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Mindful : April 2017
2 Feel your pain Hurts can run deep, even if at first glance they don’t seem to make a big impact. It’s important to give yourself permission to acknowledge and honor the pain that’s very real for you. Notice where you feel it in your body and ask yourself, “ What do I need right now?” Maybe you need to feel supported, take more time, or do something kind for yourself. Allowing space for the pain in this way can help you know whether you’re ready to release it from your heart and mind. 3 Name it Whether you’ve hurt yourself or have been hurt by another, allow yourself to be honest and simply name the feelings that are there. They might include guilt, grief, shame, sorrow, confusion, or anger. As you consider the act of forgive- ness, any of these feelings can arise. A study at UCLA found that when you name your emotional experience it turns the volume down on your amygdala, the emo- tion center of the brain, and brings resources back to your pre-frontal cortex, the rational part of your brain. So, by naming the feeling you can create space and not get overwhelmed. → When you’ve been hurt by someone, it’s not always easy to let it go. But holding on to a grudge will only make you feel worse—and not just emotionally. Resentment can cause your blood pressure to spike and trigger the release of stress chemicals that can make you physically sick. And the truth is: It doesn’t really do any good anyway. As the saying goes: “Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” The paradox is, when you’ve been wronged, forgiveness is the only thing that provides relief from the pain. Sound like a bitter pill to swallow? Read on to learn how forgiving others (and yourself) can help you release the heavy burden of resentment and experience more freedom. Let It Go 1 Understand forgiveness Before you attempt to force forgiveness on your most tender hurts, consider what it is you’re asking of your- self: Forgiving doesn’t mean that you condone what hap- pened or that the perpetra- tor is blameless. It is making the conscious choice to release yourself from the burden, pain, and stress of holding on to resentment. 11 Ways to Forgive By Elisha and Stefanie Goldstein 28 mindful April 2017 LIVING | how to live a mindful life Illustrations by Colleen MacIsaac