Not just good for the soul

When Oscar Wilde exhorted us (probably tongue-in-cheek) to “always forgive your enemies, because nothing annoys them so much,” the Irish poet and playwright was focused on how others would respond.

But the real benefits of forgiveness might be better viewed with a more selfish eye. Whether we’re bitter after an argument with a partner, a misunderstanding with a family member, or a spat with a friend, holding on to anger and resentment can do more than tax our souls — it can harm our health, Harvard experts say. And this is true even when it comes to weightier offenders, such as a sabotaging colleague or an unfaithful spouse.

A new Harvard-led study builds on earlier research that teases out the effects of this most human of actions, suggesting forgiveness boosts our mental well-being by reducing anxiety and depression. The results add to other recent evidence that it can also ease stress, improve sleep, and lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Source: Not just good for the soul – Harvard Health

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