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An Overlooked Way To Good Health. New Discoveries Made By Psychologists Concerning A 2,000 Year Christian Principle.

Forgiveness: Jesus encouraged this in His Counsel To Us And In The Life He Lived Among Us 33 Years. It Is Probably Taken To Be A Religious Exercise By Most People Who Have Not Experienced It. However, The Grace And Freedom Found In Forgiveness Is Not Limited To Christians. In Fact, I Have Known A Few To Be Unforgiving, Who Do Not Reflect Jesus’ Manner. Psychologists Are Excited With The Newfound  Discovery That Forgiveness Benefits Our Health – Mentally, Emotionally And Even Physically. They Are Recording Good Results, Sometimes Surprising.

These Days, Neuroscientists Tell Us That Unhealthy Attitudes – With Emotions That Accompany Them – Can Make You Sick, Mentally Or Physically. So The Positive Is That Letting Go Of Unforgiveness Can Bring Healing And Sometimes Peace, Letting Go Of Anger Can Restore Your Joy Or Even Relieve Depression, Letting Go Of Resentment Has Been Known To Ease Symptoms Of Arthritis Etc. Why Not Read These Two Articles I Found On The Net Recently? This Principle If Practiced Could Be A Good Asset To Your Health, Your Family And Friendships.

Why Should You Forgive Someone? Though Not A Favourite Topic To Some Of Us,  In The Positive Sense, You May Find Some Real Clues For Better Health Reading This Post.

Some of you may like to read what I have written after the articles - it may be a lighter approach for you. I trust this Post brings Encouragement to many.

Forgiveness: Your Health Depends on It

From Hopkins Medical Center

Whether it’s a simple spat with your spouse or long-held resentment toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict can go deeper than you may realize—it may be affecting your physical health. The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.

“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.

Can You Learn To Be More Forgiving?

Forgiveness is not just about saying the words. “It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not,” Swartz says. As you release the anger, resentment and hostility, you begin to feel empathy, compassion and sometimes even affection for the person who wronged you.

Studies have found that some people are just naturally more forgiving. Consequently, they tend to be more satisfied with their lives and to have less depression, anxiety, stress, anger and hostility. People who hang on to grudges, however, are more likely to experience severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other health conditions. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t train themselves to act in healthier ways. In fact, 62 percent of American adults say they need more forgiveness in their personal lives, according to a survey by the nonprofit Fetzer Institute.

Making Forgiveness Part of Your Life

Forgiveness is a choice, Swartz says. “You are choosing to offer compassion and empathy to the person who wronged you.” The following steps can help you develop a more forgiving attitude—and benefit from better emotional and physical health.

Reflect and remember.

That includes the events themselves, and also how you reacted, how you felt, and how the anger and hurt have affected you since.

Empathize with the other person.

For instance, if your spouse grew up in an alcoholic family, then anger when you have too many glasses of wine might be more understandable, says Swartz.

Forgive deeply.

Simply forgiving someone because you think you have no other alternative or because you think your religion requires it may be enough to bring some healing. But one study found that people whose forgiveness came in part from understanding that no one is perfect were able to resume a normal relationship with the other person, even if that person never apologized. Those who only forgave in an effort to salvage the relationship wound up with a worse relationship.

Let go of expectations.

An apology may not change your relationship with the other person or elicit an apology from her. If you don’t expect either, you won’t be disappointed.

Decide to forgive.

Once you make that choice, seal it with an action. If you don’t feel you can talk to the person who wronged you, write about your forgiveness in a journal or even talk about it to someone else in your life whom you trust.

Forgive yourself.

The act of forgiving includes forgiving yourself. For instance, if your spouse had an affair, recognize that the affair is not a reflection of your worth, says Swartz.


Immune response: How your immune system recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses, toxins and other harmful substances. A response can include anything from coughing and sneezing to an increase in white blood cells, which attack foreign substances.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A disorder in which your “fight or flight,” or stress, response stays switched on, even when you have nothing to flee or battle. The disorder usually develops after an emotional or physical trauma, such as a mugging, physical abuse or a natural disaster. Symptoms include nightmares, insomnia, angry outbursts, emotional numbness, and physical and emotional tension.

Article Source HERE

Forgiveness Can Improve Mental And Physical Health. Research Shows How To Get There.

An Article From The American Psychological Association

Everett Worthington, PhD, had been studying forgiveness for nearly a decade when he was faced with the worst possible opportunity to put his research to the test: His mother’s life was taken in a home invasion. Though police were confident they'd identified the perpetrator, the man was never prosecuted. There was no justice. But despite the tragic nature of that loss, it didn't mean forgiveness was off the table.

"I had applied the forgiveness model many times, but never to such a big event," says Worthington, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. "As it turned out, I was able to forgive the young man quite quickly."

