Forgiveness – Good For Your Health and Happiness
If you find yourself unable to forgive those who have hurt you – no matter how small or major the offense – think again about what you are actually doing to yourself. Holding onto bitterness, pain, blame, anger or hostility is a form of internal stress that can undermine your health and quality of life. When we're unforgiving, we are the ones who pay the price over and over.
Forgiving lowers stress
In a study of college students, study subjects were instructed to either dwell on the injustices done to them, or imagine themselves forgiving their offenders. Those who focused on unforgiving responses showed signs of increased stress – their blood pressure surged, heart rate increased, facial muscles tensed, and their negative feelings escalated. Conversely, forgiving responses induced calmer feelings and physical responses. According to the latest medical research, forgiveness can lead to:
- reduced stress and hostility
- fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain
- lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
- improved heart function / lower blood pressure
- improved relationships
- improved sleep
Learning to forgive
Forgiveness is not excusing someone else's wrong behavior, nor does it necessarily include reconciliation with the person who wronged us. Forgiveness means no longer dwelling on the wounds that keep us tied to the past. By learning to forgive, you take responsibility for how you feel and take back the power from others to keep hurting you.
The process of forgiveness begins by recognizing, accepting and working through angry and hurt feelings. Journaling, writing letters (even if they are not actually sent), or talking with a trusted friend can be helpful. Seek out information or books about "how to forgive" or seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional to help you through the process of forgiveness.
Your EAP is here to help:
Sometimes it can be difficult to forget about the past and forgive, particularly if the offending acts were ongoing or traumatic. If you or one of your dependents is having difficulty knowing how to forgive someone who has wronged you in a significant way, you can contact your Employee Assistance Program for confidential counseling, referrals or information. A professional EAP counselor can help you work through your feelings on a deeper level and personally support you through the process.
Employee Assistance Program Services
The Broward County Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all Broward County Government employees and their families to assist with most personal problems affecting the quality of life at home or on the job at no charge. Participation in the program is voluntary and completely confidential. Licensed professionals can assist you with:
- Family problems
- Work conflicts
- Grief and loss
- Financial problems
- Substance abuse
Call for a free and confidential appointment or more information at 954-357-5600 or email at email@example.com
. Additional information on our services is also available at broward.org/HumanResources/EAP
Copyright © 2013 Healthy Exchange. This newsletter is not intended to provide medical advice on personal wellness matters, which should be obtained directly from your physician.