There’s an interesting post over at Salon.com entitled, The science of forgiveness: When you don’t forgive you release all the chemicals of the stress response.
Here’s a taster:
[Enright] began by developing therapies aimed at helping elderly women to forgive those who had wronged them in the past, and to help victims of abuse and incest to understand their tormentors without justifying the abusers’ actions. His initial findings were encouraging. His first study, which compared women undergoing forgiveness therapy with a control group who underwent therapy for emotional wounds without a forgiveness focus, found that the experimental group improved more in emotional and psychological health measures than the control group. It was published in the journal Psychotherapy in 1993. Afterward, Enright honed his therapeutic forgiveness tools, from helping people develop empathy—the ability to understand and share the feelings of another—toward aggressors, to learning to forgive and accept themselves, and tested them on a range of groups. Among battered women and “parental love–deprived college students,” for instance, those subject to forgiveness therapy showed more improvement in emotional and psychological health than control groups who received therapy without a forgiveness focus.