How to Practice Forgiveness

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I recently came across a Weston A Price article that lists 20 dietary guidelines for better health. Twentieth on the list is the habit of practicing forgiveness. While this is different than the guideline to eat whole unprocessed food or full fat dairy, carrying around negative emotions can impact our health just as much. Harboring a grudge or carrying around anger can make us ill and hold us back from finding happiness. While being able to forgive is difficult to master, it can be learned if practiced over time.

 

Let’s face it, people are not always nice. Sometimes it is by choice and sometimes it’s not. Our first gut response to any type of pain, emotional or physical, is to protect ourselves. On the emotional level, this can be exhibited as placing blame, trying to get even or just carrying around a slow burning anger toward another person. Overtime, this negative energy will affect us physically, emotionally and even spiritually. In Buddhism, they compare being unforgiving to holding onto hot coals to throw at someone else. This is a perfect analogy in my eyes. Who is going to hurt more? Plus, this puts some serious stress on us mentally. To be unforgiving can cause hormonal imbalances and depletion of the chemicals we need to be happy. This long-term stress impacts our immune system as well as our cardiovascular system thus shortening our lifespan.

 

 All of us have been hurt at sometime in our life,  and while it’s difficult to forgive here are a few ideas to help get you started:

 

  1. Forgive someone as a gift to yourself and not as a gift to him or her. I think this is one of the most important things you can do. It will free you from the control you have given to that individual over your health and happiness. While this sounds a bit selfish, by releasing them you are letting go and not dwelling in the past. You can move forward and live a life of peace and happiness.

 

  1. Write it down. This is private and you can really let go of all the negative energy that has been created within yourself. This especially works if you no longer have contact with the person because of death or estrangement. This can be very cathartic and healing.

 

  1. Remember forgiveness doesn’t make it right or make it okay that the offense happened. Trying looking at it from the other person’s eyes. Maybe they are in need of practicing forgiveness of someone or something and are stuck in the negative energy of being unforgiving. To practice empathy and compassion is healing for our body and mind.

 

Forgiveness doesn’t only apply to a person. It can also apply to corporations, religions or any other number of things. Most commonly, it is on a person-to-person level that we encounter these offenses and thus harbor these feelings. This will take time and effort to work through so just take the first step and get started practicing if you are carrying around this heavy load. Free yourself to improve your health and live a long, happy life.

 

 

 

 

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Treves Janszen

Treves Janszen

Nutrition Coach at Thrive Fitness
Treves is a Level 1 Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition. She has been involved with fitness & nutrition for almost 10 years. Along with being a Nutrition Coach, Treves has 30+ years of healthcare experience as a Registered Nurse. In her spare time, Treves like to read, cook and lay by the pool (when it's sunny, of course!).
Treves Janszen