Health Benefits of a Sincere Apology (cont.)

Changing Your Cells?

Delis-Abrams says changes in thoughts can program cell structure to provide health benefits. "When you tell a lie," she says, "according to Chinese medicine, the lie gets lodged on the body on the cell level. It can feel like a knot. When you say you are sorry, the body knows the truth of whether you mean it. You are the one who can change your body. You are the one in charge of your thoughts."

She tells of a time she told her son something about his sister that was really his sister's prerogative to tell. "I said I was sorry," she recalls. "I freed myself! I felt much better."

Acceptance or Not

Delis-Abrams says the other person does not have to accept your apology for you to get the health benefits. She tells of two business associates who had a falling out. One wrote to the other and said, "I miss you." Her friend said, "Well, I don't miss her." She wrote back and said she didn't miss her former associate but now they were both free to move on.

"Your apology may never be accepted," Orsborn says. "You need to find a way to live with that. When you hold onto problems, it's like dragging an anchor. Your best thinking occurs when you find a sense of peace."

And your best night's sleep, too.

Star Lawrence is a medical journalist based in the Phoenix area.

Published Oct. 24, 2005.

SOURCES: Carol Orsborn, PhD, research associate, UCLA; author, Nothing Left Unsaid: Words to Help You and Your Loved Ones Through the Hardest Times and The Silver Pearl: Our Generation's Journey to Wisdom. Alexandra Delis-Abrams, PhD, author, Attitudes, Beliefs and Choices. WebMD Medical News: "Saying 'Sorry' Goes a Long Way.

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Last Editorial Review: 11/4/2005