“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head”- Ann Landers

Resentments block any possibility for peace and happiness. If you have ever felt betrayed, cheated, or that an injustice has been done to you, holding a grudge might be part of your experience. Resentments are like broken records, where your mind plays out the same scenario repeatedly. Each time the grudge match replays in your head, you revisit the anger and other feeling associated with the wrongdoing.  In fact, the more you repeat the scenario in your head, the deeper the bitterness, resentment and pain wedge into your mind and body. And reliving anger evokes the stress response in our bodies-racing heart, spike in your blood pressure, shallow breathing and even muscular tension.

Resentments harm us in every way-physically, emotionally and mentally. Holding grudges truly hurts you. Grudges are smoldering embers that when you poke the fire a bit the flame heightens, just like your anger. Let’s explore ways to reduce stress when experiencing resentment.

Empower Yourself.  The first step in releasing resentment is to recognize your anger.  Whether the injustice is fresh or old, it’s easy to fall into the victim or somebody did you wrong mode. Journaling is a great way to explore resentments. Remember, you are in charge of what you think, say and do. Make a choice not to live in victim mentality. Of course, seek outside counseling for the anger is overwhelming.

Take responsibility for your emotional wellbeing. Once you have recognized your feelings, begin to explore what skills you can polish to better deal with anger.  Assertiveness training can help to improve communication skills.  Focus that old resentment energy on ways to heal the situation for your own wellbeing.

Forgiveness is an inside job. We only have control over right here, right now. Life is far too short to allow grudges to kill happiness.  Forgiveness frees your mind, releasing stress from your body. Imagine what you can do now that resentment isn’t living rent-free in your head. This process frees us from taking the situation personally, since you have taken stock in your own emotional wellbeing. Forgiveness may not be an easy feat and may take some time to complete.

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