Letting Emotions Out For Your Health
Written by Donna Cameron
The word “Emotions” is a very complicated and often scary word for many. Conversations about mental health and emotions are occurring but what messages are being heard and who really understands them? What changes are you making in your life for your own mental health and emotional regulation and why is this even important?
In the initial session with many of my clients, the most difficult concept for them to grasp is an understanding of emotions and how not caring for emotional health can lead to huge life consequences. How do people make changes if they don’t understand the basics?
Emotions occur every day. Some emotions such as happiness, joy and excitement are welcomed. Others such as anger, frustration and sadness are dismissed. Conversations occur about the ‘good days’ and the ‘happy moments’, while the difficult days and sad emotions are ignored in a hope that they will disappear and never resurface. Expressing laughter is rewarded with praise but releasing tears is feared and often still seen as a weakness.
Most people think that they are in control of their emotions, but I have some news for you - you are not. Let me introduce you to your ‘emotional hub’, a storage place for emotions. Like all of the other body systems, this one is there to help you, but if it does not care for it is not going to be very impressed with you. It is important to learn how to work with it and not against it.
Understanding that all emotions are powerful and are there to serve a purpose is crucial. Some emotions feel painful to experience but they all need to be acknowledged, validated and released for your health. If emotions are ignored, they do not go away. Blocking emotions is not a strategy that works, no matter how good you think you might be at it!
How Do You Know If You Are Holding On To Emotions In An Unhealthy Way?
Well lucky for you, your body knows your tricks and hacks and it is onto you. If you are avoiding or blocking emotions your body will give you little taps on the shoulder to grab your attention.
The first little shoulder tap will come in the way of you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by small things that often don’t bother you and you might notice more tears. Often the initial tap is ignored. People are too busy to take notice of these symptoms and they soldier on. All while more and more emotions are lining up to get into the overfull hub.
The next tap is a little bit more forceful and annoying with the symptoms being a reduction in a person’s productivity in life. Functions such as memory, concentration, attention span and motivation are all now under pressure and will be affected. Without these functions, how is a person able to live their best life? How are they able to plan for the small daily tasks and the big adventures?
What Can You Do About It?
The good news is that releasing our emotions does not need to be complicated and you don’t even need to sit on a therapist's couch to do it!
- Don’t play favourites to your emotions- give attention to all of them - the happy, the sad, the joy, the frustration.
- Validate the emotions- give yourself permission once you have named them to feel them. Don’t block them and don’t minimize them. The energy that this takes away from you will mean that other areas in your life will suffer. Imagine winning the lotto and having to hold in joy and happiness. It would be exhausting. Well, this is what you are doing when you hold in the emotions you don’t like.
- Release, release, release- take some time out to release. This can just be a short moment but yell, cry, scream. Do what works for you but do not try and problem solves the situation…. that is the next step.
- Problem solve- once you have completed steps 1-3 you have full permission to get on with problem-solving.
Not all situations and emotions will be dealt with in five minutes. Some more complex situations and feelings will take a lot longer and that is ok. Don’t be scared of this process - own it and do it. Not only will you feel better faster, but you will also make room in your emotional hub so you can keep on taking on the world and live your best life.
If this article, or other events have brought up issues, at any time the team at Beyond Blue for guidance.
Letting Emotions Out For Your Health Letting Emotions Out For Your Health Letting Emotions Out For Your Health