I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they’re sorry and an even stronger person to forgive. – Yolanda Habid
Love cannot flourish between two individuals without forgiveness. Forgiveness cleans the heart and removes weight over it, making both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven happy, peaceful, and calm. It removes the feelings of guilt and shame.
Health Benefits of Forgiveness
Studies have shown a positive relationship with forgiveness and health, as far as physical and mental health are considered. Forgiveness reduces hostility and directly affects personality parts that are correlated with physical health. Additionally, those who practice this have more social support and less stressful marriages. Heart patients who are treated with therapy that includes forgiveness to reduce hostility have improved cardiac health compared to those who are treated with medicine alone. Overall, those who are more capable of forgiving have better perceived physical health.
On the other hand, unforgiveness has an effect on the immune system as it puts additional stress on an individual.
Here are more health benefits:
- Forgive makes you emotionally strong and reduces your level of anxiety and tension.
- Forgiveness improves your immune system and then improves your healing and fighting power with diseases better. In effect, you fall sick less often and maintain good health. You are less prone to get infections.
- Forgiveness reduces blood pressure and keeps it within normal limits. I have myself noticed this. After I forgave the one who cheated on me, I started having good sleep, a peaceful life, and normal blood pressure.
- Forgiveness normalizes the heart rate. Anxiety, guilt, and stress stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and elevates your heart rate, causing palpitations leading to further anxiety, insecurity, and stress. A lower heart rate makes you calm, less nervous and anxious. It also makes your heart tired. When the heart rate is reduced your palpitation disappears and you feel more peaceful and relaxed.
- Forgiveness improves your relationship with friends and family members, helping solve problems even at work. It improves your temperament and feeling of hospitality and reduces anger. Additionally, it helps you respond calmly and not violently to any comments made at you by your friends, colleagues or family members.
- Forgiveness improves self-esteem and reduces the incidence of depression. Holding a grudge by not forgiving can lead to anger, bitterness, stress, hostility and high blood pressure. Self-esteem improves one’s overall performance and success.
- Forgiveness eliminates negative feeling and increases positivity.
- It reduces the consumption of anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs, depression, and anxiety.
- Spirituality helps you forgive and forgiveness inclines you further towards spirituality, which is quite healthy.
- Forgiveness helps you live longer, adding more years to your life.
One has to train the mind to have positive and nontraumatic thoughts because without positive and hopeful thinking, we cannot practice forgiveness. Here, spirituality and faith come in to play the main roles. I feel that without spirituality, practicing forgiveness is difficult if not impossible. Forgiveness needs ‘Nirmal’ or ‘Pure’ heart, brain and soul. To have pure heart and soul, one has to have pure thoughts. A habit of forgiveness and positivity affects your mental and physical health by improving the functioning of the immune system, cardiovascular system, and nervous system and thereby improves your overall health and lifespan.
It is not easy to forgive. It’s easy to think about it, but difficult in practice. But it’s a natural human quality. Once someone, near and dear, cheated on me financially and it took me several years to forget that economic loss and forgive him.
Similarly, Paulo Coelho, the famous Brazilian philosopher, lyricist and novelist, once related an incident in his life. “One morning, going from Death Valley in California to Tuscon, Arizona, I made a mental list of everyone I thought I hated because they had hurt me. I went along pardoning them one by one and, six hours later, in Tuscon, my soul felt so light. My life had changed much for the better.”
Forgive Yourself Too
Usually, people forgive due to a feeling of guilt after doing something unjust. This feeling keeps them disturbed and snatches away the peace and happiness. After forgiving they feel relieved, happy, peaceful and stress-free. So you forgive others but at same time forgive yourself promising not to do the same mistake again. If you keep yourself cool then the idea to forgive will come much earlier in your mind than if you are angry