The organic benefits of Forgiveness – Spiritual Health


One of the keys to better health is something so simple…..Forgiveness. When you hold on to a grudge, it weakens your immune system in a big way. Those who judge do not matter, and those who matter do not judge! It happens every day, in our lives. People talk…and talk smack. You do not have to be one of those people in that category if you choose not to live that way. It is a choice.

Forgiveness has long laid the foundation for spiritual well-being in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But scientific research now suggests its healing power may extend beyond the sacred realm. Research shows links between forgiveness and physical and mental health (also commonly termed “Behavioral Health”). Solid mental health is a huge part of living an organic lifestyle. The administrators here at Organically In like to touch on spiritual aspects of life in our blog posts. We can not actually touch spirituality…but we can surely feel it! Our goal with this website is to give you the tools to make you feel better in your life today.

While this may come as some surprise to secular scientists, psychologist Dan Shoultz says God has created the need to give and receive as an important part of our makeup as human beings. Dan quotes: We were designed by God to not hold onto anger, revenge, bitterness, and resentment, When we do, it’s destructive to our being, leading to a slow and insidious breakdown of the our entire physical and mental systems. Because of this reality, he says that unforgiveness and its psychological baggage of hostility and bitterness can put people at risk for mental illness such as depression and anxiety-not to mention stress disorders and related physical ailments.

Rae Wolf saw firsthand how holding onto a grudge turned a stressful job situation into a full-blown health problem. This is a common occurrence in today’s society. After she was told she had fibroid tumors, her doctor told her stress could exacerbate the problem. As logistical coordinator for a major event, her job was stress-laden even on a good day. Still, she had no serious problems until she felt her superiors began to unfairly treat her by making capricious changes and demanding she redo long-approved work. She began bleeding profusely. Her doctor told her she would have to take it easy or she might have to be hospitalized.

This is a great example of the point that we are trying to illustrate here.

Wolf explaines: At first I thought it was just the stress that made me sick, but when I talked with my doctor, I realized that it was the anger, She said: “I knew I had to forgive those who mistreated me or I would suffer even more.

Shoultz says actively holding on to destructive emotions or thoughts that surround an injury takes a person down a slippery slop, potentially leading from unhealthy anger to even more unhealthy bitterness and even consuming hatred. In Wolf’s, case stress exacerbated an already precarious health situation, and her anger took her over the edge.

Do you have a vengeful personality?

Michael McCullough, director of research at the National Institute for Healthcare Research, says research suggests that people with vengeful personalities and a chronic desire to retaliate, because of their high hostility, might put themselves at much higher risk for early death through cardiovascular problems. Such findings have fueled interest in studying forgiveness as a potential preventive factor for heart-related illnesses.

A small but growing body of evidence also suggests that forgiveness- particularly for severe hurts-plays a role in lowering depression and anxiety, says McCullough. It’s also been linked to small increases in self-esteem. Bol-stered by evidence that vengefulness could carry heavy physical health risks, more scientists are taking a serious look at forgiveness and how it impacts the whole person, McCullough says.

Studies being done at Stanford University

Carl Thoresen, a professor of education, psychology, and psychiatry at Stanford University, has studied the psychosocial factors connected with cardiovascular problems for more than 20 years. He has designed training programs with several others to help people learn how to incorporate life changes that reduce the risk of a first or recurring coronary event.

Currently, as part of his focus on spirituality and health, he is planning and conducting research projects involving forgiveness training. Preliminary results look promising, with measurements being taken of changes in depression, anxiety, stress, and other physical symptoms, such as blood pressure and heart rate, before and after forgiveness training as well as several weeks later. He says he hopes to demonstrate that people can learn to take less offense and use forgiveness skills when they feel offended or hurt.

Thoresen’s intervention study-the largest to date of its kind-hit a telling glitch right from the start. He noted that while almost 200 people volunteered to participate–all had a past offense or hurt they were willing to consider forgiving–the vast majority was women. Thoresen and fellow researchers, such as Fred Luskin, realized some cultural factors were at work against them as they sought to study gender differences with relation to forgiveness.

Men, in today’s society just do not identify with Forgiveness! Unless you are part of a self-help group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and are actively practicing spirituality on a daily basis.

We hope that after reading this article, you consider forgiving that person or persons that you hold a grudge with the most. It is very healthy for you to do so. You will be suprised how much better that you will feel.

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