Holding anger and grudges have biological consequences. They create anxiety, a form of stress, which contributes to the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin eroding the ability of the body to produce T-cells, the “foot soldiers” of the immune system. According to this article, 61% of cancer patients have toxic loads of unforgiveness/anger/stress. This speaks to the ACE Study, () which proved a graded relationship between high levels of unhealed childhood trauma and life-threatening illness in adulthood. We must clear our internal “hard drive” to support health. That can be done by making a list of the people and incidents that you still feel negative emotions about–anger, betrayal, hurt, injustice, abandonment, whatever. Rate the emotional intensity on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being highly charged, and note where you feel the intensity or pressure in your body. Then use EFT tapping or another energy psychology method to release the emotional charge attached to that memory, notice the 0-10 intensity level drop and keep treating until you get to a zero or close to a zero, then notice how your thoughts about the situation or person have changed and if you feel lighter and more at peace. Healing your internal hard drive is the best thing you can do for your health and to ensure a healthy and happier future.
Unforgiveness is classified in medical books as a disease. According to Dr. Steven Standiford, chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, refusing to forgive makes people sick and keeps them that way.
With that in mind, forgiveness therapy is now being used to help treat diseases, such as cancer.
“It’s important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone’s reactions to the treatments, even someone’s willingness to pursue treatment,” Standiford explained.
Of all cancer patients, 61 percent have forgiveness issues, and of those, more than half are severe, according to research by Dr. Michael Barry, a pastor and the author of the book, .
“Harboring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety. Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer,” he explained.
Barry said the first step in learning to forgive is to realize how much we have been forgiven by God.
“When a person forgives from the heart – which is the gold standard we see in Matthew 18, forgiveness from the heart – we find that they are able to find a sense of peacefulness. Quite often our patients refer to that as a feeling of lightness,” he said.
Barry said most people don’t realize what a burden anger and hatred were until they let them go.