The New York Times “smarter living” column has an interesting piece about letting go of grudges and forgiving others.
It cites research about the benefits of doing so.
A 2006 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology as part of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, suggested that “skills-based forgiveness training may prove effective in reducing anger as a coping style, reducing perceived stress and physical health symptoms, and thereby may help reduce” the stress we put on our immune and cardiovascular systems. Further, a study published this year found that carrying anger into old age is associated with higher levels of inflammation and chronic illness. Another study from this year found that anger reduces our ability to see things from other people’s perspective.
The article states that to forgive, “we need to recognize three things: 1. Forgiveness is for you, not the offender. 2. It’s best to do it now. 3. It’s about freeing yourself — forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to like what they did or become their friend.”
To forgive, people should take four steps: 1. Calm themselves in the moment. 2. Change their role in the story from a victim to a hero. 3. Pay attention to the good things in their lives. 4. Remind themselves of the basic truth that life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to.
Check it out.
John Lande is the Isidor Loeb Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Law and former director of its LLM Program in Dispute Resolution. He received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law and Ph.D in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He began mediating professionally in 1982 in California. He was a fellow at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Director of the Mediation Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School. His work focuses on various aspects of dispute systems design, including publications analyzing how lawyering and mediation practices transform each other, business lawyers’ and executives’ opinions about litigation and ADR, designing court-connected mediation programs, improving the quality of mediation practice, the “vanishing trial,” and planned early negotiation. The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution gave him its award for best professional article for Principles for Policymaking about Collaborative Law and Other ADR Processes, 22 Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution 619 (2007). The ABA recently published his book, Lawyering with Planned Early Negotiation: How You Can Get Good Results for Clients and Make Money. His website, where you can download his publications, is http://www.law.missouri.edu/lande.