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Study Says Forgiveness Good for Health

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ATLANTA, Oct 23, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Alexander Pope said "To forgive (is) divine," but experts in the field say it may also help your health and your whole outlook on life.

A new round of findings is expected Friday when more than 40 scientists and researchers gather in Atlanta for a conference hosted by A Campaign for Forgiveness Research, a non-profit organization that promotes studies.

Researchers deal with the effects of forgiving a wide range of transgressions, from child abuse to marital disagreements, USA Today reported. Overall, findings show a link between forgiveness and health, says Everett Worthington, executive director of the group.

"Chronic unforgiveness causes stress," he says. "Every time people think of their transgressor, their body responds."

Worthington said blood pressure and heart rates go up, facial muscles tense and stress hormones kick in. Chronic stress affects the immune and cardiovascular systems, where forgiveness reduces stress by replacing "negative emotions with positive ones," he said.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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