The power of forgiveness can be life-changing. Certainly people who can forgive others are happier and healthier. They have come to realize the ways that forgiveness gives you peace of mind, and treat the practice as a gift to themselves.
It’s a gift to yourself because, truthfully, it’s not about letting the person who wronged you off the hook. Rather, it’s more about letting go of any negative thoughts and emotions that you have been harboring and allowing to fester. Letting such things go makes you happier and healthier.
Forgiveness allows you peace of mind and freedom.
4 Ways Forgiveness Gives You Peace Of Mind
When you’ve been hurt by someone, especially someone you love and trust, it can be devastating. Your heart seems to ache all the time and you just feel overpowering sadness or maybe anger.
Maybe you consciously feel like you have moved past the hurt. But you find yourself reliving the emotions or thinking about the incident long afterwards.
Many times the thing that holds people back from forgiving is misplaced anger. They feel like they’re letting the person off the hook. Yet, that’s not actually what forgiveness is about!
Fred Luskin, the founder of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects, says, “Forgiveness means that you don’t condone [the person’s behavior]. You know it’s wrong…but you choose to cleanse your heart. You don’t make excuses for the behavior. You just accept it and make peace.”
The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can decide to stop being the victim. Approach forgiving the person for your own mental and emotional health.
1. Release Toxic Emotions
The act of forgiving is a powerful tool that allows you to release negative feelings. It has nothing to do with whether the person who hurt you deserves it or not.
The offender may or may not even know you’ve forgiven them. That doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you let go of any toxic feelings and thoughts related to the event and the person, including:
Try this ho’oponopono method:
2. Boost Your Physical Health
Here are some of the ways forgiveness can improve your physical health.
A study carried out at John Hopkins University shows that forgiveness is tied to lower blood pressure. In addition, by choosing to forgive, you can lower levels of cholesterol.
When these go down, your risk for heart attacks and chronic cardiovascular diseases goes down. Likewise, you’ll be able to reduce your risk for certain types of cancers.
Quality Of Sleep
Moreover, the act of forgiving helps improve the quality of your sleep. The better you sleep, the better you’ll be at coping with life’s challenges.
Furthermore, a good night’s sleep helps boost your immune system health. Plus, it can strengthen your heart and improve cognitive functions.
Not only that, when you forgive, you’ll have fewer nightmares, which are usually brought on by feelings of grief and guilt.
Research shows that people who suffer from chronic pain have pent-up anger. Typically pent-up anger is a hallmark of those who hold on to grudges and resentments.
They feel like they’re victims who have been wronged and offended. So, they hold on to their resentment and grudges for as long as possible. They think forgiving them means that the person who wronged them will “win” in the end. They may feel that if they forgive, it means they are weak, and they may even harbor the concern (however illogical) that the culprit will think less of them.
The problem is that holding on to all those negative emotions tends to manifest in our joints and bones. That’s when we start suffering from chronic pains and aches (the mind-body connection is real).
3. Improve Your Mental Wellbeing
Forgiveness can improve your mental health.
Lower Stress Levels
When you’re constantly focusing on upsetting events of the past, you’re always be on “high alert.” Cortisol levels will spike forcing adrenaline to run through your system 24/7. That’s no way to live.
When you are able to forgive and let go of the disturbance, slowly, but surely, you’ll notice you’re not as anxious and stressed out as you had been. You might even stop having those panic attacks you used to get throughout the day.
Feel More Empathy
Empathy is a wonderful quality to have. As you strive to forgive wrongs you’ve experienced, you may gain a bit of understanding or empathy as to why someone did what they did. This may not always apply, but when it does, it lifts you up in spirit.
Understanding the other person’s perspective doesn’t mean what they did was okay or that you condone it. It simply means you get where they were coming from, you understand some of their own struggles, and you’re at peace with it.
It makes what they did hurt a bit less. And forgiving them becomes a tad bit easier.
4. Enjoy the Present
How many ‘todays’ do you have? Why waste your today ruminating over your resentments? Do yourself a favor and get some peace by forgiving. Keep in mind forgiving does not mean forgetting, it simply means to let go of the past, so you can be fully present in your present.
To live in the NOW, you have to process or release turmoil. That can only be done if you’re aware of your thoughts and emotions.
Journaling and drawing are helpful techniques for processing your inner life. Support groups or therapy can also be a big help. Yoga, mindfulness, and other meditation techniques powerful tools that can be practiced at home. All of these methods can help you release toxic memories of the past and focus more on your present.
In the end, you are responsible for your well-being. You are the hero of your story. No one can save you but you (maybe with some help, but you’re the main character). It’s your life. Choose HAPPY.
When you’re ready to take that path of forgiveness, make sure you take it for the right reasons. The most important one is to give yourself peace of mind and a sense of achievement.
Remember, you’re doing it as a gift to yourself. Forgiving is all about you and no one else.
Don’t pressure yourself. Be gentle as you work through things. You will get there in your own perfect time. 💗