Forgiveness, health benefits

Forgiveness – Health Benefits.

Granting forgiveness or harbouring grudges:

Implications for emotion, physiology, and health.
vanOyen Witvliet C, Ludwig TE, Vander Laan KL. Psychology Department, Hope College, Holland, MI 49422-9000, USA. witvliet@hope.edu

Interpersonal offenses frequently mar relationships. Theorists have argued that the responses victims adopt toward their offenders have ramifications not only for their cognition, but also for their emotion, physiology, and health.

This study examined the immediate emotional and physiological effects that occurred when participants (35 females, 36 males) rehearsed hurtful memories and nursed grudges (i.e., were unforgiving) compared with when they cultivated empathic perspective taking and imagined granting forgiveness (i.e., were forgiving) toward real-life offenders.

Unforgiving thoughts prompted more aversive emotion, and significantly higher corrugator (brow) electromyogram (EMG), skin conductance, heart rate, and blood pressure changes from baseline. The EMG, skin conductance, and heart rate effects persisted after imagery into the recovery periods.

Forgiving thoughts prompted greater perceived control and comparatively lower physiological stress responses. The results dovetail with the psychophysiology literature and suggest possible mechanisms through which chronic unforgiving responses may erode health whereas forgiving responses may enhance it.

PMID: 11340919 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

2 Responses to “Forgiveness, health benefits”

  • At last, at the age of 55, I was able to forgive my perpetrators of abuse. Now, I have realized who I am, and who God is (Meher Baba). Now I am in heaven, and nothing on this earth can shake that.

    I am bipolar one, and have successfully migrated through my spiritual emergency. I now est and relax and try to help other bipolar sufferers.

    Thanks for letting me post.

    Thanks Meher Baba

    Namaste,
    Greg (Jeggsey)

    • admin:

      Thanks Greg. I find it easier to forgive when I understand why my adversary behaved badly towards me. It appears the first step in the forgiveness process is understanding. It certainly makes it easier.

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