also help you maintain healthy boundaries.
- Release Emotional Baggage: You can lower your stress level by getting clear on the underlying causes of negative emotional choices and nagging, negative thoughts. Learn to get rid of this emotional baggage by visiting www.EmotionCodeGift.com.
Keep these tips handy and turn to them when someone says or does something that offends you. By actively choosing to forgive others, we can improve our health, relationships, and outlook, both now and in the year to come.
About Dr. Bradley Nelson: Veteran holistic physician Dr. Bradley Nelson is one of the world’s foremost experts in the emerging fields of Bioenergetic Medicine and Energy Psychology. He has certified thousands of practitioners worldwide in helping people overcome unresolved anger, depression, anxiety, loneliness and other negative emotions and the physical symptoms associated them. His best-selling book, "The Emotion Code," provides step-by-step instructions for working with the body's healing power. For more information and a free Emotion Code Starter Kit, visit www.emotioncodegift.com.
Author and international lecturer in bio-energetic medicine and energy psychology, Dr. Brad has successfully used The Emotion Code with thousands of patients around the globe to relieve symptoms and often effect cures in conditions ranging from depression to cancer. His best-selling book, The [...]