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I find it a privilege being on this planet at the same time as you, and believe we all are here at this time of humanity for a purpose. I hope you will find it interesting getting into conversation with me and my readers.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Forgiveness and Health

The belief that forgiveness can improve physical health is found in religious writings and in the recommendations of some health professionals. Forgiveness can facilitate the repair of supportive close relationships and such relationships are known to protect against negative health outcomes. Marital conflict is associated with poorer health and with specific illnesses such as cancer, cardiac disease, and chronic pain (Schmaling & Cher 1997), and hostile behaviors during conflict relate to alterations in immunological (Kiecolt-Glaser et al.,1997), endocrine (Glaser 1994), and cardiovascular functioning.

Unforgiveness, which often occurs as a result of having been hurt, humiliated, angered, or having suffered fear or loss, feelings of guilt, or envy, can have profound affects on the way our body functions. Muscles tighten causing imbalances or pain in neck, back and limbs. Blood flow is decreased. Normal processes of repair and recovery from injury are impaired. Chronic pain may be worsened. Forgiveness is often one of the keys in restoring or maintaining health.

Unforgiveness can be conceptualized as a stress reaction. Forgiveness can be used as an emotion-focused coping strategy to reduce a stressful reaction to a transgression. Direct empirical research suggests that forgiveness is related to health outcomes and to mediating physiological responses to stress, thereby coping strategy. Indirect mechanisms might also affect the forgiveness-health relationship. Namely, forgiveness might affect health by working through social support, relationship quality, and religion.


Shirley said...

It has been said that the stupid neither forgive nor forget.
The naive forgive and forget.
But only the wise forgive but do not forget.

It's an interesting thought to keep remembering to forgive and then the pain of the ill done to us will dull over when the balm of forgiveness soothes over the hurt in time.

There is so much good to be gotten out of forgiveness. I'm glad you've written about the physiological benefits of it, Elham!

Every blessing,

amira said...

I am realy Fascinated by your blog
God bless you.