Holding a Grudge Produces Cortisol and Diminishes Oxytocin

We all know the physiological feeling created when your “blood is boiling” and you ruminate about ways to “get even” with someone who has hurt or betrayed you. Feelings ofanger or revenge activate the “fight-or-flight” stress response of your sympathetic nervous system which causes cortisol levels to spike.

The stress response triggered by bitterness and rage also raises blood pressure, reduces the healthy tone of your vagus nerve, and activates a feedback loop of distress that can damage your health.

Are you currently holding a grudge against someone? Is someone holding a grudge against you? What was the transgression that led to the feelings of anger and resentment or a desire to seek revenge? Do you feel more like the perpetrator or the victim in this conflict? Are you in a position to apologize and make amends?

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