reduce stress

Learning to Forgive Can Reduce Stress

By Eryka T. Johnson

Did you know that forgiveness can reduce stress and help you live a happier life?  Yes, it has a wonderful power to free your heart and ease your mind. Not only do you get a better rest at night but you also have more productive days. In this article, we will discuss how learning to forgive can reduce stress.

Think about it for a moment. What are some of the stresses that come along with dealing with offence? I can think of a few…

  • You feel like you are in a prison.
  • You shelter your heart.
  • You stop speaking to the person that hurt you.
  • You avoid the person that hurt you at all cost.
  • You try to get others to take your side.
  • You feel like you cannot trust anyone.
  • And, the list goes on…

The pressure is so heavy. You may believe that you are doing what’s best for you to protect yourself, but really you are only giving up your freedom. You stop being who you were created to be to now live a guarded life because someone else offended you.  

I can recall a time when there was an individual in my life that I was unforgiving towards. My interactions with her always seemed negative and often ended many times with me taking offense to things she said. After every conversation, I would literally replay it in my mind. It got so crazy that I would dream about our interactions and wake up mad in the morning. Not to mention, there would be a heavy pressure weighing on my chest.

I began obsessing about this person until I despised her and everything about her. I could not stand looking at her and the sound of her voice made me cringe. Ultimately, I did not want to be around her nor did I want anyone that I loved around her. I was consumed in unforgiveness. In fact, I was in so deep that I allowed it to direct my actions.

Now, the greatest book ever written, The Bible, is full of stories about the power of forgiveness. It also gives clear instruction about forgiveness in our interaction with others. The Bible says it this way…

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14, NLT)

At the end of the day, forgiveness is for you and helps to reduce the stress in your life by keeping you from finding new things to worry about.

Here are a few effects of forgiveness when it comes to reducing stress:

Forgiveness cleans your heart and removes any condemnation.

When you decide to let go, you are literally wiping things clean. This results in no need to bring the offense back up or even to worry about it any longer. Your heart is now open to love that person again and possibly repair the relationship should you need to do so.

Forgiveness replaces bad thoughts.

It clears your conscious and your thoughts are no longer consumed with hate or evil. Those thoughts that could keep you up at night are now gone allowing you to have a more peaceful rest at night.

Forgiveness restores your good energy.

The tension or war going on inside of you is now gone. All that bad energy that consumed you is replaced with good energy. This energy allows your creativity as well to be released again.

If you are in need of a good night’s rest, try forgiving those who have offended you in the past. It will certainly feel good and you will enjoy a happier life in the grand scheme of things.

Can you think of any other ways that forgiveness can reduce stress? Please share below.

Eryka T. Johnson