Global Forgiveness Day happens every year in July. There's a reason it's a holiday: because forgiveness really matters. Here is why to celebrate this year.
Global Forgiveness Day (Why Forgiveness Is Important)
Global Forgiveness Day happens every year on July 7th. It might seem like a frivolous holiday made up by greeting card companies who want the money of people who've held grudges. However, in reality, forgiveness is an extremely important action step in people's lives. Asking for and giving forgiveness allows you to not only mend relationships and ease difficult situations but also benefit your health, mental wellness, overall wellbeing, and more.
Not sure you want to celebrate Global Forgiveness Day this year? Here's why you should—since, clearly, forgiveness is so important.
Forgiveness Is Important Because It Keeps You Healthier
Global Forgiveness Day is a great chance to accept the apology of anyone who apologizes to you because people who forgive others have better physical health outcomes than those who don't forgive. One study showed that people who forgave more readily had a lower risk of heart disease than those who wouldn't forgive. Also, medical experts have shown that accepting an apology decreases stress and toxic energy that courses through one's body. If you don't reduce this toxicity, you can experience a weakened immune system and are more likely to get physical illnesses like viruses.
Ultimately, holding onto negative feelings and bitterness about someone or something they did can create stress and stress hormones in your body. Stress hormones can do significant damage and cause a slew of stress-related illnesses. It can even cause things like hair loss and insomnia, which can have a major physical impact.
Forgiveness Is Important Because It Keeps Mental Illness at Bay
When you're asked to forgive somebody but withhold forgiveness, it has a significant negative impact on your mental health. Studies show if you hold onto grudges for too long, you're at risk for many mental health symptoms, like anxiety, depression, low mood, and panic. Over five weeks, giving more forgiveness reduced people's perceived stress and, in turn, stress-related mental illness, including mood disorders, acute stress disorder, and more. Giving less resulted in increased stress and more mental health issues.
Forgiveness Is Important, so Here's How to Do It on Global Forgiveness Day
If you're convinced that forgiveness will keep your physical and mental wellness right where you want them to be, it's time to conquer forgiveness on Global Forgiveness Day. If you're not sure how to ask for forgiveness, here are some important steps to get you started.
• Apologize for the thing you did. Don't apologize by avoiding an apology. Own up to what you did, speak it clearly, and say sorry. Instead of focusing on someone's reaction, simply apologizing ensures the wronged person knows you understand what you did and have remorse.
• Explain your understanding of how they were affected. To show you truly understand why you need to apologize, explain the effect you had on the person you're apologizing to. When you establish an understanding of their experience, they'll realize the apology isn't empty—that they've really "got" your ask.
• Don't ask for anything in return. You should apologize merely to apologize, no matter the response you get. You may love to hear you're forgiven, but that's not the right perspective to have when beginning your apology process. Instead, look at only what you can offer and how you can heal. Don't seek anything from anyone else. Just follow through and hold to your apology. It may take time for the person to come around, or maybe they won't. But at least you'll have expressed your sincere regret and how sorry you feel, and that in itself is healing.
• Accept people's apologies. Even if it feels difficult, try to accept apologies on this Global Forgiveness Day. Not only will you be doing your own body and stress hormones a favor and letting your body relax a little, but you'll also be helping to improve the health of the person apologizing to you.