You can give a lot of attention to living a healthy lifestyle. In the process you should not ignore the connection between the body and mind. You cannot achieve optimal health if you disregard your mental health. Negative emotions can have a negative impact on our mental health which can also impact our physical wellbeing. One negative emotion that can be detrimental is bitterness.
What is bitterness? It is anger, resentment, and disappointment at being treated unfairly. Bitterness can be based on one incident or life circumstances. It has been around forever. The bible mentions being bitter. Hebrews 12:15 says “see to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (NIV)
What are the effects of bitterness? Bitterness can lead to constant anger which can damage relationships. It can keep you from enjoying the present because you are focused on the past. Bitterness can cause depression and anxiety. Some researchers believe it can lead to a weakened immune system and high blood pressure.
Some people who are bitter do not realize that bitterness is a problem. They have been bitter for so long they embrace it as part of their personality. Do you have an event or circumstance that you meditate on and talk negatively about? Does talking about the situation make you angry?
The first step to overcoming bitterness is to practice forgiveness. Some people have experienced some horrible events in their life and have every reason to be bitter. However, this emotion does not hurt whoever offended you. It hurts you. When you forgive, the offending person or situation no longer has power in your life. Here is a quote from Nelson Mandela. “As I walked out of the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
If you are struggling with bitterness and you feel like you cannot change on your own, do not feel ashamed to reach out for help. Find a support group or counseling to help you overcome it. Life is to be enjoyed and if you have anything hindering your joy take control and fix it.
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