The New York Times “smarter living” column has an interesting piece about letting go of grudges and forgiving others.
It cites research about the benefits of doing so.
A 2006 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology as part of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, suggested that “skills-based forgiveness training may prove effective in reducing anger as a coping style, reducing perceived stress and physical health symptoms, and thereby may help reduce” the stress we put on our immune and cardiovascular systems. Further, a study published this year found that carrying anger into old age is associated with higher levels of inflammation and chronic illness. Another study from this year found that anger reduces our ability to see things from other people’s perspective.
The article states that to forgive, “we need to recognize three things: 1. Forgiveness is for you, not the offender. 2. It’s best to do it now. 3. It’s about freeing yourself — forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to like what they did or become their friend.”
To forgive, people should take four steps: 1. Calm themselves in the moment. 2. Change their role in the story from a victim to a hero. 3. Pay attention to the good things in their lives. 4. Remind themselves of the basic truth that life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to.
Check it out.