Our feelings can greatly influence our overall health and well-being, especially when experiencing negative emotions.
Therefore, you should try to eliminate them from your head and thus protect your health. Namely, feelings like resentment, regretfullness, or often evocation of bad memories can reflect negatively on your body, and if this is happening frequently it can lead to serious long-term diseases.
The efficient way to get rid of all these negative emotions is the forgiveness. This is not a sign of weak character or submission, but it is in fact a trait of strong personalities.
According to the Greater Good Science Center: “psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.”
Forgiveness is not one time decision but a process and because of that there is a distinction between decisional forgiveness and emotional forgiveness.
Here it is how experts explain this distinction:
“Decisional forgiveness is a behavioral intention to resist an unforgiving stance and to respond differently toward a transgressor. Emotional forgiveness is the replacement of negative unforgiving emotions with positive other-oriented emotions. Emotional forgiveness involves psycho physiological changes, and it has more direct health and well-being consequences.”
As per a released study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine having a forgiving personality is associated with better well-being.
Many other studies confirm the relation between forgiveness and better sleep quality, reduced fatigue, enhanced physical symptoms, less use of medicines and somatic complaints.
Showing forgiveness promotes heart health as per a released study in the American Journal of Cardiology. Namely, forgiveness displays a more cardio protective profile, and anger and other negative emotions show cardio toxic effects. Here it is what researchers have come to conclude:
“These findings suggest that interventions aimed at decreasing anger while increasing forgiveness may be clinically relevant.”
Further researching was performed on the influence of negative emotions on the body, one of it was the research done at the Hope College’s Psychology Department which involved 35 female and 36 male participants. These participants reminded themselves of all the hurtful memories and grudges, and in those moments the researchers analyzed their facial muscle tension, heart rate, blood pressure, and the activity of sweat glands.
After evoking those experiences, the researchers asked the participants to visualize offering forgiveness towards the people who caused them these feelings, and it was revealed that “forgiving thoughts prompted greater perceived control and comparatively lower physiological stress responses.”
It was confirmed that experiencing negative emotions elevates the stress response and stimulates the production of sweat. On the other hand, forgiveness relaxes their facial muscles, and reduces blood pressure.
They have come to the following conclusion: “…chronic unforgiving responses may erode health whereas forgiving responses may enhance it.”
Plus, Dr. Steven Standiford, who is a chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, maintains that not offering forgiveness to the people who have harmed you leads to an illness. Moreover, unforgiveness is classified as a disease in medical books. Here it is what he additionally states:
“It’s important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone’s reactions to the treatments, even someone’s willingness to pursue treatment”.
According to the renowned Dr. Michael Barry, an author of the book The Forgiveness Project, showing forgiveness can contribute to cancer prevention. He reported that about 61% of cancer patients have problems with granting forgiveness. He elaborates more specifically:
“Harboring these negative emotions, these anger and hatred, create a state of chronic anxiety. Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer.”
Hence, each person needs to learn to let go the painful memories, and try to accept that we are all human beings prone to making mistakes. Therefore, try to leave everything that is negative behind and move on so that you can enjoy every day in health and well-being.