Date of this Version
Forgiveness is a character strength and process that, when practiced, is associated with improved psychological well-being, physical health outcomes, and longevity. Forgiveness can serve as a protective factor that buffers against poor health and psychological consequences. Common misconceptions about forgiveness can serve as barriers to the desire to cultivate this protective strength, as forgiveness is often conflated with permissiveness, and perceived as permission for a transgressor to engage in hurtful conduct. The benefits of forgiveness, however, are most significant for the individual who has been transgressed, rather than the transgressor. Failing to forgive, or unforgiveness, is the practice of engaging in ruminative thoughts of anger, vengeance, hate, and resentment that have unproductive outcomes for the ruminator, such as increased anxiety, depression, elevated blood pressure, vascular resistance, decreased immune response, and worse outcomes in coronary artery disease. Practicing forgiveness enables the transgressed individual to reduce their engagement in rumination thus reducing their experience of anger, resentment, and hate. Forgiveness, then, is a pathway to psychological well-being and health outcomes.
forgiveness, positive psychology, health, well-being, choice, longevity, positive medicine, rumination, unforgiveness
Forgiveness, Well-being, Strengths and Virtues, Health/Wellness, Humanities
Alternative and Complementary Medicine Commons, Clinical and Medical Social Work Commons, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Commons, Immunology and Infectious Disease Commons, Medical Humanities Commons, Medical Immunology Commons, Other Medical Specialties Commons, Other Medicine and Health Sciences Commons, Other Mental and Social Health Commons, Other Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons, Preventive Medicine Commons, Social Work Commons
Date Posted: 08 September 2017