The act of asking and giving forgiveness is an essential part of the human experience. Whether your child breaks your favorite vase, someone cuts you off in traffic, your co-worker bad mouths you at work, or you and your spouse have a misunderstanding, every day we encounter situations that require us to exercise forgiveness. As it turns out, when we practice this key to spiritual living our health improves.
About.com has an extensive health section that is reviewed and supported by the Medical Review Board. Here is what About.com had to say on the topic of forgiveness.
- Forgiveness is good for your heart — literally. One study from the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found forgiveness to be associated with lower heart rate and blood pressure as well as stress relief. This can bring long-term health benefits for your heart and overall health.
- A later study found forgiveness to be positively associated with five measures of health: physical symptoms, medications used, sleep quality, fatigue, and somatic complaints. It seems that the reduction in negative affect (depressive symptoms), strengthened spirituality, conflict management and stress relief one finds through forgiveness all have a significant impact on overall health.
- A third study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that forgiveness not only restores positive thoughts, feelings and behaviors toward the offending party (in other words, forgiveness restores the relationship to its previous positive state), but the benefits of forgiveness spill over to positive behaviors toward others outside of the relationship. Forgiveness is associated with more volunteerism, donating to charity, and other altruistic behaviors. (And the converse is true of non-forgiveness.)
Barbara Y. Martin explains that when we truly forgive we are alining ourselves with our divine nature. When we give genuine forgiveness it appears in the aura as the pink light of divine love, and when we ask for forgiveness it can appear as the purple light of peace. The act of asking for and giving forgiveness brings in the higher dimensions of consciousness.
Dimitri Moraitis emphasizes that when we forgive we’re actually freeing ourselves from negative and detrimental energy. If we choose not to forgive, we tie ourselves to the person/situation that created the disturbing condition to begin with.
It is hugely important to forgive as soon as possible. Why? Because the longer we hold on to the offense, perceived or real, the more difficult it becomes to forgive and move forward.
To help the forgiveness process ask the deep rose pink light of divine love to go the person you are forgiving, or the person you are asking forgiveness from. See yourself and the other person encircled in the pink light. Pray that everyone involved be uplifted in love. You can also ask the angels to enfold the other person in the light of love. You may have to forgive many times, but stay with it until you feel the release.
No matter what someone does, you have the power to forgive. This is one of the greatest tools of healing you will ever have.
Karremans JC, Van Lange PA, Holland RW. Forgiveness and its associations with prosocial thinking, feeling, and doing beyond the relationship with the offender. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, October 2005.
Lawler KA, Younger JW, Piferi RL, Billington E, Jobe R, Edmondson K, Jones WH. A change of heart: cardiovascular correlates of forgiveness in response to interpersonal conflict. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Octover 2003.