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Director of Stanford Forgiveness Project to Lecture at the University of Utah

May 10, 2002– While the world’s spiritual literature has long espoused forgiving as a balm for bitterness, new studies, based on scientific and medical research, prove that giving up grudges improves emotional and physical well-being. Conversely, holding onto resentment or hurt disrupts personal and professional lives, leads to bad decision-making and releases stress-related hormones that can impact health.

Dr. Fred Luskin, director and cofounder of The Stanford University Forgiveness Project, will be on the University of Utah campus to discuss these and other findings. He will present “Forgiving for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness” on Thursday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m., in the Museum of Fine Arts’ Dumke Auditorium. A reception and booksigning will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

“We are living in an age of uncertainty and violence. Events around the globe raise troubling questions about the goodness of humanity,” notes Robert D. Hill, professor and chairman of the University of Utah’s Department of Educational Psychology, a sponsor of the lecture.

“Forgiveness is a pervasive concept that can affect anyone who has ever felt hurt, betrayed or harmed by another individual or event. Forgiveness is one of the few mechanisms human beings have to deal with these kinds of insults or harms, yet many people are unaware of how to develop the quality. Fred Luskin has created a method that introduces forgiveness to people who want to free themselves from these burdens,” Hill says.

Luskin’s forgiveness research has focused on a range of issues-from letting go of minor hurts to dealing with life’s catastrophes. During next week’s lecture, Luskin will explain how science is proving what, he says, “many of us knew intuitively-learning to forgive is good for the body, mind and relationships.”

Participants who have followed Luskin’s forgiveness methods report a decrease in feelings of hurt; a reduction in the physical symptoms of stress, including backache, muscle aches, dizziness and upset stomach; an increase in optimism; and a reduction in long-term anger-a significant risk factor in cardiovascular disease.

Luskin has a Ph.D. in counseling and health psychology from Stanford University. He has worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and is author of the book Forgive For Good, a nine-step self-help book released earlier this year. Luskin has taught families of murdered children from both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland to deal with their grief and move towards forgiveness.

This 2002 Bluhm lecture is also sponsored by the University’s College of Education and the Alumni Advisory Council. For more information, call 801-581-7148.