Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

Forgiveness, Faith and Health Connection

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

Forgiveness, Faith and Health Connection

Article excerpt

Health is the ability of individuals or communities to adapt and self-manage when facing physical, mental or social challenges (Huber, Knottnerus, Green, Horst, Jadad, Kromhout, Leonard, Lorig, Loureiro, Meer, Schnabel, Smith, Weel, & Smid, 2011). The positive psychology focus upon a state of positive mental health; to thrive, to prosper and to fare well in endeavors which is free from psychological problems, filled with emotional energy and function positively in personal and social life (Michalec, Keyes & Nalkur, 2009). To achieve this stated aim, it is necessary to attain the health in all aspects of life (social, psychological, spiritual, physical, and mental). In 2002, WHO defined health in its broader sense as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity?" It has been defined as "a dynamic state of well being characterized by a physical and mental potential which satisfies the demands of life corresponding with age, culture and personal responsibility", Bricher (2005). The "word" dynamic means that health is not a static state of an individual's well-being. It may change; and physical and mental probabilities are the characteristics of health and these probabilities enable the person to fulfill the demands of different aspects of life. But now-a-days, understandings ofhealth have been widened beyond physical well-being and have also covered psychological well-being of a person because body and brain are not two entities. Rather, very recently the well-being of soul has also been added. Positive psychology as a theoretical framework which does not employ the dichotomization of human experiences into positive and negative; rather it views experience as a continuum that spans the whole spectrum of human experiences from health to ill health and from sorrow to happiness (Keyes, 2002). So the health means complete well-being of body - mind and soul.

Our endocrine system, immune system and nervous system are interconnected such that our thinking patterns, emotions and beliefs have a direct impact on our physical health. Our emotions and thoughts related to life happenings and our associations will be either health-enhancing or illness-enhancing. When, we experience faith and forgiveness it also be more easily and more fully extended to others and to ourselves. This will encourage inner therapeutic state which favors health and completeness and a full and plentiful life. One positive psychological construct, forgiveness, also has been considered in relation to religious faith. Positive forces of life such as pleasure, faith, contentment, hopefulness, flexibility, humor, life satisfaction, forgivness etc. play an significant role in life.

Research shows that positive emotions serve a buffering function, provide a protection from negative emotions and ill health (Fredrickson, 2000) and are favourable for healthy functioning (Trama & Kaur, 2009). Studies have shown the link between positive moods (Ostir, Markides, Peek, & Goodwin, 2001), happiness (Graham, Eggers, & Sukhtankar, 2004), laughter and humor (Lefcourt, 2001) life satisfaction (Mroczek & Spiro, 2005), optimism and hope (Snyder, 2000), spirituality (Hodge, 2006) and optimistic self-perceptions (Levy, Slade, Kunkel, & Kasl, 2002) and physical and mental health outcomes. Research has done reasonably well with mental illness as depression, suffering, substance abuse, anger, and anxiety. But they had done very poorly with mental health, engagement, positive emotion, positive relationships, purpose and positive accomplishment. The positive conditions of psychological health did not consistently resulted when the disorders ended. These variables can prove to be one of our best safeguards against mental disorder. Random assignments, and controlled designs, propose that interventions that make the positive states lessen depression (Seligman, Rashid, & Parks, 2006).

Bolier, Haverman, Westerhof, Riper, Smit, and Bohlmeijer (2013) conducted a systematic meta analysis in which show that positive psychology interventions effective in the improvement of subjective well-being and psychological well-being, as well as in helping to decrease depressive symptoms. …

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