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Why Forgiveness Is Great for Your Health

How learning to let go of resentment can reduce your risk.

It appears that there are more benefits to “letting it go” than you might realize.

All of us get hurt from time to time–but when we forgive, we often feel better about ourselves. As it turns out, recent scientific research indicates forgiveness improves our physical health as well.

In a new study in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers analyzed the mental and physical health of 148 young adults. As one might expect, a correlation was found between high-stress levels and more health problems. But the study also indicated that in cases where people showed forgiveness–of both themselves and others–the connection between stress and mental illness practically disappeared.

Loren Toussaint, an associate professor of psychology at Luther College in Iowa, authored the study. Speaking about that connection of stress to mental illness, he had this to say about the research in a recent interview with TIME magazine:

“It’s almost entirely erased–it’s statistically zero. If you don’t have forgiving tendencies, you feel the raw effects of stress in an unmitigated way. You don’t have a buffer against that stress.
…Forgiveness takes that bad connection between stress and mental illness and makes it zero. I think most people want to feel good and it offers you the opportunity to do that.”

So why does the act of forgiveness have such a great impact? Scientists aren’t exactly sure, but it could have to do with the following:

“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. It is believed that chronic anger puts an individual into a mode of “fight-or-flight”, resulting in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and the immune system.

Those changes, in turn, increase the risk for conditions like depression, heart disease, and diabetes. But it seems forgiveness can help to mitigate those stress levels.

What Forgiveness Is–and Isn’t

Forgiveness is more than lip service. “It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not,” says Swartz.

“The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life,” according to the Mayo Clinic. But “forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.”

When it comes to forgiving yourself, it’s important to remember that you mustn’t completely forget a mistake you’ve made, or refuse to learn from it. But you shouldn’t constantly relive that mistake, or insist on incessantly punishing yourself.

(It’s all about increasing your emotional intelligence, the subject of my upcoming book. If you’re interested in reading it, follow the launch by subscribing to my free monthly newsletter.)

How to Forgive

Of course, it can be hard to forgive–especially if we feel that another person has truly harmed us, maybe even intentionally.

The Mayo Clinic offers the following suggestions:

  • Consider the situation from the other person’s point of view.
  • Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
  • Reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who’ve forgiven you.
  • Be aware that forgiveness is a process and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.

Putting It into Practice

Hanging on to resentment could be likened to leaving a knife in a wound–in doing so, we refuse to give ourselves the chance to heal. We end up hurting ourselves the most, while the offending party moves on with his or her life.

In contrast, exercising forgiveness gives us the chance to move on, too.

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Story Source: The above story is based on materials originally published on inc.com. The original article was written by Justin Bariso. Images credit Getty Images.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

9 Signs You’re In A Relationship With A Con-Artist

I resolve to publish this short list as I found it on powerofpositivity.com because in my life experience I faced this situation. And I can say that the sooner you recognize that you are staying with a con artist the easier will be to come out. Consequences are often incredibly heavy. This happened to me since I had a trusted con-artist partner for a very long time. Thank heaven, this is gone now. Be careful and look at signals.

By the way, a con artist is a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true to get benefits and personal advantages.

Manipulation is the name of the game when you’re in a relationship with a con-artist. A con-artist is what we now call someone who used to be called a confidence artist. Let’s look at 9 telling signs that you’re in a relationship with a con-artist.

1. YOU HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM

A con artist often looks for an easy target. Someone who already has low self-esteem is an easy mark for them. They will use your low self-esteem to their advantage by telling you that they would love you more if ___. Do yourself a favor and leave this person immediately. True love is not conditional.

2. YOUR ROMANCE SWEPT YOU OFF YOUR FEET AT FIRST

Because they needed your undying devotion to them in order to rip you off, your con artist was a great romancer at the beginning of your relationship. However, things have changed now and there has been very little romantic action lately.

3. YOUR GUT INSTINCT IS TRYING TO SEND YOU A SIGNAL

That ‘Hmm, that was weird’ gut feeling happens more often to you in your relationship with a con artist than it ever did otherwise. Pay attention to that feeling because it’s sending you a signal that something’s wrong.

4. THE CON-ARTIST KEEPS YOU FROM SEEING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Someone rational who is removed form the relationship has the power to open your eyes to what is really happening with the con-artist’s behavior. As a result, the con-artist in your life will try to keep you from seeing these people who are a threat to their game. Do not let someone tell you who you can and cannot spend time with.

5. YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS ONE-SIDED

You are probably giving more to your partner than you are receiving. This can be in the form of love, emotional support, gifts, money, or time. If your partner does not reciprocate as often as you’d like them to, it could be a sign that you’re in a relationship with a con-artist.

6. YOU LACK CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE

If your con-artist has done a good job, they will take power away from you. You do not control the money, vehicles or power in the relationship. If you have to ask permission to go anywhere or buy anything, it is a warning sign that you’re in a relationship with a con artist.

7. YOU ARE A GIVER BY NATURE

The types of victims that con-artists look for are those in healing, nurturing, and socially responsible people. You want to help your fellow man and your con-artist is going to claim to need your help. They have targeted you based on your generous personality.

8. CONFLICTING STORIES DON’T ADD UP

Catching a con-artist in a lie means that they have to create another lie to cover their tracks. A con-artist is basically a narcissist and a sociopath; they only care about themselves and they do not feel sorry for their actions that hurt someone else.
In fact, a good con-artist is so good at avoiding feelings of guilt that they will often blame the victim for making them act this way. Author Tamar Frankel who wrote The Ponzi Scheme Puzzle: A History and Analysis of Con Artists and Victims says of con-artists: ‘They have an ego that can’t afford to be repentant, so they blame others. They blame the government, they blame the law, and they blame the victims. They also justify what they do as a protective measure’if they don’t cheat others, others will cheat them first.’

9. YOU HAVE TROUBLE REMEMBERING THE LAST TIME YOU FELT AT PEACE

All of the drama created by living with a con artist can wreck havoc on your emotional state. You likely have been feeling feel fear, anger and sadness more often than you feel moments of joy. Your con artist likes keeping you in an unhappy emotional state because you can be more easily manipulated that way.
According to fraudaid.com, only about 7% of scam victims report the crime. If you believe that your con-artist has stolen from you, do not be afraid to contact police to report the crime. A police trail may be one of the only ways to prevent other people from falling victim to this person’s games.

“Love brings self-confidence”: 7 quotes from His Holiness the Dalai Lama at TED2015

TED Blog

Dalai Lama in conversation with Chris Anderson. Dalai Lama in conversation with Chris Anderson.

On the final day of TED2015, Curator Chris Anderson reveals an exclusive video conversation between him and his Holiness the Dalai Lama, filmed in Vancouver in October 2014. In their talk, the Dalai Lama speaks about two kinds of happiness, how all humans can coexist, and the cooperation between science and Buddhism. And most important, that he is extremely hopeful about peace in the next century. Here are seven quotes we loved from him:

1. “Our very existence is very much based on hope.”

2. “Love brings self-confidence. Anger brings fear.”

3. “Real gun control must take place here [in the heart].”

4. “We are social animals. My future depends on [others]. Their suffering is ultimately your suffering.”

5. “In all major world religious traditions, their real message is same: the message of love.”

6. “The scientific way is the best way.”

7. “We…

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