- Case Studies
A recent study has revealed a connection between heart attacks and holding a grudge. One hundred and thirty people participated in the study that concluded that those who found it difficult to forgive had developed more heart related diseases than those who could forgive.
Even though it has been a common assumption that grudges and hatred are bad for the heart, scientists in Brazil have gathered the data to support this claim. The research involved two groups of 65 people; the first group had no history of cardiovascular diseases while the second group were people who had heart attacks. During the study, participants filled out two questionnaires developed by psychoanalyst, Suzana Avezum, who specialises in the development of cardiovascular diseases. One questionnaire covered the willingness and capacity to forgive while the other covered spirituality and religion.
‘No specific religion was analysed, because what would happen to atheists? There are people who don’t believe in any form of religion but are more spiritualised than some who have a strict religious belief,’ explained the researcher.
In the group of people who had suffered a heart attack, 65% said they were unwilling to forgive if the reason for their grudge was lack of trust, while in the other group only 35% were unwilling to forgive in the same circumstances. When the reason was changed to rejection/contempt, the result grew to 54% in the first group and 72% in the second. It was also revealed that out of those in the group who had suffered heart attacks, 31% had a significant loss of their faith, where just 9% of those who had maintained their faith suffered from the disease.
Although the study also mentions other factors that contribute to the development of heart diseases, such as stress and day-to-day problems, it reaffirms that letting go of resentment and negative feelings can help us maintain a healthy heart.