Forgiveness Is Good For Us

Forgiveness is not easy. Humans, being the imperfect creatures we are, most of us are called upon to practice forgiveness at one time or another. There’s a new study that sheds light on why it is something we should do. It was conducted by Everett L. Worthington Jr. a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. He specializes in forgiveness and in how people reach it. He says how people become ready to forgive varies  but usually falls into two main categories, decisional forgiveness and emotional forgiveness. “you can experience a change in your emotions and then decide to forgive,” he explains, “Or you can decide to forgive first and experience those changes emotionally later on.” For people who are struggling  to forgive or may need a push to experience it  he suggests to be mindful of three evidence-based ways forgiveness  can benefit our health. Not being able to forgive invites feeling of hostility, anger and stress. While forgiveness is not the only way to deal with stress  and adversity, it is an effective way. Forgiveness is the opposite of the fight or flight response of the parasympathetic nervous system,  it is called the rest and digest response, it slows breathing and heart rate and ends up being good for heart health. Last but not least, forgiveness keeps us from ruminating. We all ruminate, but sometimes rumination can lead to a host of psychological issues such as depression,  obsessive disorders, anxiety, psychosomatic disorders.  ….And so even if and when it seems unfair, it is in our best interest to forgive.

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