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Forgiveness good for health

It's better to acknowledge hurt and let it go, as holding a grudge against someone may be harmful to health.

health-and-fitness Updated: Jan 03, 2008 15:02 IST

If you’re holding a grudge against someone, waste no time in pardoning him or her, for a study in the January issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource has suggested that forgiveness might be good for your health.

Forgiveness means acknowledging hurt and then letting it go, along with the burden of anger and resentment.

According to the journal, having bitterness for someone might affect your cardiovascular and nervous systems.

In one study, it was found that who focused on a personal grudge had elevated blood pressure and heart rates, as well as increased muscle tension and feelings of being less in control.

When they were asked to imagine forgiving the person who had hurt them, the participants said that they felt more positive and relaxed, and thus the changes dissipated.

When it comes to learning how to forgive - talking with a friend, therapist or adviser might be helpful during the process, to sort through feelings and stay on track.

The journal has covered four steps that will help you learn forgiveness.

The first step is to acknowledge the pain and anger felt as a result of someone else’s actions. For forgiveness to occur, the situation needs to be looked at honestly.

In the second step, you should recognise that healing requires change, followed by the finding a new way to think about the person who caused the pain.

Finally in the last step, you will begin to experience the emotional relief that comes with forgiveness. It might include increased compassion for others who have experienced similar hurt.