Tagged: “forgiving communities”

The Road to a Healthier Life in Your Golden Years

Exercise, get adequate sleep, eat right, reduce stress — you’ve probably been told to do all of these things to manage your health. All those actions contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and failing to follow them could lead you down a path of health issues and serious medical conditions. The risk of health problems due to poor lifestyle choices is even greater when you’re older.

The International Forgiveness Institute wants you to thrive throughout your life.  If you’re a senior who hasn’t begun prioritizing your physical and mental health, here are some ways to get it under control.

Nourish Yourself

Photo Credit: Pexels

Eating healthy is not only important to keep your systems working smoothly, but according to Verywell Fit, it’s also important for weight management. Younger people might struggle to lose weight and stay thin, but older adults have different concerns.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that being underweight is unhealthy for seniors, and many seniors fall into this category. Conversely, obesity is not a good place to be either. To keep your health under control, stick to a diet that hits all of your caloric and nutritional needs. A healthy, well-fed body is at a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and kidney disease.

Sleep Well

Most adults under-sleep, but it’s also possible to over-sleep. Family Doctor notes it’s important to get the right amount of sleep, specifically between seven and eight hours per night. If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or staying awake, then it’s time to adjust your sleep patterns to get on a regular schedule. Ample sleep will bring you energy, mental clarity, better moods, and relaxation from the chaos of daily life.

Healthline suggests you should turn off your electronics at least an hour before bedtime, take a relaxing bath, read a book, and meditate for a few minutes. Make sure to avoid caffeine after lunch or chocolate close to bedtime. If you suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome or sleep apnea, be sure to get the problem treated by a doctor so you can finally rest at night.

Why You Should Start a Business Instead of Retiring

Retirement often seems like the last step after years of working but it usually leads to an unfulfilling and boring period of our lives. According to the AARP, many seniors are looking to entrepreneurship as a way to stay busy and motivate themselves in an exciting way.

There are plenty of reasons why seniors are starting new businesses too. Aside from the work being much more enjoyable than the typical 9 to 5 grind, it also lets us turn our hobbies into a career and create our own dream jobs.

And once you’ve decided to start your own business, the next step is just to get it off the ground and get going. After a basic plan is established and you learn how to start a business, all that’s left to do is start working your dream job and, who knows, maybe one day you’ll even be hiring employees!

Stress Less

Stress doesn’t show obvious signs like some medical conditions, but it can lead to serious complications if you let it get out of control. Besides leading to depression and anxiety, which the APA explains can result in poor quality of life, stress can actually cause death through cardiovascular disease. Reign in your stress by practicing meditation, developing hobbies that promote well-being, exercising, building relationships and community, and seeking help from a mental health professional when the stress feels like too much.

Get Outside

As we rely more and more on technology, we ultimately spend more time indoors. However, Psychology Today explains this isn’t healthy for us, either mentally or physically. So, whenever possible, spend some time in nature, whether that’s grabbing some new gear and hitting the trails or simply biking through a local park, hanging out in the sunshine and breathing plenty of fresh air can work wonders on your overall well-being.

Be Forgiving

Speaking of stress, when we hold on to resentment and anger, it builds up and eats away at us emotionally, contributing to our stress. Retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and the life you’ve built. This is an especially good time to consider forgiveness. Whether it’s among family, friends or even forgiving yourself. Forgiveness allows you to let go of those pent up feelings holding you back from living your best life. And while forgiveness can feel like a challenge, when we learn to forgive, we are reinvesting in our loved ones and ourselves. For additional information on  forgiveness for senior citizens, check out more of this International Forgiveness Institute website.

Your senior years are the time to reclaim your body and your mind, to preserve them as long as possible, and to reverse the damage done over the years. You can’t age backward, but you can control your quality of life so that aging forward is a positive experience. Put your health and happiness first to make the most of your golden years.


This article was written for the International Forgiveness Institute by Jason Lewis, a certified personal trainer who became the primary caretaker for his mother following her surgery in 2002. As he helped her with her recovery, he realized there is a growing need for trainers who can assist seniors in their own homes and communities. With a degree in Health Science and Human Performance, Jason works with medical professionals and other personal trainers to create programs that are customized to the special health needs of those over the age of 65. Visit his website, packed with health information for seniors and their caregivers, at strongwell.org.

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Can your Forgiveness Education materials be modified for secular universities, which are looking at racial injustice, white supremacy, social justice?

