You know deep down in your heart that old grudge you’re white-knuckling is doing you no good. Now our dear friend science has come out with proof that grudges do our health real harm and forgiveness may just be the best medicine on the market.
As Time reports, a study recently published in the Journal of Health Psychology measured the effects of grudge-holding by asking 148 young adults questions about their abilities to forgive and forget via questionnaire.
Here’s what the researchers found out — if you live la vida stress, that anxiety and pressure is going to take a toll on your physical and emotional well-being. That’s not too surprising, I mean, have you met a truly stressed human? They’re not exactly a glowing picture of health.
Now here’s where things get most interesting — if you’re a person who is extremely forgiving of both yourself and other people for all flaws and mistakes, that saintly quality basically erases any effect of stress on your mental health. So not only is forgiveness medicine, it’s straight up magic.
“Forgiveness takes that bad connection between stress and mental illness and makes it zero,” study author Loren Toussaint, an associate professor of psychology at Luther College in Iowa told Time. “I think most people want to feel good and it offers you the opportunity to do that.”
Of course, this is all easier said than done. We lead complicated lives and we live in a complicated time and so many things happen in the world and within our own lives that feel difficult, if not impossible to forgive. That said, remember that the more kindness and empathy you can muster up, the healthier you’ll be.
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