Worthington hardly describes himself as a superstar forgiver, however. Developing the skill  took years of practice, he says. "I had a professor in graduate school who gave me a B, and it took me 10 years to forgive that guy."

Whether you've suffered a minor slight or a major grievance, learning to forgive those who hurt you can significantly improve both psychological well-being and physical health.

"Forgiveness is a topic that's psychological, social and biological," he adds. "It's the true mind-body connection."

What Is Forgiveness?

Many people think of forgiveness as letting go or moving on. But there's more to it than that, says Bob Enright, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who pioneered the study of forgiveness three decades ago. True forgiveness goes a step further, he says, offering something positive—empathy, compassion, understanding—toward the person who hurt you. That element makes forgiveness both a virtue and a powerful construct in positive psychology.

Outside scientific circles, many people are a bit confused about the concept.

One common but mistaken belief is that forgiveness means letting the person who hurt you off the hook. Yet forgiveness is not the same as justice or does it require reconciliation, Worthington explains. A former victim of abuse shouldn't reconcile with an abuser who remains potentially dangerous, for example. But the victim can still come to a place of empathy and understanding. "Whether I forgive or don't forgive isn't going to affect whether justice is done," Worthington says. "Forgiveness happens inside of me."

Another misconception is that forgiving someone is a sign of weakness. "To that I say, well, the person must not have tried it," says Worthington.

And there may be very good reasons to make the effort. Research has shown that forgiveness is linked to mental health outcomes such as reduced anxiety, depression and major psychiatric disorders, as well as with fewer physical health symptoms and lower death rates. In fact, researchers have amassed enough evidence of the benefits of forgiveness to fill a book; Toussaint, Worthington and David R. Williams, PhD, edited a 2015 book, "Forgiveness and Health," that detailed the physical and psychological benefits.

Toussaint and Worthington suggest that stress relief is probably the chief factor connecting forgiveness and well-being. "We know chronic stress is bad for our health," Toussaint says. "Forgiveness allows you to let go of the chronic interpersonal stressors that cause us undue burden."

While stress relief is important, Enright believes there are other important mechanisms by which forgiveness works wonders. One of those, he suggests, is "toxic" anger. "There's nothing wrong with healthy anger, but when anger is very deep and long lasting, it can do a number on us systemically," he says. "When you get rid of anger, your muscles relax, you're less anxious, you have more energy, your immune system can strengthen."

In one meta-analysis, for example, Yoichi Chida, MD, PhD, found that anger and hostility are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, and poorer outcomes for people with existing heart conditions (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2009).

Forgiveness can also help rebuild self-esteem, Enright adds. "When people are beaten down by injustice, you know who they end up not liking? Themselves," he says. "When you stand up to the pain of what happened to you and offer goodness to the person who hurt you, you change your view of yourself."

Putting In The Effort

As with any human trait, some people are naturally more forgiving than others. Worthington has found in his research that more forgiving types tend to have higher levels of agreeableness and lower levels of neuroticism. People who have a tendency to ruminate are generally less quick to forgive, since they are more likely to hold onto grudges or hurt feelings. People who have a religious faith also seem to have an upper hand in forgiving.

Being forgiving can pay off, as Toussaint and colleagues found in a study exploring the relationship among stress, psychological well-being and forgiveness. They found, as expected, that people who had greater levels of accumulated lifetime stress exhibited worse mental health outcomes. But among the subset of volunteers who scored high on measures of forgiveness, high lifetime stress didn't predict poor mental health (Journal of Health Psychology, 2016). The power of forgiveness to erase that link was surprising, Toussaint says. "We thought forgiveness would knock something off the relationship [between stress and psychological distress], but we didn't expect it to zero it out," he says.

In another study, Toussaint followed participants for five weeks and measured how their levels of forgiveness ebbed and flowed. He found that when forgiveness rose, levels of stress went down. Reduced stress, in turn, led to a decrease in mental health symptoms (Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2016).

There's also good news for the grudge holders and revenge seekers of the world. With practice, most anyone can learn to be more forgiving. "You don't have to be the world's most forgiving person," Toussaint says. "If you work at it, it takes the edge off the stress and ultimately that helps you feel better."

Developing empathy is a good place to start. He says that journaling or expressive writing with the goal of being empathetic  can help. Angry about your boss's rude remark? Try to put yourself in his/her shoes. Maybe he/she's under a lot of pressure. The project isn't going as planned. I'm not always perfect. "Writing with an empathetic tone ... can nudge you into a more positive place," he says.

According to Toussaint’s research, many people give up too soon and conclude they're just not forgiving. He urges people to keep trying, even when it's hard. "A natural resurgence of unforgiving feelings is normal," he says. "It's like having a piece of cake during a diet. Just because you have a setback doesn't mean you're an unforgiving person."

Putting In The Time

Many people can benefit from self-directed efforts to boost forgiveness, Toussaint says. Psychologists can also offer more formal strategies to help people forgive.

