Did you know that forgiveness has benefits for your physical health?

Johns Hopkins Medicine reported that studies have found that forgiving people can “reap huge rewards for your health.”

Some of the ways forgiving others can reportedly improve your health are:

  • Decrease the risk of heart attacks.
  • Lower cholesterol levels.
  • Improve sleep.
  • Reduce pain.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Decrease levels of anxiety.
  • Decrease levels of depression.
  • Decrease stress.
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How does forgiveness improve your health?

“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” Dr. Karen Swartz, director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, said.

The American Psychological Association reported that participants in a five-week study were observed as “their levels of forgiveness ebbed and flowed.”

The findings from this study revealed that as a person’s forgiveness increased, levels of stress and mental health issues decreased.

“Forgiveness is a topic that’s psychological, social and biological,” Loren Toussaint, a professor of psychology at Luther College, said. “It’s the true mind-body connection.”

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Forgiveness isn’t easy, everyone has to choose it

Forgiveness is not an easy thing to choose, but in order to access the benefits that come from it, you have to choose to forgive, even when it is difficult.

“You are choosing to offer compassion and empathy to the person who wronged you,” Swartz said. “It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not.”

Harvard Health reported that Tyler VanderWeele, co-director of the Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said you can gain a feeling of freedom from the actions of someone who wronged you when you forgive.

“Forgiving a person who has wronged you is never easy, but dwelling on those events and reliving them over and over can fill your mind with negative thoughts and suppressed anger,” VanderWeele said. “Yet, when you learn to forgive, you are no longer trapped by the actions of others and can finally feel free.”

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