How cultivating an attitude of forgiveness is great for your health
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Genuine forgiveness is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to another person. Being forgiven is an amazing relief for the individual and allows the relationship to forge ahead without any debilitating emotional baggage.

However, people often disregard the life-altering benefits that come with being someone who is able to practice forgiveness.

The ability to completely let go of resentment isn't just great for us psychologically. Our bodies and minds are so interconnected that being able to forgive has physical benefits as well.

What happens when we don't forgive?


"There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed," Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital says.

Living with deep-seated anger puts us in fight-or-flight mode that affects one's heart rate, blood pressure, and immune response. These negative physical states can, in turn, lead to diabetes, heart disease, PTSD, and depression.

This constant state of arousal takes its toll on the body. A Hope College study found that holding onto a grudge leads to higher physiological activity — facial muscle tension, heart rate, blood pressure, and sweating — compared with having forgiven.

So there is a lot of truth to the saying that "resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

via Felix Koutchinski / Unsplash


Learn more about the science behind forgiveness from David Pruder's "Psychiatry and Psychotherapy" podcast.

What happens to us when we are able to forgive?

In addition to relinquishing the debilitating resentment, research shows that those who are able to forgive others are also more likely to forgive themselves.

"One barrier people face in forgiving themselves is that they feel they deserve to feel bad. Our study found that making amends gives us permission to let go," study researcher Thomas Carpenter, of Baylor University's College of Arts & Sciences, said in a statement.

Being in a constant state of anger with oneself takes a huge physical and psychological toll.

"It weakens you emotionally and makes your body more vulnerable to sickness and disease by compromising your immune system," Dr. John H. Sklare writes at Everyday Health.

There's a wealth of evidence that shows cultivating an attitude of forgiveness is a powerful way to become healthier mentally, physically, and spiritually. But that can only happen when our forgiveness is genuine.

via Gus Moretta / Unsplash


Practicing true forgiveness

Andrea Brandt Ph.D. believes that true forgiveness begins with being "willing" to forgive. Then, after rigorously accessing the incident we can begin to accept our feelings and reactions.

"Acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result of what happened. What did it make you learn about yourself, or about your needs and boundaries?" she writes in Psychology Today.

Next, consider the needs of the person we're willing to forgive: "What do you think this need was and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way?" she asks.

The final step is to decide whether or not to tell them they're forgiven.

Swartz says we all have the power to forgive, we just have to make the choice to do so.

"It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not," Swartz says. Once we begin to release our anger, hostility, and resentment, feelings of empathy and compassion will begin to take root.

However, Brandt says it's just as important to realize what forgiveness doesn't mean. It's not a pardon or excusing another's actions. It doesn't mean you shouldn't have any more feelings about the situation or that the relationship is miraculously healed.

"By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it," Brandt wrote in Psychology Today.

So now the big question remains: Who are you willing to forgive?

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Terence Power / TikTok

A video of a busker in Dublin, Ireland singing "You've Got a Friend in Me" to a young boy with autism is going viral because it's just so darn adorable. The video was filmed over a year ago by Terence Power, the co-host of the popular "Talking Bollox Podcast."

It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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via Ken Lund / Flickr

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The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

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