A new study has shown that the act of forgiveness can improve your overall health. It can improve sleep, lower cholesterol, and reduce pain, blood pressure, anxiety, and stress. Researchers also found that if people were highly forgiving of both themselves and others, that characteristic alone virtually eliminated the connection between stress and mental illness, according to TIME. So your stress is significantly lowered just by forgiving someone.
[The link] is almost entirely erased — it’s statistically zero,” explained study author Loren Toussaint, an associate professor of psychology at Luther College in Iowa. “If you don’t have forgiving tendencies, you feel the raw effects of stress in an unmitigated way. You don’t have a buffer against that stress.” It makes sense. Upon leaving an argument, we are upset and tense; made all the worse if feelings of pent-up anger are held in. If we are unable to let bygones be bygones, naturally your stress levels would stay high.
Despite the positivity of the research, exactly how a forgiving personality protects a person from the ills of severe stress is hard to determine from a small amount of statistics. The study organisers speculated that people who are more forgiving might adopt better coping skills to deal with stress, or their reaction to major stressors may be dulled.
“Forgiveness takes that bad connection between stress and mental illness and makes it zero. I think most people want to feel good, and it offers you the opportunity to do that.”
Why not move onwards and upwards, you’ll feel so much better for it.