Forgiveness has a powerful life all of its own. While in the short term you might feel a fleeting sense of pleasure in getting revenge on someone who has wronged you. You may feel that you have been hurt and wronged so badly that you never want to forgive. Think about it rationally, do you really want to hold onto that burden? Please take a look at all the miracles in store for you and others that become unwrapped with forgiveness.
Thoughts and actions do have consequences not only for the other party, but in particular for you yourself. Not letting go, and clinging onto anger, resentment and bitterness, in the long term has a very detrimental physical impact. Forgiveness, on the other hand, can lead to improved physical and mental health and a better quality of life.
Mayo Clinic research
The leading research hospital in the United States, the Mayo Clinic, has found that forgiving others can have the following results:
● Lower blood pressure
● Improved heart health
● Improved self-esteem
● Improved mental health
● Reduced anxiety, stress and hostility
● Create healthy relationships
● Reduced symptoms of depression
● Enhanced immunity
Forgiveness has a positive effect on the body’s cardiovascular health, mind, and immune system.
Forgiveness improves cardiovascular disease
A study by Florida State University finds that forgiveness lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Liu Boren, an expert in genetic nutrition and functional medicine and the director of the Cobot Clinic, explained that hypertension is one of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Stabilizing blood pressure is a major factor in reducing the risk of this disease.
Those who naturally tend toward being forgiving individuals have less hardening and stenosis of the coronary arteries, carotid arteries, and cerebral blood vessels. On the contrary, those who are often angry and confrontational tend to have elevated blood pressure and hardened arteries, both of which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In other words, forgiveness is good for cardiovascular health.
Liu Boren said: “If you do things with a calm and gentle attitude, don’t be overly indignant, don’t always look at others as unpleasant, then you will give others a chance, and also give yourself a chance to maintain your cardiovascular system.”
He has seen many examples of this in his clinical experience over the years.
A woman was verbally abused by her husband every day for over 20 years. She endured the marriage for the sake of her children. When she arrived at Liu’s clinic for treatment, he found that her autonomic nervous system was severely imbalanced, as she presented with high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression.
Liu offered her the following suggestion: “Try to forgive him. Forget about his immature behavior and focus on his strengths, even if they are only small.” The patient also started to practice abdominal breathing every day along with meditation and a diet designed to control high blood pressure.
After three months of treatment, her blood pressure returned to normal and she was able to reduce her sedative medication from three tablets a night to half a tablet. Her husband had also learned abdominal breathing and meditation, and his behavior improved.
Forgiveness improves anxiety and depression
The effects of forgiveness on the body and mind are interlinked. Anxiety can affect sleep, and poor sleep can cause many health problems, including cardiovascular disease, but forgiveness can relieve anxiety and depression. A Turkish study published in the Journal of Religion and Health in 2017 found that “forgiveness is associated with a reduction in depression.”
Liu Boren said that people who are unable to forgive others often end up disturbing their own mood, causing autonomic nervous disorder, which in turn affects sleep and mood, and causes insomnia and anxiety. People who forgive others easily have a better quality of sleep.
In addition, if the quality of sleep is good, it is easy for people to enter the deep sleep period and secrete sufficient melatonin and growth hormone at night, which is beneficial for cardiovascular maintenance. On the contrary, staying up late over a long period of time or not sleeping well will decrease hormone secretion and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Forgiveness improves hormones
A newly married young woman presented with symptoms of anxiety and severe atopic dermatitis. She confided to the doctor that her husband constantly lost things like his toothbrush and the toothpaste, his dirty underwear, his keys, and so on. She was upset that she hadn’t known about this issue before getting married and it was causing her a great deal of stress.
Liu gave her the following advice: “Now that you’re married, you should look at each other’s strengths. You constantly see and complain about your husband’s shortcomings. He might see all of yours, but he doesn’t say anything about them.”
The young wife took his advice to heart and started to look for her husband’s strengths and kindnesses. Soon, her atopic dermatitis decreased, her menstrual cycle returned to normal, and she fell pregnant not long after. She told Liu that after turning a blind eye to her husband’s shortcomings, she found a lot of reasons to be happy, and her mood became much more peaceful.
Forgiveness helped this young lady to reduce her stress hormones, which improved her overall physical health. Changing her mind helped to condition her body. Communication with her husband improved, which led to a happier marriage and better physical health.
Translated by Patty Zhang