Forgiveness can help you feel better, and even lengthen your life.

When you forgive someone, you make the choice to give up your desire for revenge and feelings of resentment. You also stop judging the person who caused you the hurt.  Instead of revenge, resentment, and judgment, you show generosity, compassion, and kindness.  In forgiveness, you don’t forget that the offense occurred nor do you excuse it. You substitute your negative with positive feelings, thoughts, and behavior (Enright et al., 1998). 

Some people are naturally forgiving, both toward others and themselves. It’s easier for them to respond to any specific act of the person who’s committed the offense.  Those who don’t have this ability may find it more difficult to grant forgiveness when they’ve hurt or harmed, but it is possible for them to do so, depending on the situation.

Watch a video of Dr.  Sadaqat Ali talks about thinking patterns
Dr.  Sadaqat Ali talks about thinking patterns

susan-krauss-whitbourneSusan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., is currently a professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The author of over 160 refereed articles and book chapters and 16 books (many in multiple editions and translations), her most recent popular work is The Search for Fulfillment (January 2010, Ballantine Books)

Editor:  Nadeem Pasha

Recent research on the health benefits of forgiveness shows that people who can make this mental shift may benefit in ways they didn’t anticipate—namely, by living longer. In a study aptly called “Forgive to Live,” Luther College psychologist Loren Toussaint and colleagues investigated the relationships among forgiveness, religiousness, spirituality, health, and mortality in a national U.S. sample of 1500 adults age 66 and older. The study, published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, was the first to test the benefits of forgiveness to a long life.


Because the questions about religiosity and spirituality were specific to the Christian faith, Toussaint and colleagues restricted their sample to current and former Christians and nonreligious individuals.  The original sample was followed up 3 years after they first participated, which allowed the researchers to determine whether earlier religious and forgiveness beliefs predicted later health problems and mortality.

Watch a video of Dr.  Sadaqat Ali on the topic leaving the bad habits.
Dr.  Sadaqat Ali talks about Leaving bad habits