Denying Your Feelings
Dealing with powerful emotions can be challenging, especially when we are going through chaotic, sad, or cruel experiences in our lives. Often, it can seem like we have only two options for dealing with our feelings so they don’t become too overwhelming. We may let our feelings out in an immediate and visceral way, or we may bottle them up by suppressing our emotions inside our bodies. Most people make the second choice, repressing their feelings in an attempt to deny them. The truth is that there are many positive ways to deal with emotions, and experiencing your negative feelings doesn’t have to constitute a negative experience. Denying your feelings is not only unhealthy for the mind and the body, but it may also rob you of valuable information you could be learning about yourself and your life. Suppressing your emotions can even impede your short-term memory. Acknowledging your feelings can help you better understand them and help you recover naturally from change, stress, and grief.
If you find that facing your feelings head on is proving too difficult during times of emotional distress, you may want to explore alternative ways of expressing them. Otherwise, the emotions you deny could morph into unconscious anger or self-hatred. Expressing your thoughts to friends or family can be helpful. If you don’t feel ready to share them, try giving them words by writing down what you are feeling. Give whatever you are feeling simple words like “livid” or “angry” or “excited”. You can also funnel your feelings into a creative outlet, physical exercise, or chores. Even just accepting and speaking your feelings out loud to yourself can be a healing release. In releasing intense emotions, it is most beneficial to acknowledge the feelings, allow yourself to feel them, and let the feelings go. Those who are willing to experience and release their feelings without judgment also find that their lives become less stressful. Breathing deeply, going for a long walk, or doing a constructive task can help you respond to your feelings in a healthy way.
While burying negative or uncomfortable feelings can numb the pain, it also may inevitably dull your ability to experience your more positive and pleasurable feelings. You may find yourself afraid to open up in the future for fear of getting hurt. The feelings we deny aren’t limited to anger and sadness. Suppressing our happiness or excitement can be just as unhealthy. In learning how to express your intense emotions in a healthy way, you are giving yourself the freedom to fully experience the more joyful emotions that come with being alive.