Resentment is a lingering feeling that comes from perceived unfair or poor treatment. When we meditate on the perceived mistreatment and direct our negative and often hostile feelings toward the person or event we deem responsible for causing the perceived mistreatment, this is resentment in action.
Whether we are justified in our feelings or not, harboring resentment can be genuinely debilitating in our lives. This article will outline how resentments can be debilitating in our physical, mental, and emotional lives.
Resentment will take a toll on our physical health in a bad way. When we feel negative emotions, it causes the body to go into a stressed state known as the flight or fight response. When this occurs, adrenaline levels rise, heart rate increases, and blood is redirected from organs to limbs (in preparation for fighting or flighting).
When the body remains in this heightened state for a prolonged period, it can lead to physical distress. Stress hormones are released, and this can cause health issues such as gastrointestinal problems, headaches/migraines, chronic pain conditions, heart problems, blood pressure issues, and several others.
We will also be impacted emotionally when we harbor resentment and the accompanying negative emotions that coincide with it, such as anger, anxiety, stress, and frustration. Choosing to hold onto negative emotions prevents you from experiencing the fullness of positive emotions such as love, gratitude, and kindness because too many stress hormones are filling the body.
Additionally, trouble enjoying people, events, and things and challenges trusting other people are commonly experienced. One might also find that there is trouble managing and stabilizing mood and that they are more emotionally reactive and unable to communicate clearly or openly with others.
Mental Health Impacts
Mental health is another area that can see significant adverse impacts. When we hold onto resentment, we often meditate on the perceived injustice constantly, which is detrimental. The continual focus on the negative event and person can make it hard to concentrate and remember things.
One might also find themselves struggling to process feelings and events and have difficulty problem-solving, identifying a problem, or understanding the true complexity of a problem. This can lead to clouded judgment and trouble making decisions. Additionally, mental health conditions can increase when resentment is present. Anxiety, depression, and other disorders like phobias and PTSD can present themselves or, if already present, increase significantly to the point that it interferes drastically in one’s daily life.
Each of the previously listed categories of negative impacts that can present itself in response to holding onto resentment can lead to detriments in one’s ability to engage in healthy social relationships.
If physical health conditions, mental health, or emotional struggles limit a person, it will inhibit their ability to connect with others in a meaningful way. This means there will be difficulty engaging with others, challenges connecting with others, problems trusting others, and struggles empathizing with others. This limits connections and stunts social growth.
All of this points to the fact that resentments do not serve anyone who holds onto them. Instead, they only bring about a host of challenges that can drastically limit your life and ability to make forward progress.
Thus, making every effort to release resentment is vital to experiencing mental and emotional freedom from the situation or person one has bitterness for and experiencing freedom and joy in one’s life.