Benefits of Forgiveness Include
Abundant Stress Relief

The benefits of forgiveness are huge:

  • Relief of emotional stress
  • Relief of physical stress,
  • Freedom from the pain of the past,
  • Greater happiness in the present and
  • Greater health and well-being.

Forgiveness Powerfully Changes
Our Feelings About the Past

Forgiveness does not change the past.
What ever happened ... has happened .... it is done.
But our feelings about the past can change.

The amazing benefit of forgiveness is this -
When we make peace with the past,
forgiveness frees us to enjoy ...
a better, healthier, happier life right now.

The rewards and benefits of forgiveness are very practical.

Research Confirms that
Forgiveness Improves Health

The researched benefits of forgiveness include improved health
and well being:

  • Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Drs. Warren Jones and Kathleen Lawler found that harboring anger and resentment tends to increase blood pressure. Forgiving seems to have overall cardiovascular benefits.
  • A study conducted at University of Michigan Institute for Social Research found that forgiving others was linked with better self reported mental and physical health.
  • Dr. Fred Luskin’s research with the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, suggests that forgiveness skills can be learned. Those who took the training achieved decreased levels of stress and increased levels of optimism.

How To Be Forgiving

The idea of forgiveness is simple.
Just let go of all of your resentments and anger.

But the practice of forgiveness may seem difficult.
Some of us hold on to our resentments because they "seem so justified".

Some people actually get pleasure from their resentments.
But learning how to deal with anger can help us discover an even greater joy within.

The cost we pay for holding on to resentment is very high.
Resentments are very stressful and weigh us down with the inflated burdens of the past.

Holding resentments doesn’t punish the other person, it punishes us.

Compassionate Understanding
Makes Forgiveness Possible

Many people feel that forgiveness is easier said than done.
So how do we forgive?

We seek to understand rather than judge.

The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, defines forgivable as “something that you are able to forgive because you understand it.”

Forgiveness comes from understanding how people act and make decisions.

Socrates explained many centuries ago that all people choose only what they perceive will bring the greatest good, or the greatest pleasure. But when they do not perceive accurately, they will choose the lesser good, by mistake.

We know that situations and things are not always what they appear to be. Sometimes we are "fooled" by appearance. This naturally leads to errors.

Jesus Christ demonstrated his understanding of the human fallibility when he said on the cross “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”.

We All Do Our Best With the
Knowledge & Maturity We Have

Since humans are not omniscient, or infallible, mistakes are inevitable for all of us.

When we understand and accept human fallibility, it becomes much easier to forgive the mistakes other people, and even our own.

The other people in our lives were only doing the best they knew at the time, and so were we. No human being wakes up in the morning and thinks "Let me see how badly I can make a mess of things today?".

Of course we strive to learn and do better.
And with understanding, forgiveness becomes possible.

Realistic Acceptance of Human Fallibility
Gives Us the Benefits of Forgiveness:

  • reduced emotional stress,
  • reduced physical stress,
  • increased peace,
  • increased compassion,
  • deep healing and
  • a greater sense of well-being.

Discover other personal core values which promote mental and emotional peace, or

Return to Gentle-Stress-Relief home page


The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary,

Harris, A.H, Luskin, F.M.., Benisovich, S.V., Standard, S., Bruning, J., Evans, S. and Thoresen, C. (2006) Effects of a group forgiveness intervention on forgiveness, perceived stress and trait anger: A randomized trial Journal of Clinical Psychology. 62(6) 715-733.

Ascribe Higher Education News Service, 11-DEC-01. “Forgiveness and Health: University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research Study Shows How Link Changes with Age.”

Piper, Stephanie, 2000, “Let Bygones Be Bygones”

Jowett, Benjamin: translator. 1952. The Dialogues of Plato, “Protagoras”. Chicago, London, Toronto, Geneva, Sydney, Tokyo: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.

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