Releasing Suppressed Emotions
Why We Shouldn’t Hold onto and Suppress Emotions
While it may seem easier in the short term, over the longer term bottling up emotions can have negative effects on both our physical and mental health. It can increase stress in the body which can potentially lead to increased risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, coronary disease, auto immune conditions and also impair memory function.
In terms of mental health, it can lead to increased anxiety and depression, and lead to reactive outbursts or build resentment. Bottling it up can also eat away at our self-esteem and self-confidence. Importantly too not expressing our feelings can make it difficult to connect with people and to be authentic in relationships, leading to an increased sense of isolation and loneliness.
How to Release your Emotions?
- Check in – ask “how am I feeling right now?”
- Name what you’re feeling using ‘I’ statements e.g. “I’m feeling anxious”
- Take some slow, deep belly breaths and let go of any judgement around what you’re feeling
- Try using affirmations or statements such as “let go” or “I’m ok”, “this will pass”.
- Focus on something in that moment which helps you to feel better e.g. thinking of your pet or a fond memory or playing your favourite song
- Write down or journal what you’re feeling
- Make time for daily self care and exercise
- Practice gratitude daily
- Consider talking to someone like a counsellor or therapist
Managing/Releasing Emotions in the Workplace
Below are some common emotions that are felt in the workplace with some suggestions/tips on how to deal with them instead of bottling them up.
- Frustration/irritation: Stop and focus on what you are feeling, and try to find something positive about the situation and use some breathing or relaxation techniques to reset
- Worry/anxiety: ‘Dial down’ factors e.g. excessive caffeine or alcohol or people that are increasing your worries or negativity. Write down your worries, and schedule another (later) time to think about them. When the time comes round, do some objective analysis to assess how realistic the worries are and identify what steps you can take to help mitigate them. Use breathing or relaxation techniques to reset.
- Anger/conflict: Learn to notice warning signs as you start to feel angry, and take early action as a circuit breaker e.g. get up from your desk and go for a walk. Use breathing or relaxation techniques to reset. Use assertive communication techniques to express your point of view calmly.
- Disappointment: Journal what you’re feeling. Step back and see the bigger picture – ‘ups and downs’ are a part of life. Look at how you’ve recovered from setbacks in the past. Get support to adjust your goals. Do some activities for self care which make you feel good or make you smile or laugh.
- Throughout September we will be diving into the topic, emotional suppression, exploring the different components of it and ending with strategies on how to release these suppressed emotions.
- R U OK? Day is coming up on the 8th of September. A day of action to remind us all to check up on our friends and family, encouraging us to ask, “R U OK” everyday. You don’t need a qualification to ask “R U OK” or to start a meaningful conversation with a close one.