Enright's forgiveness therapy process model  uses a 20-step system to move people through four phases: uncovering one's negative feelings about the offense, deciding to forgive, working toward understanding the offending person, and discovering empathy and compassion for him or her. Enright has shown this model is effective in various one-on-one interventions, including a study that showed it alleviated depression, anxiety and PTSD in women who have experienced spousal emotional abuse (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2006). "Through these cognitive exercises, they begin to see the other person as a wounded human being, as opposed to stereotyping them and defining them by their hurtful actions," Enright says.

Worthington's REACH Forgiveness model also aims to find compassion for the offender, through a five-step process that helps people address their hurt, find empathy for the person who hurt them, reach forgiveness and hold onto that forgiveness over time. His model has been applied more often in group settings.

Despite the differences in the interventions, both help to promote forgiveness and the mental health benefits that go along with it. In a meta-analysis of 54 forgiveness studies, Worthington found that both his and Enright's models helped people forgive and also improved their mental health (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2014). "There's a strong dose-response relationship between the amount of time people try to forgive and the amount of forgiveness they're successful at experiencing. It's all about the time spent," he says. "You run people through a six-hour group, not only do they forgive but they also reduce their levels of depression and anxiety."

Forgiveness is often an important feature in Couples Therapy, too, where betrayal and resentment frequently play starring roles, says Kristina Coop Gordon, PhD, a clinical psychologist who studies relationship dysfunction and Couples Therapy at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville.

Gordon's main practice In that context, often means couples have to face the hurt and betrayal, and address it head on so they feel safe enough to move on. That looking backward can be a departure from many popular psychotherapy models, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which tend to focus on the present, Gordon adds. But she believes it can sometimes be important to revisit the past in order to forgive and move forward. "Sometimes it's worthwhile to go back to historical events and process them on a deeper level, with couples and with individuals," she says. "If you're too focused on the present, you can forget about the past's influence in the present."

Despite the proven benefits of moving on, forgiveness can be a hard concept for some people to embrace. It can feel unfair to have to put in the effort to forgive when the other person was the one in the wrong. That's life, Enright says.

"Without our deserving it, we can experience injustices. The injury was unfair, the person who created it was unfair. But now we have a place for healing," he says.

Article Source HERE

Janets Comments

Have you heard the saying "not to let someone live in you rent free?" It's so true isn't it? Most of us have experienced that at some time. Jesus said a few things like "If you forgive someone's offenses, they are forgiven them (leave it there and you are free to live on); if you withhold forgiveness from them, they are retained (they cling and hinder your progress).” I asked Him how He forgives once and heard these words in my spirit "I cancel their debts and consider their misdeeds no more"........ at a later date I discovered two different bible verses with those same words (separately) that are collectively in those words He said to me.

He showed me that Forgiveness is a Choice we make, an Act of Will. Sometimes we trip over thinking "we have to Feel Nice about that person." That can be pretty confusing when someone has damaged you - a loved one or friend - mentally, physically or emotionally. Sometimes we can practice empathy, some cannot - it's helpful if you can, when empathy is warranted. Sometimes we need to keep cancelling the offenses for it to take effect, when they are deeply engrained into our thought processes. Usually it works straight away because you are not keeping them.

Also, some of us trip over the words "forgive and forget"........forgive often helps us to forget but not always (depends how deeply you've been affected). Forgetting is separate to forgiving - it's great when you experience both however memory is memory. It's a faculty we can't live without, sometimes we wish it would just dismiss all the bad, hey?

Neither let people who don't really deserve forgiveness trip you up because some actually don' isn't worth the hassle. You're doing this to keep your emotions clean and healthy. Unforgiveness can make us disturbed or even depressed in an ongoing basis - we wish to avoid that.

Sometimes unforgiveness can become more of a hassle than the offence made in the first place - it's just not worth it.

And I really must add some other words Jesus said here "to treat others as you wish to be treated" much needless pain is caused by the careless words and offenses of people around them in life. Sure, you may have had a really hard time - please don't give someone else a hard time just because, that's not being fair - you don't know how many offenses they've had before yours. I speak from experience. Find some other way of handling your emotions that would be far more beneficial for you, and those around you.

I really feel compassion for those who have had a difficult upbringing - not enough caring, love or attention. Some have had little interest shown in them. That has to affect you somehow, a little kindness goes a long way - some parents don't show this often enough. I may write about parents, children and upbringing soon. I believe this should be a community concern - there's too many kids aching on the inside and having no choice about who their parents should be.

In life, try to remember this when relating, and mixing with people in public: we don't know what kind of parents they had, mental conditioning and emotional hurdles to leap over. Not that it should be an excuse but it just helps you, so you are prepared for surprises. You will be caught off guard less often. It also helps with communications. Hope this helps.

Good wishes to all.

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