Monitor on Psychology, January 2017 – Forgiveness can improve mental and physical health. Period.
There is no longer any question, at least in the scientific community, that forgiveness can be and is good for you. Whether you’ve suffered a minor slight or a major grievance, researchers say, learning to forgive those who hurt you can significantly improve both psychological well-being and physical health.
“Forgiveness is a topic that’s psychological, social and biological,” according to Loren Toussaint, PhD, a professor of psychology at Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa. “It’s the true mind-body connection.”
An article in the January issue of Monitor on Psychology, a publication of the American Psychological Association, summarizes the current state of forgiveness research like this:
Research has shown that forgiveness is linked to mental health outcomes such as reduced anxiety, depression and major psychiatric disorders, as well as with fewer physical health symptoms and lower mortality rates.
Despite the proven benefits it provides, forgiveness can still be a difficult concept for some people to embrace. It can feel unfair to have to put in the effort to forgive when the other person was the one in the wrong.
Dr. Robert Enright, whom Time magazine called “the forgiveness trailblazer“ because of his 30+ years of forgiveness research, agrees that life can be unfair.
“Without our deserving it, we can experience thunderous injustices. The injury was unfair, the person who created it was unfair,” Enright says. “But now we have a place for healing in forgiveness.”
Read the full article and learn more about the science of forgiveness, including Dr. Enright’s Process Model of Interpersonal Forgiving which is now being used around the world, at these links:
“Forgiveness can improve mental and physical health. Research shows how to get there.“ Monitor on Psychology, January 2017, Vol 48, No. 1
Dr. Enright’s research on forgiveness and forgiveness education; International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) website.
How to Forgive; Dr. Enright’s Process Model of Interpersonal Forgiveness, IFI website.
Why Forgive; The mental and physical benefits of forgiveness, IFI website.