The Power of Forgiveness on Your Health

by admin

Common to all religions and psychology methodologies, forgiveness is central to managing stress, developing lasting primary and secondary relationships, and “growing” emotionally and maturing as an adult.

Anything that increases or exacerbates mental or emotional stress is a threat to our health; a lack of forgiveness is a primary stress-inducer.  However, because it’s somewhat abstract and almost always needs to be a learned behavior, forgiveness is not something everyone embraces or commonly practices.

There are numerous books and articles on forgiveness.

It’s hard to forget, but forgiveness is something you do for yourself.                           - Azim Khamisa

Forgiveness and Stress:  Holding onto a hurt or remaining angry sets the stress response in motion, which, if left uncorrected, can prove to be unhealthy.

The following is from

Bearing a grudge and refusing to forgive can cause chronic stress to the body, as well as the mind.  Lack of forgiveness can create an avalanche of stress hormones.

  • It increases production of cortisol and epinephrine, which leads to changes in heart rate and blood pressure.
  • It raises levels of catecholamine and CD8, which suppresses the immune system, thus increasing the risk of viral infection.
  • It leads to the release of histamines, which can trigger severe bronchoconstriction in people with asthma.

Chronic stress also…

  • Alters insulin levels.
  • Alters the acid concentration in the stomach.
  • Causes plaque buildup in the arteries.
  • Causes or intensifies aches and pains.
  • Raises anxiety levels.
  • Causes depression.
  • Interferes with intimate and social relationships.
  • Affects sleep and appetite.
  • Affects job performance.

Week 10 Spark Insight: Love

by admin

ESSENTIAL ELEMENT:  Unconditional Love

Critical Concept:  Defining love.
Do you feel loved?  Don’t be too quick to answer.  There is as much confusion, frustration and desperation around this concept as there is assurance, fulfillment and inspiration.  For most, this “crazy little thing called love” has kept us up all night – for one reason or another – at one point in our lives.  As much as it fuels the fires of passion, ties the knots of friendship, and binds a parent to their child, love itself remains largely misunderstood.

Love is a choice, not a feeling.

Love is not a sentiment.  Love should not be reduced to simply the way someone makes us feel.  Of course, love comes with tremendous emotion and real feelings.  But it is so much more.  Love is a decision.  It is something that we choose to give and receive, not something that we wait to experience.

Unconditional Love is the purest expression of genuine acceptance.  This choice is made independent of another’s behavior – and sometimes even in spite of their behavior.  It is choosing to extend love to someone, even when they seem unlovable.

It’s important to differentiate that Unconditional Love does not imply unconditional approval.  We should reserve the right to disapprove of another’s behavior, yet, without judgment, accept them and love them unconditionally.  This may prove to be the most challenging essential elementof the Bonfire Experience.  At the same time, mastery of unconditional love will trump all other elements when it comes to stress reduction and achieving peace of mind and heart.

Forgiveness – A Critical Emotional Action Step
Achieving unconditional acceptance in some relationships may have to start with forgiveness…sometimes forgiving someone that does not deserve to be forgiven.  This may not sound reasonable at first; in fact, forgiveness often requires a new economy – grace.

For thousands of generations, humans have sought one common emotional theme:  to be loved.  We thrive in loving environments and relationships, and we contract and atrophy in loveless circumstances.  The greatest way to foster love is to offer it freely.  Choose to extend love to those around you without attachment to their response.  Do not give to get.  Give to give.

We are social beings who crave and depend on emotional “strokes” to develop into whole and complete people.  These strokes come in many shapes, but can be easily identified when they come in the form of gestures, attention, physical contact, kind words or actions.  These are all as much part of our “required nutrients” for optimal health as Vitamin C, amino acids and oxygen.

At the center of these needs, you’ll find unconditional love.  We have an innate need to give and receive unconditional love.  A best practice is to model this love to those around you.  Show others how you wish to be treated by the way that you treat them.  You learned the “Golden Rule” in Kindergarten, and it is as much a truth today as it was then.  You can nudge yourself into extending this unconditional love in tougher situations by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.  How would you wish to be treated?

At the end of the day, the only way to really change the world is to start with yourself.  At the very least, you’ll have far less stress in your life – and who knows, maybe you’ll actually start a trend.

At this point in the program you should be….

  • Establish your Peace of Mind Account (PMA) using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Get to bed earlier – working toward sleep before 11 p.m.
  • Get up earlier – working toward 30 minute morning rituals
  • Remain focused on creating the life that you want
  • Choose to develop more influence in your life
  • Recognize challenges as opportunities to grow
  • Seek opportunities to get connected with supportive people
  • Choose to extend Unconditional Love and Acceptance to others