December 11, 2023

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The Power of Forgiveness: Enhancing Well-Being and Mental Health

What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance towards a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. It's not about forgetting or excusing the harm done, but rather about letting go of the grip that the negative emotions have on you. Forgiveness involves a deep process of healing and understanding, often leading to feelings of empathy, compassion, and sometimes even love for the one who hurt you.

Why We Should Forgive

The decision to forgive is often more for yourself than for the person who wronged you. Holding onto anger, resentment, or hatred is like carrying an emotional burden that can weigh you down. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is liberating. It allows you to move past the pain and hurt, frees you from the toxic emotions associated with holding a grudge, and can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy, and compassion.

The Well-Being Benefits of Forgiveness

Forgiving others can lead to a host of psychological and physiological benefits. These include lower levels of anxiety, depression, and major psychiatric disorders, as well as better sleep and lower heart rate. Studies have shown that the act of forgiveness can elevate mood, enhance optimism, and guard against anger, stress, anxiety, and depression.

Forgiveness' Link to Ill Health

Harbouring feelings of resentment and non-forgiveness can have a detrimental impact on physical health. It can lead to increased stress, which affects the body in various ways, including high blood pressure, diminished immune system function, and increased risk of heart attacks. Letting go of grudges and bitterness can lead to healthier relationships, greater mental health, lower levels of stress and anxiety, reduced risk of alcohol and substance abuse, and improved heart health.

Forgiveness in the Workplace

In the context of the workplace, forgiveness can play a crucial role in maintaining harmonious relationships. It can help resolve conflicts, enhance team performance, reduce stress, and promote a positive work environment. Forgiving and moving on from workplace grievances can lead to better collaboration, improved morale, and increased job satisfaction.

Forgiveness in the Workplace

Forgiveness Reduces Depression

The act of forgiving can be a powerful tool in combatting depression. It aids in the release of emotions tied to past hurt and trauma, which are often underlying factors in depression. By letting go of these negative emotions, individuals can experience a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression, leading to an overall improvement in their mental health and quality of life.

Forgiveness and Mental Health

Forgiveness is intrinsically linked to mental health. It can reduce the burden of stress and anxiety, mitigate symptoms of depression, and lead to a healthier, happier life. By releasing the hold that anger and resentment have on your mind, forgiveness opens the door to healing and mental well-being, promoting a sense of peace, contentment, and overall psychological resilience. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance both mental and physical well-being. By choosing to forgive, you are choosing to prioritize your own peace and happiness, paving the way for a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Forgiveness and Mental Health

Take Action Now!

Make a list of the things and persons you need to forgive at work or in your personal life. Start by writing them a letter that you have no intention to send. In this letter, you should tell them how their action or inaction affected you and let them know that you will no longer hold onto their hurtful action, so you have chosen to let it go and them too if you no longer need them in your life.

Sometimes, we even need to forgive ourselves, so go ahead and write yourself a letter explaining why you need to forgive and move past your hurtful act to yourself or someone else. Give yourself permission to release yourself from this hurt today. Let me know how it went.

To Your Wellness,

About the author

Joyce Odidison is a Coach, Mediator, Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, and Thought Leader of the groundbreaking Well-being Intelligence Curriculum. With a career spanning over 27 years as a Conflict Analyst, Professional Trainer, University Lecturer, and Master Certified Coach, Joyce helps organizations solve difficult challenges and transition into psychologically safe workspaces that promotes inclusiveness and well-being. As President and CEO of Interpersonal Wellness Services Inc., she has designed transformative training sessions and curricula for her clients, as well as some offered exclusively through her company, such as the Global Workplace Wellness Summit and an ICF Approved Coach Training program. She can be reached at

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