Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Let It Go

Image source: xonefm.com

Anyone who has young children or grandchildren will be familiar with the phrase ‘Let It Go’ (two year old Cameron and five year old Kendall lit up the One & Only Beach Bar in the Bahamas with a spirited rendition a few months back). The title song from Disney’s blockbuster film Frozen is the most requested karaoke song in 2014 and a tune lamented by parents everywhere. What made Frozen the number one animated film of all time and why do kids love it so? Yalda T. Uhls and Maryam Kia-Keating are two psychologists (sisters and mothers) who decided to find out. The verdict: it recognizes the desire to be happy and free.

One thing that doesn’t make you feel happy and free is a grudge. Think about the last time you held one. It’s hard to avoid that heavy feeling, that extra weight. True, we often talk about ‘carrying’ a grudge like we’re managing some hefty load, somewhat begrudgingly, but voluntarily, nonetheless.

According to a new study this may not be too far from the truth. Literally, holding a grudge can weigh you down.

The interesting thing about the study, by Xue Zheng of Erasmus University, is that it illustrates the close interaction between our mental and physical realities. I’ll explain.

The experiment involved asking participants to recall a time they’d experienced conflict. One group were asked to recall a situation that ended in forgiveness, while the other group were asked to recall a situation where they did not forgive the offender. All participants were then asked to jump five times as high as they could.

Participants in the ‘forgiving’ group jumped the highest, while the ‘grudge holding’ group jumped almost one-third lower (on average) than the forgivers.

So there it is; carrying a grudge extends beyond the metaphor. Forgiveness can lighten the burden. Let it go.

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