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Can holding a grudge really hurt your health? Absolutely! Osteopath Vicky Vlachonis says stress and negativity can trigger a vicious cycle by producing the stress hormone cortisol, which interferes with your body’s natural healing mechanism. That can lead to increased physical pain, and reduced self-esteem, which can lead to even more negativity, and cause the destructive cycle to start all over again.

The good news, just admitting you’re holding a grudge gets you into the forgiveness ballpark. To fully let go, Vlachonis recommends what she calls “forgiveness meditation.” Here’s how it works: Every night, find a quiet place, sit with your eyes closed and repeat a forgiveness mantra, in your head or out loud. Something like: “I forgive those who have wronged me. I forgive myself. I let go of all anger, resentment and pain. I open myself to love, peace and joy – and I am thankful.” Do this every night before bed until you feel you no longer need it.

And that can vastly improve both your mental state, AND your physical health.

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