Forgive to Live Healthy | How Forgiveness Benefits Your Health

Whether it’s a petty argument with your partner or a heated debate with your bestie, chances are you leave the scene of an emotional crime with negative feelings and heightened emotions. And although forgiving people and moving forward is not always easy, it could be the key to health, longevity and happiness.

Forgiveness is associated with reduced stress and anxiety, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, improved cholesterol levels, better sleep, improved self-esteem, and more.

Feelings of anger, disappointment and hurt are mentally painful, but they also can harm you physically. Negative emotions are interpreted by your body as acute stress and can activate your sympathetic nervous system, sending your body into fight-or-flight mode and resulting in increased heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. Fight or flight is useful if you’re outrunning a mugger, but if you stew there for long periods, it can negatively impact your health. According to a study from Emory University, angry, bitter people have higher blood pressure and a greater risk of death from heart disease due to arterial inflammation. Other research links anger and frustration to an increase in cortisol, which can cause rapid weight gain, moodiness, diabetes, metabolic decline and muscle weakness.

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