Why Holding a Grudge Can Ruin Your Health

September 2011, Xtend-Life Expert


I've often heard some people say that 'holding a grudge will give you cancer'. Personally, I don't believe that withholding some resentment will directly determine whether or not you'll get cancer.

I've often heard some people say that 'holding a grudge will give you cancer'. Personally, I don't believe that withholding some resentment will directly determine whether or not you'll get cancer.

However, these built-up feelings of anger and negativity may actually have a physiological effect on your health... and more often than not, it’s unlikely to be good for you. I must be honest I used to have a bad habit of holding grudges. In fact, I even held a grudge against the guy who used to bully me when I was just 8-years old!

Being bitter about bad experiences can be expected but to build up so much resentment for the people who caused them can take a toll on your health.

A good friend of mine recently took me aside and said that I should really ‘let it all go’ because I really should be focusing on the future and not dwell on the past. He also said that all the negative emotions I was feeling was holding me back from unleashing my true potential…from a business, personal and even physical level.

I agreed with him and decided to drop the ‘emotional baggage’ I was carrying and just get on with enjoying my life. It wasn’t easy at first but once I realized how my health and personality were being affected, I knew I just had to do it.

I'm already noticing improvements! The mental block I used to have when it came to business and even my golf game has started to erode quite rapidly. I no longer feel held back and instead of doubting myself…I now always back myself to achieve the goals I set out in front of me. Those emotional demons of the past were actually little mole-hills that I thought were mountains.

This article on the Time website explains five ways how you can let go of grudges. Points 2 and 4 really hit home for me but I’m sure that others who tend to hold grudges can relate to at least one of the points... if not all five. 

I also found this interesting article on the CNN website that discusses the actual ailments and health conditions that have been associated with feelings of negativity, anger, resentment and depression.

The quote below sums it all up in my opinion. It’s from Dr. Charles Raison, associate professor of psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine and CNNHealth's Mental Health expert doctor.

"Bitterness is a nasty solvent that erodes every good thing."


  • “Forgiveness is for yourself. Many studies show that holding on to negative emotions shortens your life, raises blood pressure, causes illness, etc. You have to let it go for your own benefit.”

    Clara - November 10 2011

  • “Good post.We have our own Naturopathy ,Yoga& Ayurveda centre.We also agree that Yoga&Meditation helps us to relax the mind.Thanks.www.sathvikayuryoga.com ”

    Dr.Shashi - October 31 2011

  • “ Holding a grudge effectively locks you and enslaves you to your past. It has the effect of impeding your own progress while in no way affecting the progress of the one against whom the grudge is held. That person advances while your own progress stagnates.It is really "baggage" that you carry and under which you struggle. It prevents you from achieving much of your own personal development (you spend most of your time thinking about the demise of the other!) and largely neglect the things which you can and should do for YOURSELF and your own development!. It mostly prevents you from doing something "new", because in order to "get even" (satisfy your grudge) of necessity it becomes all about or, gets tied up with, the past. It is as effective as chains which hold a slave in bondage – but hey! – it is of you own making and, unlike the slaves of old, it is you who hold the key- so free yourself! ”

    Gladstone Taylor - September 30 2011

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