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Alan Jones – a real apology goes a long way

October 1, 2012

“Hard To Say I’m Sorry” was a huge hit for soft-rock group Chicago in 1982.  It can indeed be hard to say sorry, as broadcaster Alan Jones found over the weekend when his attempts to say sorry to PM Julia Gillard for saying her recently-deceased father had “died of shame” were rebuffed.

When we feel particularly wronged, “sorry” might not seem to cut it.  But medical research has shown that a simple apology can make a significant difference to our mental wellbeing.

From WebMD Health News:

Researchers monitored 32 men and 29 women for various reactions when they were told to imagine being victims of a robbery, then they imagined getting an apology, restitution, both, or neither.

Heart rate, blood pressure, sweat levels, and facial muscle tension were measured when the participants were relaxed, then when they were imagining certain circumstances.

When the participants imagined receiving a genuine apology, their heart rates were lower and there was less tension in the eye and eyebrow muscles. When they imagined getting their stuff back from the robber, they showed less eyebrow muscle tension. The participants also reported less anger, fear, and sadness, and more control, gratitude, empathy, and forgiveness.

If you’ve messed up, never underestimate the value of saying sorry.  It really can make all the difference.

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