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Surprising Science

Letting Go of Grudges Boosts Health

When we are in a state of unforgiveness, we hold on to negative emotions that adversely affect the healing process, says professor of philosophy and stress management Rita Schiano.

What’s the Latest Development?

Recent research suggests there are tangible health benefits to letting go of grudges. A study conducted at the Duke University Medical Center found that people living with H.I.V. who truly forgave someone who had hurt them in the past showed positive changes in their immune status. But how can one turn past transgressions into yesterday’s news? Professor of philosophy and stress management at Bay Path College, Rita Schiano suggests answering ten questions she has formulated to help people better understand why they hold grudges even though it affects them adversely. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Professor Schiano is a member of the positive psychology movement, a school of modern psychology pioneered by Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania. Rather than focus on curing psychological illnesses, which has been the primary goal of modern psychology subsequently concentrating its resources on negative characteristics of the human psyche, positive psychology examines the potential for emotional strength and happiness that humans have. When we learn to let go of our grudges, we begin to take responsibility for our own happiness, attaining a higher sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. 


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