Letting Go for Your Health

In Nonviolent Communication (NVC), we differentiate between blame and judgment versus observations, feelings, and needs. This distinction, while it may sound simple, is not an automatic mode of processing for all of us. In fact, it takes work to recognize when we are speaking or thinking in blame and judgment mode. But, when we are able to make this distinction, and focus on our feelings and needs instead, we take the onus away from the other, which allows us to let go of that enemy image we had of them.

We expend so much mental and emotional energy on making an enemy image of others. We put them in a box, see them only for the harms they have caused, and our minds are busy thinking about them – the harm they caused, the unfairness of it all, or even the ways in which they should be punished. Sometimes this shows up in the body as well in things like muscle tension, sleep issues, and even gut issues. It can be all-consuming.

When we give ourselves the gift of seeing the world in terms of needs, we give ourselves the gift of letting go of judgment. It’s certainly not easy, and it is a seemingly ongoing journey, as we are human and we will inevitably slip back into the blame game, but when it happens, it is well worth it.

Letting go of resentment and judgment can significantly benefit a person’s health and well-being. If you have yet to experience the freeing of this weight, here are some ways in which you might benefit from letting go.

Reduced Stress Levels: Holding onto resentment and judgment can lead to chronic stress, which negatively impacts the body. Chronic stress is linked to various health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Letting go of these negative emotions can reduce stress levels and promote better overall health.

Improved Heart Health: Forgiveness and letting go of resentment have been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate. A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that people who practiced forgiveness had lower physiological stress responses, which is beneficial for heart health.

Better Sleep: Chronic resentment can lead to poor sleep quality. By letting go of negative emotions, individuals may experience improved sleep patterns, which are crucial for physical and mental health. Poor sleep is associated with a range of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.

Reduced Anxiety and Depression: Resentment and judgment can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology indicated that forgiveness and letting go of grudges can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improving overall mental health.

Increased Emotional Well-being: Letting go of negative emotions fosters a more positive outlook on life. It can enhance emotional resilience and increase overall happiness and life satisfaction. Positive emotions are linked to better mental health and longevity.

Enhanced Relationships: Resentment and judgment can damage personal relationships, leading to social isolation and loneliness. By letting go of these judgments, individuals can improve their relationships and social support networks, which are vital for mental health and well-being.