Our Forgiveness Education programs are built for ages 4 through age 18. For university settings, I would recommend the following:

The video, The Power of Forgiveness, as a way to get people discussing forgiveness in the context of societal challenges.

Then you might consider small groups that read and discuss any of the following of my self-help forgiveness books:

Forgiveness Is a Choice (2001)

The Forgiving Life (2012). This is my most in-depth self-help book because it links forgiving to the moral virtue of agape love. This book is a Socratic dialogue between two women.

8 Keys to Forgiveness (2015)

Please keep in mind that some who advocate for social justice misunderstand the importance and beauty of forgiveness, thinking it is a way of caving in to injustice. This is not what forgiveness is. Yet, if a person misunderstands forgiveness in this way, it may lead to a rejection of forgiveness because of this misunderstanding of its true meaning.

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2020: A Year We Will Always Remember

Do you remember 2019, the year before last year? It was a year plagued by worldwide unrest, hurricanes, and societal conflicts. When it mercifully sputtered to its end, people sang and drank and danced happily on its grave, assured that 2020 surely would be a much better year.

For a few months, it was. But then, thanks primarily to what was first labeled a “miniscule coronavirus” discovered in a far-away land, 2020 turned out to be much worse for many millions of people around the world. It was one of the most challenging years in modern history—a year to forget, but one we will always remember.

Yet, as a forgiveness researcher and co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI), I am proud to report that despite its many challenges, 2020 turned out to be our most productive year ever since I began studying forgiveness three decades ago.

HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF OUR NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2020:

1) We completed and had published 11 significant scientific research projects. I was able to team up with a different group of uniquely-qualified specialists for each of those projects. Covering a wide range of cultural diversity, and encompassing studies in seven countries with both adult and child participants, those studies included:

  • Development and implementation of a totally new forgiveness tool—The Enright Group Forgiveness Inventory–that has important implications for world peace. As part of that project, we tested the tool in China, Taiwan, Slovenia, and the U.S. It will soon be available on the IFI website at no cost to researchers.
  • Completion of three “peace education initiatives” in China, Iran, and the U.S. that are designed to inspire and engage educators, students, and community leaders. I continue projects like these because I genuinely believe that forgiveness is the missing piece to the peace puzzle and that the IFI must continue its mission of “Healing Hearts, Building Peace.”
  • Seven other projects documenting how Forgiveness Therapy can positively impact the homeless and those in prison, help prevent bullying (Spain), assist female acid attack victims in Pakistan (a significant social issue there), and others.
    + See all the 2020 IFI Research Projects +

2) As recognition and adoption of our Forgiveness Therapy interventions grows, I was able to develop and deliver more than a dozen targeted forgiveness presentations in the U.S. as well as in Scotland (Edinburgh), Northern Ireland (Belfast), and Slovakia (Bratislava) during 2020. Audiences included cancer treatment specialists, pediatricians, oncologists, and other medical specialists; prison maximum security staff and inmates; school administrators and teachers; and university faculty, research associates, and students.
+ See the full list of 2020 Forgiveness Presentations +

3) Responding to frequent requests from national and international news reporters, I was able to complete media interviews, podcasts and video productions in Spain, Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada and a variety of U.S. locations. One of those podcasts—hosted and broadcast by Dr. Alexandra Miller, a popular family relations psychologist—was downloaded by individuals in 225 US cities and 22 foreign countries in just the first three weeks after it was recorded.
+ See the entire list of 2020 Media Engagements +

4) In addition to all that activity, I managed to continue our promotion of the immeasurable benefits of forgiveness and Forgiveness Therapy by:

Yes, 2020 was a ground-breaking, record-setting year for the science of forgiveness, for the International Forgiveness Institute and for me personally. At the same time, the pandemic has helped us realize that life is too short to be unhappy. Living in the moment matters. Being there for the people you love matters. And it gives us the chance to add to our Unfolding Love Story.

There is one sure way to get rid of your unhappiness: Make this year the one when you learn to forgive. If you live a forgiving life, I guarantee it will be a happier and healthier life.

Robert

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As a strict philosophical materialist, I am convinced that there are no such things as moral offenses caused by an offender. I say this because there is no free will and so we cannot pin blame on “offenders” for their behavior. They have not chosen to act this way.

