When emotions arise, the first response for many people is to indulge or repress them.
Indulging the emotion is allowing the emotion to run your life. When we get angry we become aggressive. When we get sad we shutdown.The other response is to resist or suppress our emotions. These repressive tendencies don’t allow the emotion to run its course. The healthier way is to actually feel our emotions in our body and mindfully let them process through.
Being In The Discomfort
It is no surprise that many people find emotions hard to handle. When the difficult emotions come up they are not comfortable. Feeling our sadness could mean feeling a tight throat, downward energy in our body and moisture in our eyes. We don’t want to feel this.
However, our tendency to override our emotions by suppressing them or indulging them has consequences as well. It means the feelings aren’t felt and thus we don’t get the important communication of sadness or anger. We need to know when we are feeling anger so that we can acknowledge that someone has pushed against our boundaries. We need to know when we are sad so we can reach out for support and care from the people who love us.
When we live in a constant state of overriding our emotions, we rarely get our needs met. This can lead to a feeling of not being valued by the people who love us. However, it can be our unwillingness to show our emotions that keeps people from being there for us.
We need to train ourselves to sit in the discomfort of our bodies and allow our emotions to come up.
Connecting To Our Authenticity
When we don’t have access to our emotions it is hard for people to really feel us. I often have clients who struggle with their feelings. When they attempt to connect with their partners it comes off feeling flat. Their partner can’t feel what they are saying and it feels rehearsed. Often my clients will get the feedback that they are just saying what they think their partner wants to hear.
To really connect with our loved ones we need to be able to connect to our own intense feelings. This allows the feeling to have the rawness that can be felt by another.
Releasing Emotions For Health
When we are able to feel our emotions, which means we are aware of the anger, sadness or despair, the emotion moves through us and it is over. When we suppress or indulge our emotions that energy can get stuck in our cellular bodies for the rest of our lives. This can lead to disease and discomfort.
Working with a client recently they discovered how entangled their childhood trauma is with the chronic pain they have been feeling for many years. As they are able to feel through the pain of their past the pain can finally let go. We can heal our bodies by letting go of all of the stored emotional baggage in our bodies. This chronic tension that builds up in our bodies can have a major impact on our mental and physical well-being.
In her book, Trauma And The Unbound Body, Judith Blackstone speaks to the issue of how traumas can contribute to mental health issues.
Our memories of trauma, and the chronically bound emotions in our body that are associated with them, can produce chronic patterns of anxiety and depression (Blackstone, 2018).
The Efficiency of Mindful Awareness
Mindfully being with our emotions allows us to move on with our lives. We can experience the discomfort and release what every uncomfortable feelings are there. The real challenge of suppression and indulgence is that it can keep us in those emotional states for long periods of time. With suppressed emotions they can live in our cells. With indulgence we can be overwhelmed by our emotions for days.
When we bring our attention to the felt-sense in our body that is arising from a difficult experience, we allow the emotion to bring us information. When we contact these sensations in our body we find that the energy starts to release in a few minutes.
Training ourselves to be with our emotions allows us to move through our lives without all of the drama of indulgence or the pain of suppression. It is a more effective way of living our lives.
How This Shows Up In My Life as a Denver Men’s Therapist, Husband, and Father
It took me years to learn to be with my emotions and allow them to move through me. I know I am much better at this but I still struggle to bring my attention to them at times. My industrious strategy keeps me focused on what needs to be done and not on what needs to be felt.
When I’m able to find the space to really listen to my emotions I often feel this deep relief. I believe that releasing my emotions frees me from the constrictions and tensions in my body that have in the past led to more anxiety and discomfort. When I can feel my my anxiety in moments of distress I can actually allow it to dissipate and not take control forcing me into reactive, defensive responses. This allows me to say connected with the people I love in the midst of challenging interactions.
Developing emotional literacy has also helped me to be more empathic with the people around me and led me to be a counselor for men. I started to see that my emotional awareness turned on a greater capacity to feel the needs of others.
Wishing You The Day You Need To Have!
About Bryce Mathern, Owner, BrassBalls TenderHeart, Men’s Therapist in Denver
Men looking for a therapist in Denver have already begun the journey toward understanding their emotions. Our emotions are powerful and can cause negative results, harming ourselves and our relationships in the process. When seeking relationship counseling or individual therapy, many men need someone who will understand them from a unique male perspective. If you want to create a greater emotional literacy schedule a free 30 minute consult.