Mental health is a popular topic today. Many people and related articles try to address the symptoms of poor mental health through different types of interventions, but as the old saying goes, “Prevention is the best medicine.” I would like to share with you one of the ways in which one can avoid (as long as it’s within your own ability) poor mental health.
Forgiveness is one way to support healthy mental wellbeing. Forgiveness is huge! According to research done by the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness brings plenty of health benefits, including improved relationships, decreased anxiety and stress, lower blood pressure, a lowered risk of depression, and stronger immune and heart health. Letting go of negative emotions can often have a remarkable impact on the body.
“A state of unforgiveness is like carrying a heavy burden — a burden that victims bring with them when they navigate the physical world,” the authors write. “Forgiveness can lighten this burden.” Jesus, when speaking about living a truly blessed life, put it this way, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”
Choosing our thoughts instead of giving them free reign is helpful in regulating our emotions. Emotions are based on the thought-to-thought/situation-to-situation context and can change so rapidly that they can leave you feeling dizzy and anxious! Choosing our thoughts can make a world of difference. As we choose how we think, it translates into words and actions that are helpful; our lives are transformed through positive habit forming behaviours and relationships.
Next time you find yourself feeling offended over something done or said about you, choose to release it as soon as possible and let go of the weight that accompanies the state of being unforgiving. Life will become more joyful, hopeful and filled with love.
From the desk of Fabio A. Frigole SSW, RSSW, Pastoral Ministry