You already know that a good way to lighten the load on your heart is to forgive and forget. But who knew that forgiving and forgetting is actually good for your literal, physical heart? The old “forgive and forget” adage may actually save your life!
A new study actually says that forgiving people who have hurt you can have really good cardiovascular effects. If you forgive and forget instead of dwelling on and fuming in your anger, you’ll probably have a lot fewer spikes in your blood pressure.
How did scientists figure that out? It went down like this: They gathered a little over 200 volunteers and hooked ‘em all up to heart monitors. The researchers then told the volunteers to think about a time when a friend offended them (we’re sure you have a few memories like these in your mental arsenal, too). Then half of the group was instructed to think about how upset it got them, while the other half of the group was told to mull it over in a more forgiving way and to cut their pal some slack. Then the entire pool of volunteers were deliberately distracted for about five minutes.
When the researchers checked the heart monitors, the group that were told to stew in their hurt feelings towards their buddies had higher blood pressure than the “forgive and forget” group–even after being distracted for five minutes. Though they admit the study was a small one, the scientists involved believe that forgiving actually lowers your body’s “reactivity” to stressful events, allowing you to process and deal with it in a more healthy way. What’s more, they actually think that if you make a habit of living by the forgive and forget motto that you can get “sustained protection” from physical impacts–meaning that if you forgive and forget, you may actually feel less physical pain!
We should note though, that forgiving and forgetting is awesome–but if there’s anyone you have to forgive and forget about constantly, it may be better to forgive and forget not what a person did, but the fact that they exist. Because aside from “forgive and forget,” there’s also another good rule to live by: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!”
Do you dwell on issues or do you think it’s easier to forgive and forget? Has a friend ever done something that you had a lot of trouble forgiving her for? Is there any offense you think would be almost impossible to forgive and forget about? Tell us in the comments!