Jamaica Observer, Kingston, Jamaica, W.I. – An unforgiving attitude can cause anxiety, depression, anger, insomnia, and physical pain.
Those are the conclusions of a major research project entitled “Effects of lifetime stress exposure on mental and physical health in young adulthood: How stress degrades and forgiveness protects health.“ A summary of the study was published in 2014 in the Journal of Health Psychology.
The researchers discovered that in those persons who exhibited the character trait of being highly forgiving, of both themselves and others, the connection between stress and mental illness was almost eliminated.
“When you forgive someone who has hurt you, you are literally taking back control of your life, and that simple yet difficult act delivers some positive pay-offs such as improved self-esteem, less anger, anxiety, and depression,” according to Dr. Jacqueline Campbell, a family physician who wrote the article for the Jamaica Observer. “Anger is a valuable emotion in that it can aid us in defining our personal boundaries; however, long-term and/or unresolved anger can literally burn out the body and soul.”
The undeniable conclusion, Dr. Campbell says, is that forgiveness is one of the cornerstones of living a peaceful and purposeful life.
The study researchers, all psychology professors from three different US universities, relied in part for their findings on Dr. Robert Enright’s book Exploring Forgiveness that he compiled together with Joanna North.
Read more: “Forgive them” in the Jamaica Observer.