Forgiveness: Letting Go of the Past for Your Mental Health

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Forgiveness and letting the past go can improve your mental health, but it is not always easy to do. Find 4 practical tips on how to forgive at HealthyPlace

Forgiveness: Letting Go of the Past for Your Mental Health

Forgiveness. We hear the word frequently, and it’s touted as something important for our inner peace. Rightly so, for forgiveness means letting go of the past and moving forward. These aren’t easy, however.

Rethinking what these concepts mean might help. Contrary to the phrase “forgive and forget,” forgiveness does not mean forgetting. The human brain turns certain things—especially emotional things—into deep-seated memories. How, then, do you forgive?

How to Forgive

Try these tips to help you forgive and let go:

  • Focus on the “letting go” part. That is about you and your choices.
  • Know that it is a choice. You are choosing to let go rather than hanging on to negative thoughts and experiences. That’s empowering.
  • Know your values. What’s important to you? Which one will move you toward the life you want, the person you want to be: hanging on to the past, or letting go and moving forward?
  • Practice mindfulness. When you notice your thoughts and emotions drifting back, redirect them. Pay attention to what you are doing right now, in this moment. Are you living now, despite what happened? If yes, focus on that. If no, do something in the moment to move a step toward what you value.

Whether you call it forgives or letting go, these are actions and mind-sets that move you forward in your life for your mental health.

Related Articles Dealing with Forgiveness and Letting Go

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Today's Question: What helps you move forward when you have a hard time forgiving and letting go? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2018, February 26). Forgiveness: Letting Go of the Past for Your Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 17 from

Last Updated: February 28, 2018

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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