We’re in the season of Lent, a great time to reflect on the value of forgiveness. Aside from having been instructed to forgive one another, it turns out there are health benefits of forgiveness. My historical fiction about Mary Brewster is ready to introduce to the world, which is keeping me busy. Heads up – watch your e-mail box for a link to where you can get a special introductory pre-book launch special deal next Wednesday (March 22). From now through March 22, 2023, the e-Book version will be available for $2.99. I am most grateful to Michelle Strickland email@example.com) for providing this week’s guest blog on the importance of forgiveness.
Unlock the Benefits of Forgiveness: How to Improve Your Mental Health
by Michelle Strickland
Forgiveness is a powerful tool that can improve mental health, reduce stress and anxiety levels, and increase our overall well-being. For senior citizens who’ve experienced loss or hurt in the past and are ready to move forward with their lives, forgiveness is a crucial tool. Forgiveness benefits cannot be understated. Forgiveness has also been linked to improved physical health and increased happiness.
What is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness has always been part of human history. It can be defined as the act of pardoning someone or something as an intentional decision to let go of negative feelings such as resentment, bitterness, and anger towards another person or situation. Forgiveness does not necessarily mean forgetting what happened; rather, understanding why it happened and choosing to move forward without holding onto grudges.
There are two types of forgiveness. One is interpersonal forgiveness, which involves forgiving another person. The other is self-forgiveness, which involves forgiving oneself for mistakes made in the past. Interpersonal forgiveness requires both parties involved to come together with mutual respect and understanding in order to heal any wounds caused by the conflict. Self-forgiveness, on the other hand, requires that a person recognize their faults, accept responsibility for them, let go of guilt or shame associated with them, and learn from them so they don’t happen again.
How to Practice Forgiveness
According to the American Psychological Association forgiveness is an essential tool for healthy relationships and personal growth. By understanding the process of forgiveness, we can learn how to practice it in our lives and experience its many benefits. Forgiveness is an important part of healing and growth, helping us move forward without holding onto grudges toward others or ourselves.
Forgiveness can help us cope with difficult emotions and situations. By letting go of anger, resentment, and hurt we pave the way to move forward with a more positive outlook on life. Understanding the process of forgiveness can be challenging, but it is possible to learn how to practice it effectively.
To forgive someone or something requires first understanding why we feel hurt or angry. Taking time to reflect on our feelings and identify what needs healing will help us understand what has caused the pain as we take steps toward forgiving ourselves or others.
Strategies for Practicing Forgiveness
Once we’ve identified what needs healing, there are several strategies for practicing forgiveness. Writing down thoughts and feelings about the situation can help process these emotions in a constructive way. Talking through them with a trusted friend or family member may provide an additional outlet to express ourselves and gain insights into potential solutions. Meditating on the issue can allow us to connect with our inner selves. Engaging in creative activities such as drawing or journaling are self-expression tools that could lead toward finding closure. Taking time to work through our emotions enables us to come up with solutions that will ultimately result in forgiving those who have wronged us without condoning their behavior.
In addition to forgiving others, it is also important to practice self-forgiveness when necessary. This means accepting responsibility for any mistakes made while also being kinder towards ourselves by recognizing that everyone makes mistakes from time to time and learning from them instead of dwelling on them indefinitely. Aging.com points out that therapy can be helpful during this process and provides information on finding on-line options. Additionally, setting boundaries with people who may not be supportive during this process is an important part of protecting mental health. This can still allow room for growth within relationships later if desired.
The Impact of Forgiveness on Mental Health
Forgiveness can be a difficult but rewarding process. With patience and understanding, we can learn to practice forgiveness and reap the benefits of improved mental health. This is important because holding onto unforgiving attitudes affects our mental health.
Forgiveness is an especially important part of mental health for older adults. Unforgiving attitudes can lead to a variety of negative emotions such as anger, resentment, and bitterness. These feelings can cause stress and anxiety which can have long-term effects on physical and emotional wellbeing. Holding onto grudges or refusing to forgive someone who has wronged us can also lead to depression and isolation from others.
Clinging to unforgiving attitudes towards people who have hurt us in the past prevents us from moving forward with our lives. We become stuck in a cycle of ruminating over what happened instead of focusing on the present moment or looking ahead into the future. This kind of thinking leads to increased levels of stress hormones like cortisol which can weaken our immune systems and make us more susceptible to illness or disease. It also makes it difficult for us to form meaningful relationships with others because we are focused on what happened in the past rather than building new connections with those around us now.
Impact of Grudges on Aging Issues
Research suggests that holding onto grudges can cause people’s brains to age faster than normal aging would suggest, leading us down a path towards cognitive decline earlier in life. This puts seniors at greater risk for dementia-related diseases if left unchecked, as elevated levels of cortisol weaken the immune system and decrease vulnerability against illnesses like colds or flu. Furthermore, studies have shown that holding onto grudges increases one’s risk for heart disease by up to 30%.
Forgiveness allows us to:
- Move forward.
- Free ourselves from the burden of resentment and anger.
- Create healthier relationships with those around us.
- Reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions.
- Promote feelings of peace and joy.
For seniors especially, understanding how to forgive others as well as ourselves is an important step in creating a more meaningful life experience. By taking the time to learn about what forgiveness means and how to apply it, seniors especially will reap the rewards of its many benefits.
As we age, it is important to practice forgiveness to bring about a sense of inner peace and calmness that we need to live happily and contentedly during our later years. It can help us forgive ourselves for mistakes made throughout life and extend compassion towards those who have wronged us.
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Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures is still available wherever books are sold. Now so is the follow up story of Mary Brewster’s Love Life: The Matriarch of the Mayflower.
Bookshop.org (Support local Bookshops)
Amazon.com/Mary Brewster’s Love Life
Barnes and Noble
Order Autographed copies directly from me. Or ask your local bookstore to order a copy for you.