Two things that add to our happiness and counteract depression are Gratitude and Forgiveness. Researchers in mental health are discovering the importance of gratitude and forgiveness for healthy living. They are concluding that the “people who have aged most successfully are those who worry less about cholesterol and waistlines and more about gratitude and forgiveness.”
Gratitude and forgiveness are important healing factors. Minimally, gratitude is an emotional response to a gift. It is the appreciation felt after one has been the beneficiary. It is also an excellent character practice that helps one flourish in life, a quality that can contribute to the completeness and wholeness of a person. Gratitude may be construed in a variety of ways---as an emotion, a virtue, a moral sentiment, a motive, a coping response, a skill, or an attitude.
Likewise, forgiveness is a more complex phenomenon than the saying “Forgive and forget” suggests. Forgiveness can be seen as “a willingness to abandon one’s right to resentment, negative judgment, and indifferent behavior toward one who has unjustly hurt us, while fostering the undeserved qualities of compassion, generosity, and even love toward him or her.”
Forgiveness is not pardoning, condoning, excusing, forgetting, denying, or the restoring of a relationship.
Psychological researchers are actively investigating gratitude and forgiveness in people’s lives. A person’s happiness and life satisfaction grow as he/she increases a sense of gratitude. REACH is an acronym for the five steps involved in order to develop forgiveness: R—recall the hurt in detail; E—empathize with the offender to the extent possible; A—give the altruistic gift of forgiveness; C—commit yourself to forgive publicly; and H—work to hold onto the forgiveness you have begun to develop.
Gratitude and forgiveness are linked. If a person is filled with gratitude, he or she cannot help but forgive, and if a person is capable of forgiving others, then, he or she is much more able to be grateful. If we cultivate these qualities in ourselves we are likely to live longer and happier lives!