People who can forgive others are happier and healthier. They look at forgiveness as their gift to themselves.
It’s not about letting the person who wronged you off the hook. It’s more about letting go of any negative thoughts and emotions. It’s about enjoying living and having hope rather than always living in distress and dismay.
It’s about giving you peace of mind and enjoying a sense of strength and resilience.
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.
Sure, you go through the stages and all. But you just keep dwelling on the betrayal rather than letting go and moving on.
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 actually what forgiveness is not 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. You have to start forgiving the person for your own selfish reasons.
- 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.
They may not even know you’ve forgiven them. And it really shouldn’t matter if they know or not. What matters is that you let go of any toxic feelings and thoughts related to the event and the person, including:
- Boost Your Physical Health
Here are some of the ways forgiving 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 this means that the person who wronged them will win in the end. They feel that if they forgive, they’ll be weak and maybe even 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.
- Improve Your Mental Wellbeing
Forgiveness can improve your mental health.
Lower Stress Levels
When you’re constantly focusing on the events of the past, you’ll always be on high alert. Cortisol levels will spike forcing adrenaline to run through your system 24/7. That’s no way to live.
Slowly, but surely, you’ll notice you’re not as anxious and stressed out as you used to be. You’ll even stop having those panic attacks you used to get throughout the day.
Feel More Empathy
Why not try to replace those negative thoughts with more positive ones? You’ll start feeling more hopeful and even gain a bit of understanding as to why that person did what they did.
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’re coming from and you’re at peace with it.
It makes what they did hurt a bit less. And forgiving them becomes a tad bit easier.
- 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 get a better grasp of your present moment, you need to live it to the fullest. That can only be done if you’re open about your emotions and thoughts.
One way to do that is by journaling or drawing. Another way is to join support groups or therapy. Yoga, mindfulness, and other meditation techniques are also powerful tools. They can help you release toxic memories of the past and focus more on your present.
Tell yourself that you’re the hero of your story. No one can save you but you.
That kind of confidence and self-esteem can help you realize how strong you really are. Recognize that you’re resilient enough and strong enough to handle anything life brings your way.
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.
So, take it one day at a time and don’t pressure yourself. As long as you put in the effort, you’ll get there eventually.
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