So many of us live in a constant state of denial and numbness. We think we’re not ruled by our emotions if we simply avoid feeling them but it’s precisely this avoidance that is what keeps their power over us.
Between alcohol use, drug use and screen time, there are a multitude of ways to avoid our feelings. We don’t have to even be conscious of the fact that we’re actively avoiding our emotions because the distractions of this earth are so intense and so plentiful. After a certain point, it requires minimal or zero effort to suppress.
But there IS a cost.
It’s like pressing on the gas and brakes of your car at the same time, creating an internal pressure cooker.
Emotions have energy that pushes up for expression, and to tamp them down, our minds and bodies use creative tactics—including muscular constriction and holding our breath. Symptoms like anxiety & depression which are on the rise in the U.S., can stem from the way we deal with these underlying, automatic, hard-wired survival emotions, which are biological forces that should not be ignored.
Emotional stress, like that from blocked emotions, has not only been linked to mental ills, but also to physical problems like heart disease, intestinal problems, headaches, insomnia and autoimmune disorders.
It’s not a coincidence that so very many people rely on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds to get through the day.
Most people are ruled by their emotions without any awareness that this is happening. But once you realize the power of emotions, simply acknowledging your own can help greatly.
Once I was given education on emotions and skills and how to work with them, they began to feel so much better and more managable. I healed my chronic fatigue by allowing himself to feel so much suppressed sadness. I committed myself to mourning the loss of my childhood. I validated my angry feelings after learning they were natural. And I learned specific skills to release my anger in ways that were healthy and not destructive to myself or others. I practiced self-compassion in response to to subsequent shame and humiliation, and that decreased, too. Once I experienced all of my feelings, they passed, as core emotions do when they are deeply felt in the body.
They still come up, but now they are less charged because they are not dragging with them the weight of the past and that means I can more easily feel, digest, process and move past them.