Still upset with your boss for not including you in an important meeting? Still annoyed at your brother for scheduling a family reunion when you couldn’t come? Your body may be suffering too! Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that people who practice forgiveness experienced fewer feelings of anger, resentment, depression—and fewer aches and pains. “Our emotions, muscle tension, and thoughts can directly influence the strength of our pain signals,” explains researcher James W. Carson, Ph.D.
Grudges are not only bad for us physically, they don’t do much for us emotionally either. They hurt us way more than they hurt the person we are angry with. Start the process of giving up a grudge by setting an intention to do so. Encourage even the smallest feelings of forgiveness, and replace negative thoughts with reasons to let go. Ask yourself: How does it help me to hold onto this anger? Chances are you will come up short of a good answer.
We want to hear from you: What happens when you tried replacing anger and resentment with forgiveness? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.
7/12/2016 09:20:10 am
I totally agree with the comments about how harmful not being able to forgive is to our well-being. The person that is being hurt the most often is the one who holds the grudge. The difficulty in life is truly being able to forgive. There is a balance of forgiving versus remembering so we don't get hurt again. For me, there is a powerful difference between expressing forgiveness and truly living forgiveness. Thank you for the excellent tip of replacing negative thoughts with reasons to let go. Perhaps putting it on paper through journaling would further help this process.
7/12/2016 10:49:49 am
Thanks for this insight, Steve. I find really compelling your distinction between 'expressing forgiveness' and 'truly living forgiveness' and would be most interested if you come up with ways to make that happen. Perhaps expressing forgiveness is a beginning point, and a necessary step to truly living it.
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