Forgiveness: Medicine for the Mind and the Body

The more we experience life, the more we appreciate the relationships we develop. We embrace new faces, love the familiar ones, and explore all the others in between. But with these relationships often comes rough waters and we find ourselves at a crossroads with the people we build those connections with. More often than not, we are able to find a direction when faced with hard circumstances. But, in those rare occasions when we are at a complete halt and incapable of moving forward, it can seem like the easiest decision is to leave the issues at the intersection without any intention of looking back. We forget the importance of forgiveness.

What happens when we leave unraveled relationships in the past without making an effort to fix what was broken? And how do our minds and bodies suffer when ties have been severed and forgiveness is stuck between our pride and our grief? What happens when we simply refuse to forgive?

A Lack of Fulfillment

It’s said that when we hold onto the past and allow ourselves to send issues and fear of confrontation down the rabbit hole of our subconscious, we are diminishing our ability to embrace happiness. The amount of room in our hearts to love and cherish will soon be taken over by the negativity of unresolved problems.

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While these negative feelings don’t surface on a daily basis, they are still plaguing our ability to embrace life and live in a happier and more caring environment. Our lives are incapable of being fulfilled if we hold onto anger and refuse forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Forgiving doesn’t necessarily mean condoning the actions of the past, it simply means allowing ourselves to move on feeling free of any detest in our hearts.

Constant Sense of Regret

Regret is the elephant in the room when our lives are ascending in positivity. It inhibits our ability to be truly happy and forces our minds to the past when we should be embracing the now and the near future. Regret is a road block to embracing the life we live and the choices we have made. Holding on to something that once hurt us will only fester and create pain where pain is not necessary.

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A sense of endless regret comes with the inability to forgive. It will always be there on the shoulder of our pride, eating away at our capability of moving forward. Don’t live to regret leaving important relationships in shambles. While it may seem harder to rebuild and reconnect, it’s a lot easier than living with the distress of wondering “what could have been”.

Detriments to Physical Health

Believe it or not, the inability to forgive comes with actual health problems. Holding onto the anger that forgiveness could relieve is extremely heavy on the heart. Those who are bitter are more likely to experience high blood pressure and heart rate. Not only does the heart suffer, but the metabolism, immune system, and functions of organs are affected as well. Being angry also causes depression, anxiety, and rage, which often lead to alcoholism and substance abuse. A study from the International Journal of Psychology suggested that those who are more inclined to exercise forgiveness are less likely to use medications and drink alcohol.

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Forgiveness isn’t about the person on the other end of the problem. It’s about letting go of things that put extra and unnecessary weight on our shoulders. Forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for us. We are in control of our own lives and, often, our own health. Don’t let these two things suffer by holding onto a grudge that could be resolved with a simple phone call or letter. Forgiving is a lot easier than we think. With a little bit of effort and sincerity, we can increase the amount of room for love in our hearts and change our lives for the better.

Last updated: 06.30.2017

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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