(KYTX) - What if we told you there was a way to lower your blood pressure and heart rate, even reduce anxiety and depression, without taking a pill?
Well, there is.
All it takes is an ounce of forgiveness.
It turns out there are noticeable mental and physical affects to forgiving people no matter what your grudge may be.
How the power of forgiveness works.
Niki Wilson is all smiles and laughs now, but she says four years ago, it was an entirely different story.
"I was just angry, mean, and talked bad to people and had so much rage inside. I was just angry," says Wilson.
Nikki says it started early, at the age of 12 her sister died and she had a hard time understanding how to cope with that.
She says her mother stopped being affectionate, and her step father became verbally abusive.
"There was constant fighting in our house, constant chaos, constant yelling, screaming. There was no religion in our house. It was very, very unpleasant," says Wilson.
Nikki moved out when she was 18 and married not too long after.
She found out her then husband was cheating on her.
Bottling up all of that emotion took a toll on Nikki mentally, emotionally and physically.
"I had been on blood pressure medicine since I was 15. I was diagnosed with my first ulcer when I was 19. Had another ulcer at 28. Gained probably 100 pounds," says Wilson.
"So if you're having issues with forgiveness, if they've wronged you, you're hurting yourself, not them. We think that we're controlling the other person, or having some effect on them, but it's the other way around," says Dr. Peiter De Wet.
Dr. De Wet specializes in forgiveness and taking back your life.
He says there's a definitive link between the brain and our organs.
If we signal animosity, it resonates further down the line than just our emotions.
Dr. De Wet says the way to release that stronghold is to actively forgive.
"It's the key to get you out of your confinement with your negative emotions," says Dr. De Wet.
Dr. De Wet says the most obvious signs are headaches, high blood pressure and stomach ailments.
All things Nikki had happen to her, until she began going to pre-marital counseling with her second husband.
"I can literally remember praying in his office and this weight coming off my shoulders. I really felt peace, probably for the first time in 25 years. It was just amazing," says Wilson.
Nikki says the hardest part was forgiving herself.
"I think until you can forgive those people and release that hold they have you or that hold you have on yourself, I don't think you'll be a whole person," says Wilson.
Nikki no longer takes anxiety or blood pressure medication, she has reconciled many of her relationships, lost the weight and molded her new family together.
"When people say forgiveness will set you free, I don't think they really comprehend that without forgiveness you're just living a, I don't know, half of an existence," says Wilson.
Nikki wants to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation, she's starting the grant writing process to open a home for un-wed and pregnant teens and hopes to open it next year.
She says without forgiveness, she couldn't make a sacrifice in her life to help others people.