It seems like the heart is rewarded for letting go…:)
2007 – Study equated forgiveness with lower blood pressure. (J.P. Friedberg, S. Suchday and D.V. Shelov, “The impact of forgiveness on cardiovascular reactivity and recovery”, International Journal of Psychophysiology 65(2), 2007, 87-94.)
2006 – Study showed significant reductions in blood pressure for those who were hypertensive and experienced high levels of anger, then went through forgiveness training. (D. Tibbits, G. Ellis, C. Piramelli, F.M. Luskin and R. Lukman, “Hypertension reduction through forgiveness training”, Journal of Pastoral Care and Counselling 60(1-2), 2006, 27-34.)
2003 – Study showed that heart attack survivors had improved coronary function after 10-hour forgiveness course. (M. Waltman, D. Russell and R. Enright, “Research study suggests forgiving attitude may be beneficial to the heart”, Paper presented at the American Psychosomatic Social Annual Meeting, March 5-8, Phoenix, Arizona.)
2001 – Study showed that those who think of painful memories and grudges experienced higher blood pressure and faster heart rates. Those who imagined forgiveness had lower blood pressure and heart rates. ( C.V.O. Witvliet, T.E. Ludwig and K.L. Vander Laan, “Granting forgiveness or harbouring grudges: implications for emotion, physiology, and health”, Psychological Science 121, 2001, 117 – 23.)
All studies cited in “Why Kindness is Good for you” by David Hamilton.
However Professor George Vaillant from Harvard says in his book, “Spiritual Evolution” that “forgiveness imposed by religious duty increases blood pressure; forgiveness mediated by empathy and love does not”, citing a study. (Shin-Tseng Huang and Robert Enright, “Forgiveness and Anger-Related Emotions in Taiwan: Implications for Therapy, ” Psychotherapy 37 (2000): 71-79.)