How cultivating an attitude of forgiveness is great for your health
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Genuine forgiveness is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give to another person. Being forgiven is an amazing relief for the individual and allows the relationship to forge ahead without any debilitating emotional baggage.

However, people often disregard the life-altering benefits that come with being someone who is able to practice forgiveness.

The ability to completely let go of resentment isn't just great for us psychologically. Our bodies and minds are so interconnected that being able to forgive has physical benefits as well.

What happens when we don't forgive?


"There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed," Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital says.

Living with deep-seated anger puts us in fight-or-flight mode that affects one's heart rate, blood pressure, and immune response. These negative physical states can, in turn, lead to diabetes, heart disease, PTSD, and depression.

This constant state of arousal takes its toll on the body. A Hope College study found that holding onto a grudge leads to higher physiological activity — facial muscle tension, heart rate, blood pressure, and sweating — compared with having forgiven.

So there is a lot of truth to the saying that "resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

via Felix Koutchinski / Unsplash


Learn more about the science behind forgiveness from David Pruder's "Psychiatry and Psychotherapy" podcast.

What happens to us when we are able to forgive?

In addition to relinquishing the debilitating resentment, research shows that those who are able to forgive others are also more likely to forgive themselves.

"One barrier people face in forgiving themselves is that they feel they deserve to feel bad. Our study found that making amends gives us permission to let go," study researcher Thomas Carpenter, of Baylor University's College of Arts & Sciences, said in a statement.

Being in a constant state of anger with oneself takes a huge physical and psychological toll.

"It weakens you emotionally and makes your body more vulnerable to sickness and disease by compromising your immune system," Dr. John H. Sklare writes at Everyday Health.

There's a wealth of evidence that shows cultivating an attitude of forgiveness is a powerful way to become healthier mentally, physically, and spiritually. But that can only happen when our forgiveness is genuine.

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Practicing true forgiveness

Andrea Brandt Ph.D. believes that true forgiveness begins with being "willing" to forgive. Then, after rigorously accessing the incident we can begin to accept our feelings and reactions.

"Acknowledge the growth you experienced as a result of what happened. What did it make you learn about yourself, or about your needs and boundaries?" she writes in Psychology Today.

Next, consider the needs of the person we're willing to forgive: "What do you think this need was and why did the person go about it in such a hurtful way?" she asks.

The final step is to decide whether or not to tell them they're forgiven.

Swartz says we all have the power to forgive, we just have to make the choice to do so.

"It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not," Swartz says. Once we begin to release our anger, hostility, and resentment, feelings of empathy and compassion will begin to take root.

However, Brandt says it's just as important to realize what forgiveness doesn't mean. It's not a pardon or excusing another's actions. It doesn't mean you shouldn't have any more feelings about the situation or that the relationship is miraculously healed.

"By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it," Brandt wrote in Psychology Today.

So now the big question remains: Who are you willing to forgive?

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

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We're more than nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic and things are only getting worse. On Wednesday, December 2, America had its deadliest day yet with nearly 3,000 people succumbing to the virus.

America is experiencing its greatest public health crisis in generations and the only way we're getting out of it is by widespread administration of a vaccine.

However, if people don't take the vaccine, there will be no end to this horror story.

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This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Sometimes it seems like social media is too full of trolls and misinformation to justify its continued existence, but then something comes along that makes it all worth it.

Apparently, a song many of us have never heard of shot to the top of the charts in Italy in 1972 for the most intriguing reason. The song, written and performed by Adriano Celentano and is called "Prisencolinensinainciusol" which means...well, nothing. It's gibberish. In fact, the entire song is nonsense lyrics made to sound like English, and oddly, it does.

Occasionally, you can hear what sounds like a real word or phrase here and there—"eyes" and "color balls died" and "alright" a few times, for example—but it mostly just sounds like English without actually being English. It's like an auditory illusion and it does some super trippy things to your brain to listen to it.

Plus the video someone shared to go with it is fantastic. It's gone crazy viral because how could it not.

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Hesitancy runs the gamut from outright anti-vaxxers to people who trust the time-tested vaccines we already have but are unsure about these new ones. Scientists have tried to educate the public about the development of the new mRNA vaccines and why they feel confident in their safety, but getting that information through the noise of hot takes and misinformation is tricky.

To help increase the public's confidence in taking the vaccine, three former presidents have volunteered to get their shots on camera. President George W. Bush initially reached out to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx to ask how he could help promote a vaccine once it's approved. Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton have both stated that they will take the vaccine if it is approved and will do so publicly if it will help more people feel comfortable taking it. CNN says it has also reached out to President Jimmy Carter to see if he is on board with the idea as well.

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