Health Benefits of a Sincere Apology
Saying you're sorry is potent medicine for the giver and receiver.
Stages of Life Keyed to Level of Healing continued...
In terms of health, Orsborn says, "Women at stages one and two tend to
have more stress-related disorders and anxiety."
On the flip side, a study done in 2002 by researchers from Hope College and
Virginia Commonwealth University showed that heart rate, blood pressure, sweat
levels, and facial tension decreased in victims of wrongs when they imagined
receiving an apology.
In both cases, the people were carrying "the pain of the past," as
Orsborn puts it, and then could lay it down and walk away from it.
How to Say It Like You Mean It
Neither the apologizer nor the apologizee, however, will benefit if the
apology is not sincere.
"Saying you are sorry is so difficult," Alexandra Delis-Abrams, PhD,
also known as "The Attitude Doc," tells WebMD. "It's an ego thing.
It's humiliating to say you were wrong and are sorry. It means you did
something you shouldn't have and you know it. Now you have to take
It helps only if you mean it, she adds. "People often just give it lip
service. I think there is a song by Garth Brooks that goes, 'I buried the
hatchet, but left out the handle.' You can't leave out the handle."
Orsborn recommends invoking a prayer from the Buddhist tradition.
"Before you offer an apology or pick up the phone, sit comfortably, breathe
slowly, and feel the burden of having not asked for forgiveness bear down on
you. After you have felt that as deeply as possible, then say to yourself,
"I have hurt someone out of ignorance, anger, or confusion, and I ask for
the power to forgive myself."
Before you can ask for someone else's forgiveness, you have to forgive
yourself, Orsborn says. "You won't get the benefits it you don't forgive
yourself." In other words, more sleepless nights!
What Not to Say
Here are some wrong ways to go about it:
The DC Special. "If I have offended some people, I
apologize." No if's.
The two-way. "I am sincerely sorry, but you sort of
are to blame, too."
The reset. If the apology is a way to reset the system so
you can offend again, this is also insincere. Often abusing spouses use this