Holding a Grudge?….Drink some Poison

So, you got a grudge against someone?

Congratulations, have a drink from that cup of poison.

You wish that the person you have a grudge against would just die a slow painful death?

 Congratulations, have another shot of that poison.

Someone holding a chalice – courtesy Jametlene of Unsplash

The things with grudges, they never hurt the person you want them to hurt, they only hurt you, if left unresolved.

Every time you hold a grudge, it is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Holding a grudge can damage yourself in ways that you never knew it could.

We need to look at what a grudge does to your body and mind first.

  • You are more likely to do damage to your heart after an angry outburst, yet what is more frightening is if you try to repress it can lead to long term heart disease.
  • An increase in the risk of getting a stroke happens when you get angry especially in the first 2 hours after the outburst.
  • It can weaken the Immune system for up to 6 hours, especially the cells first line of defence, Immunoglobulin A. This leaves you susceptible to becoming ill.
  • It can increase anxiety as it is understood that anger and anxiety go hand in hand as hostility can increase symptoms of anxiety.
  • Depression and anger are linked especially in men. Passive anger, where you ruminate (overthink) but not take action, is common.
  • It can damage your lungs, being really angry, can decrease lung capacity and increase the chance of respiratory problems later on in life.
  • Fancy a quicker death? Holding onto that grudge can lead to a shorter lifespan as the stress and anger will affect you in numerous ways, not just the stuff listed above. Life is too short to hold a grudge, why would you want to make it shorter?

(all studies were performed by Harvard University)

As well as the physical effect, there is the mental effects too.

The more you concentrate on the grudge, the more you strengthen the negative neural pathways in your brain.

Positive assertive (not angry) action early on will stop the negative neural pathways from forming and allow positive ones to form.

Also, your subconscious records 24/7, 365 days a year.

Unless positive action is taken to change your mindset on the grudge, the subconscious will bring it up every time a similar situation comes up. Not only that, the subconscious will replay the initial incident over again.

This is where we get flashbacks to an incident when we dream, or when we come across a similar incident.

So how can we overcome a grudge in a simple and safe manner?

Simple techniques to calm down from a grudge include

  • Deep Breathing – taking time to deep breath when you feel angry can help you calm down.
  • Take a time-out. By taking a time out you can de-escalate a situation and give some breathing space to calm down.
  • Doing something to divert your attention can help, if you can divert 100% of your attention you will become calmer quicker.

Once in a calmer state then you need to address the problem in a calm but assertive way. If someone has crossed your boundaries then talk to them in a constructive way using humour and keeping away from the black and white thinking, explore all options. Make sure you do not use statements like ‘You made me” or “you did this”.

Blaming language will keep the negative pattern going, just a simple change of language from ‘You’ to ‘I’ language means that you can take the heat out of the situation and help the other person to hear the message without any judgement.

For example: Instead of “you made me feel like this” try “I felt this way after….”

Ask yourself this simple question

Why would you risk your health by holding that grudge you have against someone?

If a grudge is affecting your life and you keep drinking from that cup of poison, give me a message here so we can discuss your situation further.

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