When you are angry or holding a grudge, the body produces harmful enzymes that increase stress, raise cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Studies have shown that after forgiving a person who has hurt you, individuals showed lower heart rates, lower blood pressure and significantly lowered cortisol levels in their bloodstream. Other positive health benefits of forgiveness include improved oxygen and nutrient supply to cells and tissues, less headaches, improvement in chronic pain, improved symptoms from arthritis, resolution of digestive problems and a faster recovery from injury. In addition, the immune system strengthens being better able to fight off infections and illnesses and breathing becomes deeper and more regular.
Ask students to close their eyes and think about something that angers them. They do not need to share or voice the target of their anger. Observe their faces or body language. Then ask them to think about their favorite food. Notice the changes in their faces or their body language. Ask them to open their eyes and talk about the differences they may have felt in their body. Share your observations of their reactions. Encourage them to notice the reaction of their body the next time they get angry and see if they can calm themselves down.
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