Some of you are probably saying, “how can forgiveness make me healthier”, but guess what, it can. Crazy right? I know, but hear me out. Believe it or not, the lack of being able to forgive someone or something has the possibility of negatively impact your mental health which in turn, negatively impact your physical health.
Okay, let me break this down. First…
forgiveness is about acceptance. Forgiveness is NOT about saying you agree with what happened, or that what happened was right, but rather it is about the simple fact that you accept that it happened. And that you are okay with it, you came to terms with it because you know the past cannot be changed and you are ready to focus forward.
Once you get to this point where you let it go by forgiving, you can move on. Now, I know forgiveness is not always easy, but it is always possible. Why? Because everyone has the choice and the power in them to forgive. And forgiveness leads to healing and healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed, rather it means the damage no longer controls your life. In addition, as everyone has already heard, you forgive for yourself, not for them.
research has shown a positive correlation between forgiveness and health, both physical and mental. Everett Worthington and Loren Toussaint are two of many names which popped up when I was looking for research in this area. They also wrote a book called “Forgiveness and Health” back in 2015.
To sum up some of what I read from them, forgiveness is linked to decrease in anxiety, depression and major psychiatric disorder, as well as less physical health issues. Holding a grudge is connected with increase stress and as we all know; stress negatively impacts both our mental and physical health. Toussaint states "Forgiveness allows you to let go of the chronic interpersonal stressors that cause us undue burden."
Bob Enright, another name that kept popping up, has studied forgiveness for about 30 years. He reports grudges are also connected to toxic anger and letting go of anger relaxes your muscles, decreases anxiety, increases energy, and strengthen your immune system.
See where I am going with all this? The body and mind connection, it’s a powerful thing.
Now, how do you forgive someone. Well, that’s a whole different blog. However, I will say this, depending on what the original issue was which caused the resentment, it may be a good thing to get yourself a mental health counselor. They can help you with the process.
Side note: besides utilizing your insurance to find a therapist, check out if your company has an Employee Assistance Program, also known as an EAP. Many EAP programs have free counseling as part of it. Most programs offer an average of 3-12 free session. So, check that out.
Ok, back to forgiveness. I know I kept this blog brief with my information, especially considering how much is out there, but I hope it was at least enough to get you thinking. Is there anyone in your life that you can work on forgiving? How about yourself? Think about it…
If you have any questions for me, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or you can find me on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. You can also hear more information on my podcast: Body and Mind Strong found on most platforms.
Stay tuned for more blogs on helping you create a healthier, happier, stronger life for yourself and make sure you are doing at least one thing today that will get you one step closer to one of your goals. Have a great day!!
Renee Thomas is the founder of Body and Mind Strong who brings extensive experience, education and passion to help others achieve their goals and improve their lives. She has over 18 years of experience helping others achieve their goals in both healthcare, fitness and education environments. Renee is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer and Health Care Life coach, and recently obtained her Master's in Business Administration/Finance. In addition, she has helped others with behavior modification since 2008 as a master level Behavioral Health Counselor.