There is now scientific evidence that forgiveness has health benefits. A new study, published in the journal "Harvard Women's Health Watch," has found that the old adage 'forgive (to) forget' not only makes you happier it also makes you healthier. The study found that forgiving people reduces stress, makes your heart rate improve and also keeps your blood pressure under control.
The researchers said that forgiveness reduces stress. They discovered that having a grudge can place the same strains that tense muscles, elevated blood pressure, increased sweating have on your body. They also said that the heart will benefit if you are able to forgive. A study found a link between forgiving and improvements in heart rate and blood pressure.
Wow. So, apart from the spiritual benefits for me, there are great physical benefits too. I can reduce my stress levels allowing me to live a healthier and happier life. Taking back control from the person who hurt me, gives me the power to control of reducing factors that could have detrimental health and psychological impact to my well being.
Stress has both short and long term consequences. According BUPA, short-term consequences of stress:
Causes a number of unpleasant effects. These include physical symptoms, such as rapid tiredness, headaches, digestive problems and muscle tension.
Can also cause emotional and behavioral symptoms, such as disturbed sleep patterns, low self-esteem, mood swings, anxiety and poor concentration.
That is not all, although debated by experts, the long-term effects of stress can take a toll ones health, increasing the risk of serious physical and mental problems. Some such problems include:
A heart attack or an attack of angina
Increased risk of stroke
More likely to develop high blood pressure (otherwise known as hypertension) if you are under a lot of stress, which is a risk factor for heart disease
Likelihood of developing depression and other mental health problems
You decide, is all of those problems worth hanging on to the hurt. I don’t know about you, but I think I am going to crank up the forgetting part of the “forgive to forget” duo. The potential health issues are not worth it!Relationship Benefits
The process also helps us with our relationships with other people. Sometimes because we hang on to different incidents, we treat others around us with this fear that others will do the same thing to us, creating an atmosphere of distrust. I totally agree that one should use caution at all times and not just run headlong into hurt. However, we should not allow the past to enslave us, but rather learn from it and allow ourselves to live.
Our friends and family around us will welcome our new attitude with open arms. Imagine the refreshing feeling you feel when someone one does not judge you on the basis of past incidents unrelated to you. Not holding them above your head, but rather giving you a clean slate to be the person you are. We tend hold on to bad memories from past relationships developing what we call “baggage”. As we move from relationship to relationships where people may have hurt us, we add more and more to our baggage collection. Forgiving to forget allows us to rid ourselves of this baggage, allowing us to make and maintain healthy relationships.