Growing up, many of us were taught to forgive others because it’s the right thing to do. We were also told it would make us feel emotionally better in the long run.
As it turns out, letting go of resentment and anger may also do wonders for our physical health. And it starts where we spend about a third of our lives — in the bedroom.
Many people have trouble sleeping. In fact, some experience insomnia every night. According to a survey published in Psychology & Health in July, one of the reasons for this might be holding grudges.
Led by Luther College professor Loren Toussaint, a group of researchers surveyed 1,423 U.S. adults to search for a connection between forgiveness and improved sleep.
Participants were asked to rate their quality of sleep, willingness to forgive themselves and others, current health, and overall life satisfaction. The results indicated that the higher someone’s propensity for forgiveness is, the more likely they are to not only sleep better, but to also be healthier and more satisfied with life.
It makes sense when you think about it. As the researchers explained, people who have a tough time forgiving others tend to hold on to stress-inducing emotions like anger, sadness, and disappointment. And all of those can have a negative effect on us in the long-term.
While self-reported patterns can’t prove the connection between forgiveness and better sleep, we all know a calm mind makes slumber easier. So resolving our resentment toward others is definitely worth a try for those of us who often find ourselves lying awake in bed.
As the researchers pointed out, “If forgiveness of others and self-forgiveness can help people cope with the day’s psychological and emotional burdens … then they support the health-related process of sleep in meaningful ways.”
Let’s all keep this information in mind, even when we are sleeping well. Everyone deserves forgiveness!
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