Forgive, Forget, and Improve Your Blood Pressure!
To err is human, to forgive is divine- or so they say. Well, new research shows that not only is forgiving divine, it could be good for your health as well. Forgiving and forgetting is a mantra that could be good for both relationships and health. The new blood pressure study published in the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine shows a link in blood pressure and anger.
Those wondering if anger causes high blood pressure have a new reason to forgive, especially if you’re trying to figure out how to lower blood pressure.
Could Holding a Grudge Cause High Blood Pressure?
The research providing this new blood pressure information was conducted at the University of California, San Diego and led by Dr. Britta Larsen. To measure the link between blood pressure and anger, they took 200 volunteers and asked them to think about a time where they were offended by a friend. Half of the volunteers were instructed to think about how much the occasion offended them, and the other half were asked to look at what happened in a more forgiving light.
After this, the volunteers were distracted for five minutes, and then asked to think about the event again; except they could in any way they wanted. All the while, participants were hooked up to monitors that measured blood pressure levels and heart rate.
Anger and Blood Pressure Study Results
After the first session of ruminating, they found that the angrier group saw more of an increase in blood pressure than group who were asked to forgive. They saw the same effect even after giving participants five minutes to cool down. They saw no difference in heart rate.
Though the study was small, it could mean the holding onto anger is one of the causes of high blood pressure. The team concluded that in stressful events, forgiving could “lower reactivity.” That’s not all. They even said that letting go of anger could offer sustained protection from physical impact.
Forgiveness in Relationships and Your Health
It may seem hard to forgive once wronged by a friend, family member or even lover, but a grudge, even one that is under the surface, could unravel a relationship with someone you care about. However, many tend to be stubborn and or pent their anger up, so the best way to go is probably to be open about your feelings and talk it out with whoever offended you.
A healthy blood pressure is important as well. High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases heart attack and stroke risk. Many adults are affected by it, though a high percentage of those don’t even know it.
If anger gets too out of control, it may be wise to look into counseling for both personal and health reasons. If you can help it, though, just follow the common mantra- forgive and forget. Your friends and body will thank you!