Well-Being//

How Practicing Forgiveness Actually Boosts Your Productivity (and Health)

Research shows embracing forgiveness in the workplace benefits the whole company.

eggeeggjiew / Getty Images
eggeeggjiew / Getty Images

Have you ever been hurt by the actions or words of someone at work? Nearly everyone has, including me.

Perhaps a business partner was caught stealing money, a colleague falsely accused you of something, or your CEO decided to “go off” and name names at that now infamous all-hands-on-deck meeting.

Anger, bitterness, anxiety or even vengeance are common behaviors that come with being thrown under the bus. But if these feelings linger and persist, it can have devastating consequences for the one holding the grudge.

So what do you do? How do you cope? At the risk of sounding like I’m behind a pulpit on Sunday morning (wait for it…), embracing forgiveness is your best hope to get you through and get your peace back.

Hear me out.

It’s Good for The Workplace, Says Research

Forgiveness is rarely discussed or formally embedded into the corporate culture. But it should be.

New research has been published about the positive impact of forgiveness to potentially improve well-being and productivity in the workplace.

In one study involving more than 200 employees from both office and manufacturing jobs, forgiveness was “linked to increased productivity, decreased absenteeism (fewer days missing work), and fewer mental and physical health problems, such as sadness and headaches.”

As Greater Good reports, this new research is important because it raises our awareness about potential outcomes when the people we work with hold on to negative feelings after a conflict. If they can’t cope by forgiving, you can expect the likelihood of disengagement, a lack of collaboration, and aggressive behavior.

When we learn and master this virtuous practice as an organizational value, forgiveness can be an effective way to restore trust and set things right with colleagues and bosses alike so you’re running on all cylinders again.

Forgiveness also extends outwardly to impact others not involved in the conflict. When colleagues observe others practicing forgiveness, research says it often “fosters positive emotions that can improve decision-making, cognitive functioning, and the quality of relationships.”

If You Choose Not to Forgive…

But I just can’t forgive him for what he has done to me. I just can’t let him get away with that! you might say. Well, if those are the emotions you’re harboring, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.

In the end, by allowing the one causing you pain to rent space inside your head, you’re the one who will be tormented daily. The person who inflicted pain on you will never feel your unforgiveness.

The damage this will do to you is manifested in suppressed anger and emotional withdrawal on your part, causing unnecessary stress and conflict on your colleagues.

Lets be honest, to forgive another person takes an incredible amount of courage to just “let it go.” And it’s not an intellectual formality; it has to come from the heart.

Because in forgiving, what we’re doing is really choosing to release our need to control. We basically have the faith to say “this is no longer my problem.”

So today, I ask you: What do you need to hand over and surrender? Who do you need to forgive?

Originally published at www.inc.com

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