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Forgiveness: Essential for Resilience

Forgiveness: Essential for Resilience

As burnout rates continue to increase across all divisions of healthcare
providers [1], there has never been a greater time to work on
our interior lives. Surely the exterior aspects of medicine are not
going to manifest appreciable improvements in mitigating stress in
the near future. We can control our reactions and attitudes to our
An essential trait of the resilient physician is a forgiving spirit.
A forgiving mindset will yield immeasurable dividends on our
emotional lives. Forgiveness is essential in safeguarding oneself
from experiencing negative emotions, including despondency and
emotional depletion [2]. Forgiveness also yields innumerable health
benefits since it lowers adrenaline and cortisol levels—hormones
which exact their health toll when excessive [3].
In truth, anger and hostility can wreak havoc on our heart health,
as the chronic effects of heightened blood pressure and vasoconstriction
are the bane of coronary arteries [4]. Our bodies are illequipped
to handle continual surges of adrenaline that an angry
disposition harbors. Resilient people—those that can “bounce back”
from adversity—
all share one common characteristic: a forgiving
spirit to others and themselves .