Happiness goals countdown

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Happiness Goal #7: Forgive Someone This Year

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Welcome to the seventh goal in our Happiness Goals Countdown. Today you'll discover how forgiving someone will lead to greater happiness.

You probably know how it feels to carry the weight of anger and resentment toward someone who has wronged you. Your feelings are legitimate. But for the sake of your happiness you need to let them go. The burden of those hostile feelings is keeping you from a happier life.

So if there is someone you have yet to forgive, set the happiness goal of forgiving them this year. McCullough and colleagues' article "Forgiveness" in the Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology states that happiness and positive relationships occur more frequently among people who forgive others. A forgiving nature is associated with emotional stability and an agreeable personality. People who forgive are happier because they do not cling to negative experiences. They forgive and move on.

Being able to forgive someone also helps you be healthier. A study by Lawler and colleagues published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that forgiveness lowers blood pressure. The researchers measured the cardiovascular responses of interviewees while discussing the betrayal of either a parent or friend. People who had forgiven the offending person showed a lower blood pressure than those who had not.

This physical evidence suggests that forgiveness reduces strain on the body. It’s easier to be happier when you’re not under stress!

You probably already know who you should forgive. It’s that person who makes you angry every time you think about him or her. Wouldn’t it be better to end that cycle and be happy?

Setting the goal to forgive someone is an example of an intrinsic goal (see our goals and happiness infographic which explains the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic goals).. It has value to you on an emotional and spiritual level. Happiness comes from intrinsic goals like these according to a 2009 study by Niemiec and colleagues.

If you enjoyed this goal, please spread the word about the Happiness Goals Countdown (just click one of the pretty Share icons at the side and bottom of this page)! We look forward to seeing you for the next installment of the Countdown. Your next goal is all about increasing happiness by giving compliments .