According to Dr. Fred Luskin, Director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects and a pioneer in the practice of forgiveness therapy, “What happens when you’re stressed is blood flow draws away from the parts of the brain that think creatively and straightforwardly. That is what stress is designed to do. The purpose of your body’s stress response is to make you stupid.”

While that statement sounds somewhat controversial, his point is that when your body goes into stress mode, its focus is on either escaping the danger or attacking the source of danger. It doesn’t have time to plan, reason or analyze. Its purpose is to survive!

The truth is that most of the time, our stress response is not appropriate for the situation. Another word for stress is anxiety which is another word for fear. So, when we are stressed or anxious of fearful, in today’s world we have to mentally suppress the “flight or fight” imperative and try to cope with the situation in a rational way. So while our body wants to run or attack, our mind wants to stop and think. They are in direct opposition. That’s why we find it so hard to think clearly when we are under stress.

The problem we face in our modern society, is that we are almost always in a state of stress. Whether it’s in traffic where we have to be wary of people cutting in front of us, or at work where the boss might yell at us about a mistake, or in a relationship where our partner reacts badly over something we did or didn’t do, we are generally in a potentially stressful situation. That stress is often expressed as anger, resentment, anxiety, hatred, irritation, frustration or a desire for vengeance.

So what physically happens when we are in that state of emotion? Our bodies immediately flood with adrenaline to produce a rush of energy, cortisol rushes to increase the body functions needed in stressful situations and norepinephrine flows to increase the brain’s alertness and focus. In the rest of the body, norepinephrine also increases heart rate and blood pressure, triggers the release of glucose stored in our cells for sustained energy, increases blood flow to skeletal muscles, reduces blood flow to the digestive system, and shuts down the bladder. All of this is great for facing sabre-tooth tigers, but if we’re in that state every day for many hours in a day, our bodies are eventually going to burn out.

Unfortunately, unforgiveness is a creator of chronic stress. By harboring negative emotions, like anger, resentment and hatred, we create a state of chronic anxiety (also known as stress). The result is that the overcharged body turns against itself and, even worse, so does the mind.

Remember a mind under stress is a mind that is deprived of rational thought because as Dr. Luskin states when the body is stressed, “blood flow draws away from the parts of the brain that think creatively and straightforwardly. That is what stress is designed to do. The purpose of your body’s stress response is to make you stupid.”
Functional Forgiveness is designed to help you regain control of your mind by helping reduce the automatic stress response that we slip into because of habitual reactions caused by the everyday conditioning of our lives. When we develop awareness of our behavior through Functional Forgiveness training, we begin to think more clearly, make better decisions and walk away from the behaviors that hold us back from the life we want to enjoy.

Author's Bio: 

“One night in 1968, while visiting Detroit on temporary assignment, I had a powerfully vivid and prophetic dream.
I was startled awake to find my bed surrounded by flames, but I was unable to flee because my body was paralyzed. Then, at the foot of the bed, a wall-sized image appeared before me. It showed me walking down a tree-lined road. Along the road, I encountered a man standing. He appeared lost.

I greeted him and he came along with me. We walked together until we came to a gate. I approached the gate and opened it. Then I ushered him through the gate. He went on his way through the gate and I continued down the road. Next, I met a woman standing in the road. As before, I escorted her down the road to a gate and guided her through it.

This happened several times with either a man or woman meeting me along the road and I escorted each one to a gate. Each gate was different – wooden corral, fancy carved timber, wrought iron, solid steel, etc. Finally, after several encounters, the image at the foot of the bed faded, the flames died away and I was suddenly able to move my body again.?

I jumped up to see if everything was OK. There was no damage. Everything was the same as it was when I went to bed. I couldn't go back to sleep. I spent the rest of the night trying to figure out what had just happened.

That episode occurred in the home of my wife’s uncle who was the pastor of a church in Detroit. When I told him about my experience the next morning, he declared that I had received the calling to become a minister. I dismissed the idea at first, but eventually events in my life led me to accept the message. So, I finally entered training and became an ordained minister in 1982.
For the past 30+ years since then, I have lived that dream of showing people through their gates. My roles have been varied, in the corporate arena as a technology and management trainer, corporate consultant, corporate manager; in the spiritual world as a minister, motivational speaker, life coach. Yet my dedication has remained steadfast, to help others (including myself) find a way to live a better life.”
- Andrew Bozeman

Andrew Bozeman is a distinguished speaker, coach, writer and trainer with a deep belief in the unlimited potential of people. In fulfilling that belief, he seeks to offer gateways out of the dysfunction of limiting behaviors and beliefs. He has dedicated himself to the mental, emotional and spiritual transformation of those who are weighed down by self-doubt, self-criticism and negative mental chatter that prevents them from rising to their highest potential.  

Andrew is now using his 30+ years of experience as an ordained minister combined with successful careers in business, to chart new pathways. He is helping people reclaim their lives by expanding their self-image, enhancing their relationships and achieving their goals. He has helped teams attain higher levels of performance and elevate their productivity.