FORGIVENESS & When it comes to forgiveness, faith and science agree on the benefits. Across dozens of scientific studies in diverse contexts, the physical and mental health benefits of forgiveness have been validated. See links here.

by Azza Karam,  Andrew Serazin, Religion News Service, 10/24/22.

(RNS) — Forgiveness is an age-old practice central to the teaching of many of the world’s religions. In Islam, forgiveness suggests alignment with Allah. In Judaism, acts of atonement — or Teshuva — are expected for wrongdoing. In Christianity, forgiveness is unconditional, by loving one’s enemies as oneself.

… When it comes to the transformative power of forgiveness, scientists and faith leaders agree on its benefits for long-term mental and physical health. It is clear that the ability to forgive — to transform anger and resentment into hope and healing — can indeed be a restorative and healing act requiring faith. But forgiveness is also backed by an ever-growing body of scientific evidence, one that refines and extends our faith in new ways

… We now know that to receive the most powerful benefits of forgiveness, it requires both the head and heart. Decisional forgiveness, which accesses the cognitive centers of the brain, must be accompanied by emotional forgiveness, which involves a full range of affective consequences.  In addition, over the past two decades research has delivered high-quality evidence that forgiveness improves overall health and well-being, down-regulates the body’s stress response and improves cardiovascular outcomes. 

And for those whose ability to forgive may not be as automatic, scientific knowledge based on tested interventions can support the work of spiritual leaders who seek to help their communities with their forgiveness journeys. Likewise, scientific research has engaged directly with aspects of faith, demonstrating through empirical studies how belief can enhance a person’s ability to forgive.

Read more at … https://religionnews.com/2022/10/24/when-it-comes-to-forgiveness-faith-and-science-agree-on-the-benefits/?

FORGIVENESS & According to Research Here’s The Best Way To Forgive And Forget

by Emma Young, British Psychological Society, 5/4/21.

… Now a new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, led by Saima Noreen at De Montfort University, specifically investigates how different types of forgiveness towards an offender can help people who are intentionally trying to forget an unpleasant incident.

As the name implies, “intentional forgetting” involves actively trying to suppress memories of an unpleasant experience. Recent studies have suggested that this lessens the associated negative emotions. Forgiveness has been more extensively investigated, and there is work finding that forgiving the perpetrator helps(though of course not all victims feel able or willing to forgive, and forgiveness is not an essential component of recovery).

Noreen and her colleagues set out to explore possible interactions between intentional forgetting and “decisional” vs “emotional” forgiveness. Decisional forgiveness is making the decision to forgive the perpetrator, and not to seek revenge — indeed, even to make efforts to maintain a relationship — but while still bearing a grudge. In contrast, emotional forgiveness involves getting rid of negative emotions towards the perpetrator and replacing them with positive ones.

…The team found that participants in the emotional forgiveness group showed greater forgetting of the detail, though not the gist, of the offence than the other groups. These participants also reported feeling more psychological distance from the offence.

The team’s analysis revealed that for these participants, emotional, but not decisional, forgiveness was associated with greater forgetting of the detail of the original transgression (though again not the gist of it). It was also associated with a shift to reporting feeling more forgiveness for the perpetrator.

“Collectively, our findings suggest that the act of emotional forgiveness leads to a transgression becoming more psychologically distant, such that victims will construe the event at a higher and more abstract level,” the team writes. (In other words, retaining the gist, but not all the detail). “This high-level construal, in turn, promotes larger intentional forgetting effects, which, in turn, promote increased emotional forgiveness,” they go on.

Read more at … https://digest.bps.org.uk/2021/05/04/heres-the-best-way-to-forgive-and-forget/#more-41993