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Why Forgiveness is Key To Managing Stress

August 25, 20235 min read

Why Forgiveness is Key to Managing Stress

Unraveling the True Meaning of Forgiveness and Its Importance

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is often misunderstood as the absence of pain or an invitation for the offender to re-enter your life. However, it's far from that. Forgiveness is about releasing your anger and resentment. It's not about benefiting the offender but about bringing peace to yourself. It's about letting go of thoughts of revenge, pain, and bitterness so you can move forward without that burden (Greater Good Science Center, 2023). 

Why is Forgiveness Difficult?

Forgiving someone, especially when you've been deeply hurt, is not easy. We often build walls to protect ourselves from further hurt, but these walls can lead to isolation and prevent us from healing and growing. They may block out painful memories and repeat offenders, but they also block your peace and God's love (Buju & Jugrin, 2021). 

The Bible makes it very clear, “The Bible tells us, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don't forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). 

The Importance of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is crucial for our well-being. Holding onto resentment can lead to chronic stress, causing health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and weakened immune systems. Forgiveness helps release these negative emotions, leading to a reduction in stress and an improvement in physical health. It also improves our existing relationships and social support system (Miller, 2013). 

The Path to Forgiveness: A Guide to Healing

How to Forgive

Forgiveness is an act of faith that requires us to trust God to deal with those who hurt us. Praying for the person who has hurt us shows God we have truly forgiven them for their mistake and sincerely wish the best for them. Lastly, letting go of negative emotions and not dwelling on them is crucial (Binmin Institute, n.d.). 

According to The ABCs of Christian Forgiveness: An 8-Step Approach by Binmin Institute, forgiveness is a conscious decision that involves allowing your mind to control your emotions, not the other way around, and not allowing your emotions to rule over you. The article also outlines eight steps to practice forgiveness, which are: (Binmin Institute, n.d.). 

A: Acknowledge the offense and the offender

B: Be honest about your feelings

C: Confess your feelings to God and a trusted person

D: Decide to forgive

E: Extend grace and mercy to the offender

F: Forgive yourself

G: Grow in Christlikeness

H: Hope for reconciliation

The Role of Prayer in Forgiveness

Prayer plays a significant role in the process of forgiveness. It can be a source of comfort, guidance, and strength during this challenging journey. Whether it's a prayer for healing, a morning prayer, or a prayer for peace, it can help you navigate through the process of forgiveness.

Importantly, prayer can facilitate forgiveness by increasing empathy, reducing negative emotions, enhancing self-control, and promoting a sense of connection with God and others (Rye & McCabe, 2014). 

The Impact of Forgiveness on Your Life

Forgiveness isn't easy, but it's crucial for our well-being. It opens us up to healthy, fulfilling connections and God's abundance. It brings peace, contentment, and a sense of emotional well-being.

KEY UNDERSTANDING: Forgiveness can reduce chronic stress by decreasing unforgiveness, which is a negatively perceived emotion that activates the stress response and leads to stress-related health challenges (Strelan & Van Tongeren, 2019). 

Five Key Ways Forgiveness Helps Manage Stress

  1. Forgiveness can break the cycle of rumination and resentment that fuels chronic stress, by letting go of negative emotions and offering something positive toward the person who hurt you

  2. Forgiveness can lower blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular reactivity, improve sleep quality, decrease depression, and increase existential well-being, by enhancing the mind-body connection and promoting physical and mental health.

  3. Forgiveness can increase empathy, compassion, and understanding for the person who harmed you, by seeing them as a human being who is also flawed and in need of grace.

  4. Forgiveness can enhance self-control and self-esteem, by allowing you to focus on yourself and your goals, rather than being controlled by the person who hurt you or your past.

  5. Forgiveness can facilitate reconciliation and social support, by restoring or improving relationships with others who are important to you, or finding new connections with people who share your values and beliefs.

Conclusion

Forgiveness is a powerful tool that can lead to healing and peace. It's not about forgetting the pain or inviting the offender back into your life. It's about releasing your anger and resentment and moving forward without the burden of these negative emotions. It's about opening yourself up to God's love and peace.

Struggling with forgiveness? Stuck in chronic stress leading to chronic health challenges? 

We're here to help. Request a Free Strategy Call today to discuss our my framework can lead you to a happy, healthy life. 

CLICK HERE to call now. 



Brooklyn 

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Reference: 

Binmin Institute. (n.d.). The ABCs of Christian forgiveness: An 8-step approach. https://binmin.org/abcs-christian-forgiveness/.

Buju, S., & Jugrin, D. (2021). A Christian model of forgiveness. An analysis from the perspective of modern psychological theories. International Journal of Education and Psychology in the Community, 11(1 & 2), 47-71. http://www.marianjournals.com/files/IJEPC_articles/Vol_11_no_1_and_2_2021/Buju_Jugrin_IJEPC_2021_1_2_47_71.pdf.

Greater Good Science Center. (2023). Forgiveness definition | What is forgiveness. Greater Good. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/forgiveness/definition

Miller, E. (2013, February 21). Forgiveness in the Bible and in pop psychology. Christian Research Institute. https://www.equip.org/articles/forgiveness-in-the-bible-and-in-pop-psychology/.

Rye, M. S., & McCabe, C. F. (2014). Religion and forgiveness of others. In C. Kim-Prieto (Ed.), Religion and spirituality across cultures (pp. 293-312). Springer. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-017-8950-9_16.

Strelan, P., & Van Tongeren, D. W. (2019). “Mere” Christian forgiveness: An empirical investigation of C.S. Lewis’s theology of forgiveness. Religions, 10(1), 44. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010044.



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Brooklyn Hanna

Brooklyn is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Cognitive Behavioral Coach, and Registered Nurse who specializes in brain retraining. Nick is a Certified Christian Life Coach who also specializes in brain retraining. Brooklyn got hit with over 20 chronic symptoms after toxic mold exposure as well as various other stressors. She went to dozens of doctors, both conventional and natural. She had some improvements with functional medicine: running labs, detox, supplement protocols, etc. but she knew something was missing because she was not seeing the result she desired. She then discovered brain rewiring/neuroplasticity and went “all in” giving it her 100% focus. Out of all of the things she has tried she says brain retraining has made the biggest impact in reversing many chronic symptoms, leading to her recovery! Brooklyn created her own brain retraining program called Limbic System Rewire to help others rewire their brain for health, happiness, and Christ. Through this whole journey, Nick has been by her side and has seen it all. Nick has watched her life be completely transformed through brain rewiring and Christ. He has always had a deep desire to come alongside and help people, so Brooklyn trained Nick on her Limbic System Rewire program. They are now helping others walk in spirit and deepen their relationship with Christ and use neuroplasticity skills to balance the nervous system.

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