Did you know that burying the hatchet offers health benefits, especially as you age? Studies show that letting go of anger and resentment can actually reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and even help you breathe easier. Adversely, holding anger inside is linked to heart disease and stroke, thereby taking years from your life.
In a study aptly called “Forgive to Live,” psychologist Loren Toussaint and colleagues found that the inability to forgive others may predict an earlier age of death for some. That is especially true f conditional forgiveness, when a person desperately waits for an apology. Conditional forgiveness can bare negative energy, as individuals who put demands on their forgiveness typically continue to harbor resentment and grudges. These negative emotions can impair health, especially heart health. Staying upset over the past is not good for the ticker. What is more, nursing negative feelings keeps you in a state of stress, and stress can take years off your life. This resentment is not always incurred by others, some individuals cannot forgive themselves. This is especially detrimental to your personal health, robbing you of joy, peace, and happiness.
But how can you let go? First, recognize the behavior for what it is. Ask yourself what is it doing to you? How much time and energy do you spend dwelling on the matter? Understand that forgiveness is something you do for others, but it is mostly an important action you do for yourself. When you harbor resentment, you can not experience personal growth, true health, or inner clam. If you truly want to live longer and be healthier and happier, do not wait for others to come to you. You must take the first step. Start the process of forgiveness in your own mind and then follow it through with genuine action. When you forgive other unconditionally -without expectations- you are giving your heart the potential to beat longer.