Many Christmas dinners have come and gone and you still have not talked with Uncle Stan. Since that heated family argument ten years ago, neither has apologized and neither has forgiven.
This holiday season reconsider your grudges. Forgiveness is not just a virtue, but it is also healthy for you.
This past October top scientists gathered in Atlanta to discuss the research on the health benefits of forgiveness. Thought most of the research is at its infancy stage, the findings are remarkable and presented on the web site www.forgiving.org
Most studies find that those who forgive have lower blood pressure and lower levels of stress hormone.
In one study people who forgave others experienced lower levels of pain, depression and anger compared with control subjects who did not forgive.
In another study, blood pressure increased 2.5 mm/Hg over 4 seconds when people recollected their thoughts of harbored grudges. In contrast, there was a decline in heart rate by 1 beat every eight seconds when people empathized with the person who hurt them. Thought these findings are intuitively obvious, scientists are now able to place numbers to the benefits of forgiveness.
A survey shows that we seek forgiveness much more often than we offer forgiveness. A poll finds that 94 percent of Americans have prayed for forgiveness at some time, while only 45 percent regularly forgive others.
Interestingly, in the ancient traditions of India, there is one holiday allotted as the “Day of Forgiveness.” People visit, call or email friends and foe to seek forgiveness and to erase the grudges of the past year. They meditate for 48 minutes to sanctify the act of forgiving.
Yes, as humans we err often enough – but as humans we can forgive even more. So this holiday season invite Uncle Stan and also bring forgiveness to the dinner table and live a healthy and satisfying life.