Sunday, 26 October 2014

Stress, Forgiveness, and Mental Health

Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you were just so angry or hurt by what someone did or said to you? You likely felt that you could not forgive them at the moment. How could they do such a thing? How could they hurt you like that? We've all had times like this. Remember when your coworkers teased you for not attending that late-night party? Or when your friends forgot to invite you to dinner? What about when your children yelled at you and disrespected you? Or when your partner or spouse didn't even offer to help you with the dishes? Remember the time your parents got angry at you for that awful mark you got in school? The list can go on and on.

We've all been hurt or angered before. Needless to say, it is very difficult to forgive other when this occurs. Right away, we feel a rush of emotions such as anger, sadness, frustration, tension, embarrassment, pain, etc. We simply cannot find it within ourselves to forgive. And that's okay. We all need time to process our emotions. We need to think about what happened, how we are feeling, why we are feeling this way, and what we can do about it. Remember that it is NORMAL to feel angry, hurt, stressed, or tired because of circumstances, others' actions or words, etc.

After you've had time to process your emotions...can you find it within yourself to forgive others? What impact does forgiveness have on mental health? A study focussed on the relationship between stress, forgiveness, and mental health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.libaccess.lib.mcmaster.ca/pubmed/25139892. The researchers administered a survey to participants on life events associated with stress and forgiveness. Then, they completed another survey on mental health. The results? Those who were able to forgive others had significantly better mental health. They experienced less stress, anxiety, and depression. They felt happier and calmer.

Why does this occur? The simple answer is that holding grudges never helps anyone  - neither yourself, nor the person who hurt or angered you. When we forgive, we feel a sense of relief. It doesn't mean that we are being 'weak' because we forgive; rather, forgiveness is a sign of strength. Forgiveness means that though someone else has hurt me, I am strong enough (and wise enough) to let it go. I have become hurt and angry, and that's normal. But I refuse to let that event stop me from enjoying a happy, healthy life. I refuse to hold a grudge and let this event haunt me, or interfere with my relationships with others. I will choose to forgive. And doing that helps us feel healthy. When we forgive, we can forget about how others may have hurt us, and we can focus on the present moment. We can focus on our goals and continue to make decisions that will help us lead happy, healthy, successful lives.

There is a part in the Bible when Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who continuously wrongs him. Jesus answers that we must forgive not only seven times (seven was the honoured number of that time), but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). Did Jesus mean to forgive 490 times, and then stop after that? No. Jesus meant to always forgive  - to set no limits on forgiveness. There is a well-known quote that says: when I forgive, I forget. And it's true. When we forgive, we can forget what wrong others have done to us. And we can move on with our lives. This is a wonderful, freeing feeling!

'Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, fighting, and harsh words. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.' (Ephesians 4:31-32)

51 comments:

  1. I am very sensitive and I feel hurt when others not watching what they are saying to me.

    Sandra D

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  2. I felt hurt from my family criticism than strangers

    Magaly

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  3. I have to forgive others ,as this makes me calmer and serene and keep relationship.

    Shady

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  4. I can not forget when mom yelled at me when I got very bad mark at my high school exam.
    I understand she wants me to be superior but it was harsh.
    I do forgive and love her.


    Jenn
    Welland

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  5. To err is human, to forgive is divine

    Mary
    Mississauga

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  6. Two important gifts We got from God
    Ability to forgive and forget.
    If we forget the hurt, We will move on with life and feel happy .
    If we forgive others ,we will keep friendship and have support.

    Solomon

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  7. This survey is really true.
    I know myself when I forget and forgive, do much better

    Sally

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  8. I learnt how to forgive from my heart since I became Christian and since then I have not judged or hold a grudge or even get angry when others make any mistake but rather I find excuse to their actions and I feel strong and happy.

    Sam Ibrahim
    Burnhamthorpe Mississauga
    I

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  9. I am learning to forgive and forget.

    Anastashia

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  10. I like to forgive but really hard

    Handal

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  11. Despite the hurt recovery helps me to forget and forgive

    Anne

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  12. I can forget but can not forget

    Raymond

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  13. I love to learn how to forgive and forget

    C Giles

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  14. I feel less stressed when I forgive

    Zak

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  15. please pray for me to be able to forgive

    Gordana

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  16. Forgetness relieves my stress


    Razan

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  17. i agree that it is really important to be able to let things go, even when someone has wronged you. its just so hard ......

    Caylee

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  18. I try to forget first so that I will be able to forgive.

    Hamza

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  19. I notice that people react different to the hurt.
    Some feels it as nothing while others make a big deal.
    Do we know why??

    Nanaraj

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  20. I do relax and feel good when I take things easy.

    Magaly

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  21. While I was gunky I had anger problem and I was aggressive to others.
    This was making me feel very bad about myself.
    With recovery I am calmer than a sheep and feeling much happier.

    Carlos

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  22. Forgiveness is really hard but makes me feel better.

    Alejandra

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  23. I learnt never judge others but show understanding and support and you do not know how this makes me feel

    Josefina

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  24. You are right
    Showing others understanding and excuse for their glitches making me feel better.

    Gussipina

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  25. Yes
    The attitude towards others relieves tension not only in others but in ourselves.
    I am learning lots from you.

    JP( a thankful mother)

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  26. My feeling improves when I smile at others

    Hernandez

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  27. It is bravery to apologize.

    Gangji

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  28. Strong faith help you to forget the hurt, forgive and relieve any stress.

    Kerman

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  29. Learning to be tolerant to others, helping my mood

    Mobayed

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  30. LAUGHTER AND SMILE HELP ME TOELRATE OTHERS FOOLISHNESS AND RELEIVES MINESAND THIERS STRESS.

    SOCRAT

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  31. If you forgive, you are stronger and happier.


    Waboso

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  32. If we are nice to each other, we all feel better

    Holami

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  33. God bless you.
    I trust you are able to forgive and forget and feel well and be a role model ,not only because your skills and educations and personal experience but also with your strong belief.

    Noshia

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  34. I wish you all the happiness Marina

    Penny
    Med student

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  35. I was hurt a lot but I forgot and that is why I am very optimistic

    Maritza

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  36. I learnt to turn the other check with smile and tolerance and this make me feel happier and stronger.

    Mary
    Mississauga

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  37. I do have the courage to apologize when I hurt any body.


    Sheila Ketson

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  38. Thank you for reminding me.
    I am planning to forgive and forget.

    Idelberto

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  39. I need help how to forgive.
    I do not go to church

    Kapoor

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  40. I will forgive as long as I am alive and I will smile too.

    Wanda

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  41. I am asking others for forgivness

    Fernandez

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  42. Please pray for me I can not forgive .

    Clayton

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  43. When I am stressed ,hard to forgive and so hard to forget and so not feel well and vicious circle

    Hillary

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  44. Yes Marina
    Forgiveness is comforting to both parties

    Edwin

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  45. I am easy going and so I forget so easily

    Kumudu

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  46. This blog is my favourite

    Forgive me if I am not reading it daily

    Eric

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  47. Forgive me God if I can not forgive others.

    Halala

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  48. You are right
    When you are easy on others, you feel better

    Siobhan

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  49. I would like to forgive

    Gerry

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  50. I love this post

    S K

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  51. I love reading all your comments - it is SO great to have these conversations here, and to feel that we are all benefitting! God bless you all - your support always puts a smile on my face!

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