Well, I have to disagree.  Social science researchers claiming that brain activity preceded an observed behavior by participants never——never——study this in the context of morals.  In every case, the researchers measure such activity as button-pushing: Does the brain activity occur before a person pushes a button or does the person first decide to push the button and then it is registered in the brain?  Button-pushing has nothing whatsoever to do with moral decisions.  Would you claim that the person who executed little girls in the Amish community of Pennsylvania in 2006 “just couldn’t help it”?  Could he not help it when he lined them up?  Did his brain make him pull the trigger and some cause outside of him lead to what the executioner’s weapon was to be?  Had he lived, would you advocate no court trial? 

When it comes to morals and the claim that people have no free will, you have to be careful that your view of humanity does not degenerate.  I say that because your view leads to the ultimate conclusion that no person who acts monstrously ever can be rehabilitated other than through some kind of yet undiscovered brain surgery.  Surely some who act monstrously might have a brain lesion, but that would be the rare case, what Aristotle would call an Accident.  Why do I say this?  It is because many times (far too many) a young and very physically-healthy person has committed acts of unspeakable brutality.  Thus, the Aristotelian Accidents do not account for the entire story explaining monstrous behavior.  Free will, then, leading to self-chosen acts, seems to fit better such moral examples as occurred in the Amish community.

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Peace Education Goal: Emotional Healing for Individuals, Families, Communities

During his 30 years of studying the moral virtue of forgiveness, Dr. Robert Enright has become convinced that forgiveness is the missing piece to the peace puzzle. While recording major milestones in pursuit of that peace premise throughout his career, Dr. Enright is now complementing those extensive efforts by pursuing “peace education” initiatives designed to inform, inspire, and engage educators who are working to enhance peace efforts around the world. 

Peace education hopes to create in the human consciousness a commitment to the ways of peace. Just as a doctor learns in medical school how to minister to the sick, students in peace education classes learn how to solve problems caused by violence. Peace educators use teaching skills to stop violence by developing a peace consciousness that can provide the basis for a just and sustainable future.

As “the forgiveness trailblazer” (TIME magazine), Dr. Enright’s most recent peace education efforts include these three just-published studies:

An addition to peace education: Toward the process of a just and merciful community in schools

Published in the Aug. 6, 2020 issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology®, this qualitative research study with teachers in the US and China demonstrated that justice and mercy need to be partners in school disciplinary policy:

 “Peace education may be more complete if both justice and mercy are part of the disciplinary process of schools. Justice by itself, as a traditional method of discipline in schools, will not necessarily address the resentments that can build up in both those offended and those offending. Mercy offers a second chance and the recognition and acknowledgment that many carry emotional pain which must be addressed for thriving in the school setting.”

Authors: Lai Y. Wong, Linghua Jiang, Jichan J. Kim, Baoyu Zhang, Mary Jacqueline Song, Robert D. Enright.


A philosophical and psychological examination of “justice first”: Toward the need for both justice and forgiveness when conflict arises

Published in the April 16, 2020 issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology®, this study examined justice and forgiveness between communities in conflict:

“The idea of ‘justice first’ between communities in conflict may be insufficient and therefore is depriving people within communities of emotional healing through the exercise of forgiving. The concern here is with the build-up of resentment or unhealthy anger as justice is not realized, especially over a long period of time. Yet, this resentment, and the psychologically-negative effects of this resentment, can be substantially reduced through the practice of forgiving, which has empirically-verified evidence for reducing such anger and significantly improving mental health. Learning to forgive and to put forgiveness into practice can start, not across communities, but instead within one’s own family and community for emotional healing.”

Authors: Mary Jacqueline Song, Robert D. Enright.


Effectiveness of forgiveness education with adolescents in reducing anger and ethnic prejudice in Iran

Published in the August 24, 2020 issue of Journal of Educational Psychology, this study (along with other similar studies) demonstrates that forgiveness education can be an important means of reducing anger and ethnic prejudice in Eastern and Western cultures.

“This research investigated the effectiveness of a forgiveness education program on reducing anger and ethnic prejudice and improving forgiveness in Iranian adolescents. Participants included 224 male and female students (Persian, Azeri, and Kurdish) in 8th grade who were selected from 3 provinces: Tehran, Eastern Azerbaijan, and Kurdistan. The results indicated that the experimental group was higher in forgiveness and lower in ethnic prejudice, state anger, trait anger, and anger expression compared with the control group. This difference was statistically significant in the follow-up phase.”

Authors: Bagher Ghobari Bonab, Mohamad Khodayarifard, Ramin Hashemi Geshnigani, Behnaz Khoei, Fatimah Nosrati, Mary Jacqueline Song, Robert D. Enright.

NOTE: Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology® is a publication of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 48–Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology Division.

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