As we learn to take care of our physical health with good diet and exercise, we also need to compliment that with good mental health. One small but powerful part of that is two simple words... I'm sorry". Those words can be equal healing for the giver as the receiver.
When giving a sincere apology, it should never be followed by the word "but". If the next sentence starts with "but", it immediately voids the apology because it is usually followed by an excuse, justifying, or blaming others. An apology should also be given the moment you realize you have done wrong. Don't wait, thinking there will be a better time.
In order to be completely effective in a good apology, you must first acknowledge what you did wrong and accept responsibility. Then, offer a truthful explanation. An explanation is not solely for the other person, but can give you an insight to a personality flaw you might have. Next, express remorse. Last, repair the damage you action or words might have caused. Reassure that it will not happen again. Ask what you can do to repair the damage and act on their suggestions. Healing power comes from the knowledge that one is heard.
It takes a lot of courage to apologize. There is no guarantee the recipient will accept it. In that case, release them of any expectations of forgiveness. Understand it is their choice and right to forgive. An immediate and well-meant apology will solidify a lifetime of good relationships. Stress is one of the fastest aging components. Knowing the proper steps in a sincere apology can help eliminate future stress about that situation.