How does forgiveness reduce stress?

Kathy Sowder
Forgiveness reduces stress by releasing the power of the person or situation over you. It does not mean that you do not hold someone or yourself accountable for behavior. However, holding onto anger and resentment not only disrupts relationships with others, but puts stress on your own body, and has been found to be linked to cancers and other diseases. Forgiving, then, is doing yourself a favor, and freeing yourself to choose other, more positive things to focus on. This is not an easy thing to do, but is a process skill that will pay off for a lifetime.
Mia Redrick

Forgiving someone means that you are no longer holding on the past.  When we are in a place in which we're not forgiving people, we are stuck emotionally and can't let go.  This prevents us from being able to expereience anything new in that relationship or in any similar relationships.  

Forgiveness allows you to heal your wounds.  It doesn't mean that the situation has changed, that the other person has forgiven you, or that anything external has happened.  The other person may not even have apologized, but when you forgive them, you decide that you're moving on in your own life.  That chapter is closed, and you are no longer bound by something that doesn't serve your higher good.  You're free to move on and experience love and other new things that you can't experience when you don't forgive.

Forgiving also allows you to redirect your emotions and shift the negative energy to make it into something that's positive and works for you.  It also allows you to create boundaries, which will prevent that person from hurting you again.  Refusing to forgive hurts you emotionally because it allows toxic feelings to remain in your life.  You can't go on living with toxic feelings and expect to create good things in life.  You have to let them go.

Resentment, anger and ill will all create stress in your life.  When you choose to forgive someone you release the grip these negative stressors have on your mind, body and soul. Forgiveness is freedom from stress.  Hostility is like carrying around a 20 weight that gets heavy, tiresome and stressful.  Forgiveness is your ability to put down the heavy weight you have been carrying around and experience the healing power of freedom and peace.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.