Forgiving those who have wronged us is something we know we should do, but few of us are eager to actually put that into practice. But it turns out that holding grudges can be bad for our health, and we should learn to let go because forgiveness is good for our health. Here’s how to forgive and why.
What is forgiveness, exactly? It involves letting the person who wronged us “off the hook,” and not expecting anything in return. It means letting go of any resentment and bitterness and choosing inner peace instead.
It doesn’t mean that you are saying what the other person did or said was right or acceptable. When you forgive, you are not excusing the way you were wronged. Forgive for your own sake and health, not for anyone else’s sake or to please anyone else.
Why Forgiveness Is Good for Your Well-Being
Forgiving others is the right thing to do for many reasons. One of these involves health: A “side effect” of forgiveness is improved well-being. The benefits include:
- Better heart health
- Decreased blood pressure
- Improved immune system
- Better moods and reduced depression symptoms
- Less anxiety
The benefits of forgiving other people go well beyond those that improve physical, mental and emotional health. Practicing forgiveness also strengthens relationships and can lead to higher levels of self-esteem. Joy, peace and hope increase.
Moving Toward Forgiveness
It’s important to forgive, so the next step is learning how to forgive. This means actively deciding to forgive someone, not waiting until you “feel” like forgiving. This also involves letting go and not trying to control the situation. Reminding yourself of the benefits of forgiveness, makes it easier to forgive and move forward.
Finally, remember that there will probably be times when you need to forgive yourself. Be gentle, gracious and forgiving with yourself too.A healthy lifestyle involves mindful of what you’re eating but don’t forget about what’s eating at you. Practice forgiveness each and every day.
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Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.