At some point in everybody’s lives, a situation arises where we have to decide whether to hold a grudge or move on. If you find yourself opting for holding a grudge each and every time, then perhaps it’s time you should learn the benefits of forgiving people and make a positive change in your life.
1. Reduces stress
When you choose not to forgive people, you create an atmosphere of negativity that will arise whenever you are near that person or made to think about them. This can lead to high levels of stress and low moods. Stress has been linked in numerous studies to poor health, so reducing stress can be paramount to living a healthy life. Forgiving people reduces stress by limiting these low moods, and it has been linked in medical studies to improved mental health.
2. Helps to build healthier, better relationships
Holding bitterness can poison your life and the relationships you have. Grudges and angry feelings can lead to you having a short temper and struggling to trust those around you. Sociological studies have shown that allowing yourself to forgive those who have wronged you can actually make you a better person. It encourages positive feelings towards others, trust, and a higher likeliness to engage in charitable behaviors and volunteering.
3. Prevents the victim mentality
If you’ve been wronged by someone, it can be really easy to fall into a pit of self-pity. Once there, it can be incredibly difficult to get yourself out of it. Instead, you end up in a position where you feel like a completely innocent party who has no control over their life and you may even feel that your life has been ruined. This is what sociologists refer to as the ‘victim mentality’.
This can lead to you behaving in a way that may cause further issues to your life and livelihood. You might find yourself regularly blaming others, refusing to take any responsibility, being hypervigilant and overdramatic, feeling as if people are out to get you, and feeling as though everybody has it much easier than you. You might feel really pessimistic about your life, defensive, angry, and helpless, and this can all lead to self-destructive behaviors.
If you decide to forgive those who wrong you instead, you are able to move on and remain in charge of your life rather than giving in to what happened.
4. Has a range of health benefits
As well as helping to reduce stress, forgiving people can also help to improve your health in other ways. It has been linked to lower blood pressure, significantly reduced anxiety, better sleep, and improved self-esteem. It can also help you to really let go of unhealthy repressed anger that can contribute to muscle tension, heart problems, improved cholesterol levels and decreased immune function.
Is keeping ahold of that grudge really worth damaging your health? Wouldn’t it be better to move on, learn the lesson that comes with being wronged and work on healing from whatever it might be that happened? The person has already wronged you, don’t let them continue to affect your life!
5. Sets a good example to those around you
Realistically, nobody is perfect. At some point, you’re going to need forgiving for something, whether you did the bad thing on purpose or not. If you show yourself to be a forgiving person and show those around you that forgiving is the better option and can really help your life, your friends and family are much more likely to forgive you when the situation is flipped.
6. Not forgiving people can lead to weight gain
The stress levels that come with holding a grudge cause higher than usual levels of the hormone cortisol within your body. This is responsible for high blood pressure, but it can also lead to a tendency to gain weight. Sudden weight gain can reduce confidence, mobility and cause low moods.
7. Better anger-management skills
It should come as no surprise that harboring resentment, disappointment, or anger can lead to much more frequent anger outbursts. These outbursts can damage relationships and can lead to social isolation. Reducing the amount of anger that you repress when people wrong you will enable you to better cope when things frustrate or anger you.
8. Lower risk of substance or alcohol abuse
One of the commonly attributed causes of substance or alcohol abuse is strained relationships. The lack of support from strained friendships or familial relationships, like those where a grudge is held, can lead a person to launch into depression. These people may then feel like the only way to feel happy or positive is by using drugs or drinking alcohol. These two substances both release endorphins in the brain, creating a positive emotional response.
Forgive as you go through life
Overall, learning to forgive people can really benefit your life. It will help you to maintain positive relationships with those in your life, even if they’ve wronged you, and it boasts a great range of mental and physical benefits. Alternatively, holding a grudge does nothing for anybody, and can lead to you falling into an isolated state of despair. So next time the opportunity arises, why not opt for forgiveness?