Psychology of Forgiveness: 10+ Fascinating Research Findings - Deepstash
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Research Findings

Research Findings

There may be moments in life where we hold a lot of anger and resentment.

These grievances should be dealt with, as they offer only a lifetime of hurt.

No matter how enormous the pain may feel, it is possible to let go and forgive.

Forgiveness is good for the soul, and it has positive benefits on our mental and physical wellbeing.


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Pain in life is inevitable. Suffering, on the other hand, is optional.



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The Science Behind Forgiveness

The Science Behind Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a process, whilst the duration and difficulty will vary significantly, it can be equally applied to all levels of pain.

Dr Frederic Luskin found from his research that forgiveness training helps people:

  • Feel significantly less hurt
  • Learn techniques for forgiveness
  • Forgive the person who has caused them pain


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If I develop bad feelings toward those who make me suffer, this will only destroy my own peace of mind. But if I forgive, my mind becomes calm.



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Positive Psychology Research

Positive Psychology Research

Forgiveness is essential for a fully functional society.

Medically speaking, there does not appear to be any downside to forgiveness.

It is clear from ongoing research that forgiveness of day to day incidental issues and longer term grudges, offers prolonged physical, emotional and spiritual healing.


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Forgiveness is perhaps the most challenging of all the resources available to us - and the most transformational.



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1. Acceptance 🤲

Acceptance shifts the balance.

Your view of what is happening alters.

You separate the pain that is inevitable from the suffering that is optional.

To forgive, you must accept the past.

You don't need to like it, but it has happened - and cannot be undone.


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2. Emotional Regulation Label

Research shows that you cannot suppress negative emotions. So become aware of your emotions, recognize and label them, and interrupt and calm your response.

An important factor for forgiveness is that you need to be aware of the hurt, anger and grief you may be facing.


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3. Shifting Perspectives 👀

Cease to be a slave to your selfish narrative by taking a step back and shift your perspective so you may observe your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations.

Observing anger is not the same as being angry.

Mindfulness practices provide a practical path to shifting your perspective to allow you to see that your experiences do not define who you are.


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4. Empathy And Compassion 💞

Putting your self in someone else's shoes, can be incredibly helpful on the path to forgiveness.

Empathy is powerful at understanding the pain of another.

Compassion encourages you to take action needed to reduce that suffering.


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5. Responsibility Check

Be accountable for yourself, own your actions, thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Instead of reacting with fear and running away, or denying you have any power over whats happening, you must take action to avoid recurring harmful behaviour.

Recognise unhealthy behaviours, without judgement, and take responsibility.


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Benefits Of Forgiveness

Benefits Of Forgiveness

The process of forgiveness helps you to remove emotional barriers to finding happiness.

Forgiveness provides vital benefits to your mental and physical wellbeing such as a reduction in:

  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Pain.

Increases and improvements in:

  • Compassion
  • Hope
  • Immune response
  • Self confidence


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Forgiveness provides us with a powerful path to reduce our suffering and bring greater dignity and harmony to our life.



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Tools For Forgiveness

Tools For Forgiveness

Use good feelings to focus on the positives.

A rude comment from someone in a store should not outweigh the beauty of the sunshine or the joy in seeing your child doing something new.

The TV remote is used as a metaphor for choosing the channel we watch on a day to day basis. Rather than remain on the grievance channel, we must regularly tune in to what is right in our lives.



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Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique (PERT)

Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique (PERT)

When a painful experience hits us, we need something immediate.

PERT can be performed in less than a minute, discreetly returning you to a state of calm, restore control, and prepare you to make useful decisions.

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit and focus on your breath, inhaling and exhaling.
  2. On the third breath, focus on someone you love.
  3. Breathe gently, maintain focus, experiencing the emotions deeply.
  4. Ask yourself what you can do to overcome the present difficulty.


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Final Message

Final Message

Forgiveness frees us from the pain we hold so close that it damages our physical and mental wellbeing, along with our happiness.

Bad things can't always be prevented, you have the choice on how you respond and shape your life for the better.


138 reads



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