How Reducing Stress Helps You Forgive Yourself (Part 1 of 2)
Written by Lynn Hare on September 2, 2017
Sometimes the worst self-talk sneaks into our heads. Like a fox in a henhouse, it quietly pads in, baring its canines to unsuspecting prey. Look out! What kind of meshing is this coup constructed of? For most of us, it’s stress.
Boy, am I familiar with stress! Because of a recent brush with death when I had life-threatening lung and leg clots, I realized that I needed to slow down. I beat myself up for extended computer time that might have contributed to bad circulation. Stress made me angry with myself. Being angry with myself fed the stress. I needed to forgive myself.
When we need to forgive ourselves, we’re often dealing with toxins of physical and emotional stress taking their toll on us. One struggle spills over into another. How do we break the cycle? By educating ourselves on the body-soul-spirit connection. (A good resource is The Quest for Self-Forgiveness – see below.)
I enrolled in a workshop at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Center for Health and Healing. An overly active 50-something seeking to quiet my chaotic nerves, I thought, “How can I forgive myself when my body is so uptight?” I needed to learn secrets of physical and mental calmness so I could occupy a space of self-directed grace.
Dr. Jeff Proulx and Kimberly Carson led the workshop about the art of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). When we deliberately reduce stress, we’re mindful—fully aware—of ourselves, body, mind, and emotions. The foundations for mindfulness are:
- Beginner’s mindset
Patience is a transactive (exchanging) process. When we’re patient with ourselves, we move into a place of self-acceptance. Acceptance is not about giving up or giving in. It’s the willingness to experience what’s here in any given moment. We can say to ourselves, “This moment has never happened before.”
Here are some benefits of MBSR:
- Increases in dexterity
- Better sleep
- Reduced pain
- Lower stress
- Helpful for caregivers
- Changes in brain function
- Increases in cognitive and emotional processing
One of the best magazines on mindfulness I subscribe to and recommend is Mindful. Its articles and practical tips are fun and refreshing. The upcoming October issue describes how to loosen the grip of self-judgment and shame, and how to gain insights through aimless strolls, retreat centers, and more.
As we reduce stress, we can more readily perceive God’s acceptance and forgiveness. With His vote of confidence, we can find the courage to accept and forgive ourselves. The self-talk that flows within us is more confident and productive. Why? Because it’s Jesus-talk.
Sneak peek: Next week, we’ll explore practical ways to put stress reduction into action.
Friend, how does reducing stress move you into Christ-peace with Jesus-talk?
Imagine the possibilities!
Order The Quest for Self-Forgiveness on Amazon here today. Let go of the past and embrace yourself with heartfelt grace. Join me in becoming a possibilitarian!