“Not Forgiving can Kill You,” Says Dr. Frank Fincham

This post is seventh in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

Ask yourself: do I forgive others or do I let my anger fester and grow? For most people, forgiveness is hard; it’s sometimes easier to hold onto things. Forgiveness takes work, as we talked about here. Now ask yourself: do I value my health? While these questions may appear to be random, they are not. At a BYU lecture in 2013, Dr. Frank Fincham explained how the two are connected: “If you ruminate or nurse a grudge you will have a more negative experience, you will show things like higher heart rate, greater galvanic skin response. You will experience increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and mean arterial pressure, which is a reflection of arterial stiffness. If you do that over time, if it’s chronic, the anger and hostility that characterize ongoing, vengeful thoughts can be linked to very serious health consequences. No surprise given what I’ve just said about blood pressure, that you’re more likely to experience heart disease.”


As the holder of a Rhodes Scholar doctoral degree in social psychology from Oxford University, then a professor and director of clinical training at the University of Illinois, a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the University at Buffalo, and an Eminent Scholar and Director of the Family Institute at The Florida State University, as well as an award-winning author of more than 250 publications about personal relationships and a Fellow of five different professional societies, he spoke with authority on the subject of forgiveness. His lecture was the ninth in a series of annual lectures honoring the legacy of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, wife of former president of the LDS Church Gordon B. Hinckley.

“Lack of forgiveness is nothing short of life-threatening,” he said. So if you want to live a long and fulfilling life, I would encourage you to find forgiveness as a way of life.”

His full lecture can be found here, and other highlights here.



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