Why it is important
Forgiveness is associated with increased physical and mental health and marital satisfaction, whereas blaming and revenge have been found to correlate with poorer mental health, criminality, poor recovery from bereavement and poor health outcomes. Forgiving persons have less anger, anxiety, depression, and hostility. People who forgive generally experience increases in hope and self-esteem. The ability to forgive increases well-being. Forgiveness may produce beneficial effects such as reduced stress, lowered levels of blood pressure and less rumination. Forgiving persons may even perform better on physically challenging tasks.
Resentment and bitterness on the other side consumes energy that could be used for more constructive tasks. Resentments cause us to develop expectations that others in the future will harm us as we have been harmed by people in the past. This can cause us to erect defensive walls that prevent us from developing deep friendships. Unforgiveness keeps us from being reconciled to significant others in our lives. Unforgiveness can cause us to feel guilty for not being willing to let go of our resentment and bitterness.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
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Category: Emotional healthResearch
-  Henry A. Virkler, Ph.D (2002) Healing the Hurts We Didn’t Deserve: Recovering from Childhood or Adult Abuse, Palm Beach Atlantic University.
-  Exline, J.J. & Baumeister, R. (2000). Expressing forgiveness and repentance: Benefits and barriers. In M.E. McCullough, K.I. Pargament & C.E. Thoresen (Eds), Forgiveness: Theory, research and practice (p. 133 - 155). New York: Guilford. View
-  Enright, R. D., & Coyle, C. T. (1998). Researching the process model of forgiveness within psychological interventions. In E. L. Worthington, Jr. (Ed.), Dimensions of forgiveness: Psychological research and theological perspectives (pp. 139-161). Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press.
-  Bono, G., McCullough, M. E., & Root, L. M. (2008). Forgiveness, feeling connected to others, and well-being: Two longitudinal studies. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 182-195. View
-  Lawler, K. A., Younger, J. W., Piferi, R. L., Billington, E., Jobe,R., Edmondson, K., and Jones, W. H. (2003). A change ofheart: Cardiovascular correlates of forgiveness in response tointerpersonal conflict.J. Behav. Med.26: 373–393 View
-  McCullough, M. E., Bono, G., & Root, L. M. (2007). Rumination, emotion, and forgiveness: Three longitudinal studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 490-505. View
-  Tsang, J., McCullough, M. E., & Fincham, F. (2006). The longitudinal association between forgiveness and relationship closeness and commitment. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 25, 448-472 View
-  Berry, Jack W., and Everett L. Jr. Worthington. "Forgivingness, Relationship Quality, Stress While Imagining Relationship Events, and Physical and Mental Health." Journal of Counseling Psychology 48, no. 4 (2001): 447-55. doi:10.1037//0022-018.104.22.1687. View
-  Fehr, R., Gelfand, M.J., Narayanan, J., Tai, K., & Zheng, X.. (2014). The Unburdening Effects of Forgiveness: Effects on Slant Perception and Jumping Height. View
-  Berry, J. W., Worthington, E. L., Parrott, L., O'Connor, L. E., & Wade, N. G. (2001). Dispositional forgivingness: Development and construct validity of the Transgression Narrative Test of Forgiveness (TNTF). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1277-1290.
-  Maltby, J., Macaskill, A., & Day, L. (2001). Failure to forgive self and others: A replication and extension of the relationship between forgiveness, personality, social desirability and general health. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 881-885