Don't Hold Grudges - Choose Forgiveness

Stress Relief Tool – Don’t Hold Grudges

Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto unnecessary stress.

The person who bullied you in school. The lover who dumped you for somebody else. The boss who promoted your peer instead of you. The list of people you hold grudges against could get long and ugly when you think about it.

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are, in fact, a stress response. Just thinking about the event may send your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When the threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when the threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time.

Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.1

The fact is that you cannot please everyone; inevitably, you will have an encounter with one or more people who rub you the wrong way. If you have any lingering emotions from that encounter, get into the habit of keeping a list of what negative encounters you experienced during the day so you can take care of that at night.

In the evening, before you go to bed, review your list and those people who were involved. Close your eyes and imagine that person facing you. Look them in the eyes and say, “I forgive you. Please forgive me, too.” This process stems from the Hawaiian practice called Hoʻoponopono. There are meditations available that can guide you through the process simply by Googling Hoʻoponopono – just make sure you get the spelling right! The one I recommend is a 7-minute guided meditation from Dr. Matt James.

Hoʻoponopono helps you imagine that you are forgiving the person you are holding a grudge against, and that person forgiving you too. This process restores harmony within yourself by eliminating the stress and resentment you have been directing at that person.2

  1. Bradberry, T. – Stress Literally Shrinks Your Brain (How to Reverse the Damage)
  2. James, M. – Ho’oponopono: Your Path to True Forgiveness

Posted by Professor Pete Alexander

A seasoned professional with over 30 years of Sales and Marketing experience, Pete has battled the negative effects of stress head-on and has developed the LIGHTEN™ stress relief model that motivates his peers to take action and overcome their self-imposed barriers to success using clever yet simple tools and techniques.

Leave a Reply