One of the things I see again and again in my work is the effect of unreleased emotions.
You store emotions in your body and mind when you do any of the following:
- Repress emotions, rather than expressing them in a natural way, such as crying when you feel like crying.
- Prevent yourself from feeling anger, sadness, grief, resentment, loneliness, exhaustion, incapability, overwork, and so on
- Prevent yourself from feeling happiness or contentment
- Tell yourself negative things such as:
you shouldn’t be feeling this way, it’s wrong, immature or unprofessional to feel what you’re feeling, you weren’t allowed to express certain emotions in your family, you don’t know how to express certain emotions, you should just suck it up, and so on
When you store emotions, you become a walking time bomb.
Many of us are told, since childhood, that emotions are inappropriate or that our images will be tarnished in some way if we express our feelings.
I’m telling you right now it’s not only appropriate but key to your mental and physical health to have and express feelings.
That said, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to express emotions.
What are some safe or healthy ways to release emotions?
Here are some of the ways I have found:
- In the shower
- Sitting in my parked car next to a beach or looking at some other beautiful scenery
- Alone in my office
- Alone in a room at home
- With friends or family with whom I’ve set up agreements that we have permission to express our feelings without judgment
- With a coach or counselor
- Being active – working out at the gym or simply walking
- Writing in a journal
When and how do you let yourself feel emotion?[bctt tweet=”The best time to feel emotion is whenever it’s present.” username=”amandamaynard”]
Of course, in our current culture, this is not always feasible or appropriate. For example, if you’re feeling angry, taking it out on the first available person or animal isn’t appropriate. Taking a deep breath and telling yourself that you’ll give yourself time to be with the emotion when you’re in one of your safe places is appropriate. Chances are the person in front of you at the moment isn’t the real reason for your anger.
Anger stems from not being heard, feeling alone or fear. For example you may feel fear because your life is feeling out of control.
Crying in front of co-workers or a boss may not be appropriate, but you can excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to collect your thoughts. Give yourself time later to let out your feelings. A friend once told me that looking up when you want to cry helps, especially if you’re at work.
If you don’t give yourself permission to let out your emotion they will be stored.[bctt tweet=”Giving yourself permission to feel what you feel is key to your long-term well-being.” username=”amandamaynard”]
How can you recognize that you have stored emotions?
- You have outbursts of emotion
- You injure yourself accidentally or intentionally
- You have difficulty communicating your thoughts and feelings
- You never express emotion in a particular common way – such as crying
- You repeat the same experiences multiple times
- You want to change but don’t know how
- You suffer chronic pain
- You develop illnesses or diseases
It’s amazing what happens when you give yourself permission to feel what you feel.
- Intensity of the emotion decreases
- Duration of the emotion decreases
- You feel relief that you’re OK.
- You realize that emotions are just emotions and that the power is in holding and releasing them at will;
- You wish that you’d known that earlier…
Begin to feel what you feel.