Negative thoughts and emotions are part of our lives, but once you find out how bad they are to your health, you will definitely want to think of a way to control them.
It turns out that when you feel irritated, dissatisfied, or recall some bad memories in your mind, your body suffers equally. So, if you keep focusing on such negative emotions, they will affect both your mental and physical health.
Is there a solution to this problem? Believe it or not, the answer is forgiveness. The Greater Good Science Center describes forgiveness as a trait of strong personalities, not as a sign of weakness or submission as many people are convinced in this mistaken belief.
Psychologists explain that forgiveness is releasing feelings of resentments and we do that consciously, even if a certain person doesn’t deserve our forgiveness.
This act is a whole process, but there is a difference between decisional forgiveness and emotional forgiveness.
Decisional forgiveness involves resisting an unforgiving stance and responding differently towards a person who has hurt you. Emotional forgiveness is defined as replacing negative unforgiving emotions with positively oriented emotions, which means being sympathetic to the feelings of others. Emotional forgiveness is related to psychophysiological changes and has more well-being consequences.
Other studies have shown that there is a link between forgiveness and better sleep. Forgiving also has the power to reduce fatigue and improve your overall health. It also protects your heart health. This claim was confirmed by a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology. To be more precise, forgiveness has a positive effect on the function of your heart, while anger as a negative feeling has cardiotoxic effects. The researchers concluded that increasing the sense of forgiveness and decreasing anger and bitterness can be clinically important and beneficial.
Researchers from Hope College’s Psychology Department focused on analyzing the effects of negative emotions. For that purpose, 35 female and 36 male participants took part in this research.
The participants were supposed to recall sad memories and grudges and researchers were observing their facial muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate, blood pressure, and sweat gland activity.
After that, they were supposed to imagine forgiveness to people who hurt them at some point in their lives.
The results showed that negative emotions increased stress levels and stimulated the production of sweat. On the other hand, the moment of forgiving relaxed their facial muscles and stabilized their blood pressure.
Taking these things into consideration, the final conclusion was that refusing to forgive people who have hurt you may damage your health, and eventually lead to some sort of sickness.
Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America adds that emotional wounds can seriously hinder the positive response of people to treatments.
According to Dr. Michael Barry, author of the book The Forgiveness Project, 61 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer, have problems with forgiveness. He explains that negative thinking and negative emotions like hatred and anger cause a state of chronic anxiety. In this state, your body is not able to fight diseases, as bodily functions are weakened.
Therefore, focus your mind on positive thinking in order to improve your mood and create a state of happiness.