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Give Up the Grudge – For Your Heart

Originally published on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013
Heart Disease, HEART HEALTH by

heart diseaseSure, it’s harder than it sounds, but in order to protect your heart, you have to learn how to let go of the past. Holding a grudge can cause unnecessary stress which can lead to heart problems, including heart attack and stroke. If you want to improve your heart health, you need to learn how to let go and forgive those who have wronged you in the past.

Grudges and Stress

When someone that you care about hurts you, you may experience a variety of emotions including sadness, anger and confusion among others. When these feelings begin to over-take your life, vengeance and hostility can occur. These negative feelings can be overwhelming and can mask all of the positive aspects of your life. These negative feelings can impact your life in a drastic way.  Your life may be so wrapped up in the past that you can’t enjoy the present. These negative feelings can ultimately lead to stress if not dealt with properly. And stress can have a significant negative impact on your health, including your heart health.

Stress and Heart Problems

Un-managed stress, including the stress that comes from holding onto a grudge, can lead to emotional, psychological and physical problems, including heart problems. These heart problems can include high blood pressure, angina, and irregular heartbeats.

Forgive the Grudge for Heart Health

Forgiveness is an active decision that involves letting go of feelings of resentment and thoughts of revenge.  Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that you forget the act that hurt you, but it allows you to move forward without all of the negative feelings surrounding the past event. Forgiveness allows you to remember the hurtful event without experiencing feelings of resentment of revenge. According to the Mayo Clinic there are many benefits of forgiveness including healthier relationships, improved psychological well-being, decreased stress, anxiety and hostility, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression and lower levels of substance.

Recent Research on Forgiveness and Heart Health

Dr. Britta Larsen from The University of California, San Diego asked 202 participants to think about a time where a friend had offended them. Half of the participants were asked to remember the event and how it had angered them while the other half were asked to remember the event in a more forgiving way. All of the participants were then distracted for five minutes. After the five minutes distraction period, the participants were asked to remember the event in any way that they wanted to. Blood pressure and heart rate measurements for all of the participants were monitored. The results showed that the angry group of participants had the highest increase in blood pressure when asked to recall the situation. The same effect was seen even after having five minutes of distraction. No differences were seen in heart rate levels.  This research supports the idea that letting go and forgiving those that have wronged you in the past may help to reduce your chance of heart problems by lowering your blood pressure.

RELATED READING:
The Breakthrough Secret That Cleanses Your Arteries and Strengthens Your Heart

Forgiving a person that has wronged you in the past is a challenging process. However, no matter how difficult it may be, this process will be beneficial for your heart health in the long run. The Mayo Clinic breaks the forgiving process into four steps:

  1. Consider the value of forgiveness and the importance of it in your life
  2. Reflect on the hurtful situation
  3. Actively choose to forgive the person who wronged you
  4. Move away from your role as a victim in the situation

Going through this process will allow you to break free from the grudges that you’ve been carrying around and allow you to experience better heart health.

If you want to protect your heart health, forgiving those that have wronged you over the years is a good first step.  Letting your grudges go will help to decrease the stress that you’ve been experiencing and this will help to decrease your risk of heart problems. The forgiving process may be a long and difficult one, but your heart will thank you in the end.





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