Jacqui Barclay - Director of Warragul Wellness Centre
Are you stuffing down your feelings?
This week the reality of emotions triggering physical issues has been hard to ignore. I unlike many am an over sharer and wear my emotions on my sleeve. I cry often, and my kids will say I cry for everything. Happy crying, sad crying, angry crying, excited crying, I am a crier and I have learnt to live with it.
Funny the stigma around crying. So many still associate crying or expressing emotions as a sign of weakness. I must disagree with this one. I honestly believe it takes courage to feel your feelings and let them release. To not stuff them down is raw, honest and brave. It can be painful to feel emotions, especially ones around negative experiences and trauma. Some emotions will never leave us, like losing a loved one. Its not about ridding yourself of the emotion, it’s learning safe, positive ways that you can feel and release them.
There are still so many people that pretend their emotions don’t exist, they live in denial and are always ‘fine’. They seem to cruise through the toughest situations without acknowledgement of how they feel. I get it! We have all been programmed differently and there are situations where you must keep your emotions in check. But we must also give ourselves permission to feel and release anything pent up. If we don’t feel it, we can’t move through it and come out the other side. We end up on a merry-go-round of stuffing down more and more emotions until we are unable to function, or it manifests physically. If you’re a ‘stuffer’ and don’t ever release your feelings, then your body stores that in your subconscious mind. This is where those denied feelings can affect our moods, cause depression or illness.
Your emotions, thoughts and physical body are all connected. You can’t have an issue with one without effecting the others. Often, emotions are the initial trigger in the body for disease and illness as many natural therapy modalities believe.
I feel that as a society we need to focus more on emotional wellbeing to help decrease the amount of physical illness in those that have underlying emotional issues.
Over the years I’ve become pretty good at picking the ‘stuffers’. I’m not intending to add shame or guilt to anyone, it’s just a skill I have. There is always a chance to make positive changes and break those patterns as ‘Stuffing’ is often learnt behaviour.
Recognising and acknowledging your emotions is a sign of good mental and emotional health.
Here are some easy things you can do if you want to start working through your emotions in positive ways:
- If you have trouble verbalising how you feel, try journaling. Put a journal next to your bed and when writing be 100% honest and authentic. Describe your day, what happened and how it made you feel. Allow everything you would normally supress to come out on paper
- Participating in physical activities or sports is a good way to release emotions
- Taking a break by doing a health retreat or simply giving yourself some time out of your usual routine to process your feelings and emotions.
- Punch your pillow or a punching bag
- Practice mindfulness while walking, look around and observe your surroundings and make note of the sensations you are feeling – without judgment – before returning your attention back to your breathing. The walk only takes about 15 minutes. Afterward, write down what you experienced during the walk. There are no right or wrong answers, only observations and notes about any internal feelings which may have come up during the experience. Mindful walking helps to bring centeredness and stress-releasing relaxing breathing.
- Know you are not alone!
- Reach out if your having trouble working through emotions. Counsellors, psychologists, kinesiologists, acupuncturists and homeopaths all help with rebalancing your emotions.
I wish you luck on your new journey to emotional health xx