I recently did some research on the benefits of forgiveness. To say the least it was fascinating and eye-opening. It sometimes seems like forgiveness is a concept from biblical times but research suggests there is a myriad of health benefits to those who apply it in our daily lives. Here are all the physical and mental benefits you can reap by learning to forgive, all backed by medical research.
- Forgiving unconditionally could mean a longer lifespan
- It gets you out of that anger mode, the fight or flight mode which can have effects on blood pressure and heart rate.
- It helps your health across the board (including your sleep)
- Making amends helps you forgive yourself
- Your heart will thank you
- It could have immune system benefits
- It can strengthen your relationships after infidelity
- Being a forgiving person could protect against long term stress
This is not to say that forgiving someone is easy. Far from it. When someone has hurt us or those we care about, ill feelings can be quite overwhelming. It can make the pain and the injustice be foremost in our thoughts and lead us to believe that we have no choice but to seek vengeance. But there is a better way. It can be difficult to forgive someone the harm they have done to us, but when we do, we open ourhearts up to a much better and brighter future. No longer does someone else's actions control our course. When we forgive others, it frees us to choose how we will live our own lives. Forgiveness means that problems of the past no longer dictate our destinies and we can now focus on the future with love in our hearts.