The healing power of forgiveness: forgiveness is divine--and new research shows that it's also good for your health!
You're boiling with rage. Even thinking about that witch of a co-worker is upset ting--and there she is, flaunting herself like a diva on American Idol. She's been your nemesis from the moment she joined the staff, despite your best efforts to be cordial. Arrogant, unpleasant, underhanded--she's lured away clients, and you know she's the source of recent rumors about you. You find yourself daydreaming about ways to get even. Forgive her? Forget it!
How many of us are prepared to forgive a backstabbing colleague, an unfaithful partner, neglectful parents or even the rude jerk who hogged the treadmill this morning? Let's face it: Persistent unforgiveness is part of human nature--but it also appears to work to the terrible detriment of our health. Learn why forgiveness helps your health and what you need to do in order to forgive.
Although popular opinion equates "forgiving" with "letting those no-good rotten #!%*s off the hook," mounting evidence reveals that the people who can forgive are the ones who receive the real rewards. In fact, recent research shows that the physical and mental health benefits of forgiveness can be startling, regardless of age, gender or even the most unimaginable hurts, such as severe sexual abuse or a child's murder.
In study after study, results indicate that people who are forgiving tend to have not only less stress but also better relationships, fewer general health problems and lower incidences of the most serious illnesses--including depression, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Why? "Because not forgiving--nursing a grudge--is so caustic" says Fred Luskin, PhD, a health psychologist at Stanford University and author of Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness (HarperCollins 2002). "It raises your blood pressure, depletes immune function, makes you more depressed and causes enormous physical stress to the whole body."
A Hot Field in Clinical Psychology
With more than 1,200 published studies--up from 58 as recently as 1997--forgiveness research is a relatively new and exciting field that, along with other mind-body research, is encouraging a fundamental shift away from treatment of disease to focusing on the positive aspects of human nature as a basis for healing....