Can our ability to practice forgiveness really have an impact on our health?
Many studies show that it absolutely can and the benefits are great!
Holding a grudge has often been likened to drinking poison and expecting the person who wronged you to become ill, when in fact, if we are unable to let go of wrongs and move on, we ourselves become the ones who suffer.
Holding grudges and feelings of hurt almost always feels justified but this can lead to anger and bitterness that can spill over into new relationships. We can become so wrapped up in how we were wronged that we are unable to enjoy the present. Unforgiveness can also lead to anxiety, depression, feeling as though your life has no meaning and putting positive connections, with people who love you, at risk.
Thankfully, this is not the end of the road! This is an area of our lives where we get to decide which path we take. We have a choice to make. Hold on to hurt or hold on to hope. As detrimental as unforgiveness is to our health, the converse is also true! We are not defined by our past but by our choices.
Forgiveness, although not always easy, is always to our benefit. People who practice forgiveness enjoy healthier relationships, improved mental health, less anxiety, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, a stronger immune system, improved heart health and improved self-esteem to name but a few!
It is often helpful to write a letter to the person who hurt you, even if that letter is never delivered. The act of writing about your journey to forgiveness can bring healing and help you let go in a very tangible way.
Lets be kind to ourselves and practice forgiveness, our mental health deserves it.