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How to Stop Bottling Up Your Emotions

It’s not uncommon to bottle up emotions – everyone is guilty of doing so! In fact, in some cases it’s encouraged. For example, children may be told to “stop crying” rather than process their emotions. We could also take a look at the Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie, where she outlines that adults shouldn’t express their emotions. Some people are told they are strong for not showing emotion. This enforces the idea that emotions are weak and not valued.

But, I am here to tell you that emotions are incredibly valuable! They are compasses that guide us into knowing. When you are sad, mad, or excited that is your body’s way of telling you about your interactions with the outside world.

No matter how you started bottling up your emotions, it’s a habit that needs to be broken. You see, suppressing your emotions has a series of negative effects, including:

  • Increased rates of depression

  • Increased anxiety

  • Anger issues

  • Higher chance of dying from heart disease

  • Higher chance of getting cancer

  • More frequent negative emotions

Learning to stop bottling up your emotions is important for your health and well-being, so here are some tips to get you on the right emotional track!

Name Your Emotions

This is the first step in recognizing your emotions and letting them go peacefully. Recent neuroscience studies have proved the positive implications of naming your emotions. When successfully labeling an emotion, instead of suppressing it you open yourself up to letting it pass.

An experiment at UCLA asked participants to approach a large, live tarantula. After being separated into 4 groups, they were told how to think about the spider. The first group was asked to describe the experience of being around the spider, and explain what they were feeling. The second group was asked to think differently about the spider. They were to somehow make it seem less threatening (which is what most people do!). The third group was instructed to think about something that wasn’t related to the spider at all. Finally, the fourth group was given no instruction, as a control.

A week later all of them were re-exposed to the spider. They were asked to get as close as possible while they were monitored for fear. Amazingly, group 1 did the best. They got the closest and had the least perceivable fear.

Naming emotions fills in the space between thoughts and feelings. It allows your brain to come to terms with the world around it and process it faster.

Let Your Emotions Out in a Structured Setting

Letting your emotions out on the fly may not come easily to you if you’ve gotten used to bottling them up. However, a structured setting can make it easier for you to process your emotions. Also, a little bit of practice letting them out will make it easier later.

One structured way of releasing and processing emotions is through journaling. Journaling allows the writer to go through an event and discuss how it made them feel. It is a space to vent if you do not feel comfortable expressing emotions in front of others.

Another way to let your emotions out is by talking to someone. Whether you speak to a therapist or a trusted friend, talking through your emotions helps you practice ‘unbottling’ them. You can sort through problems and find solutions while seeing the situation from another perspective.

Use Your Emotions

It may seem impossible to do anything when you feel emotions strongly but aren’t sure how to get them out. However, a creative outlet can not only help you unbottle, but you can make something cool. Write a song, paint or draw, work out, dance, or cook. Anything to channel your emotions will help you stop bottling them up!

Find the Root Cause

Your feelings come up for a reason, they don’t just appear out of thin air! Find the cause of your emotion and it may be easier for you to open up about it.

Bottling up your emotions can cause a detriment to your mental and physical health. By working towards releasing your emotions you can not only improve your health but you can live your life to the fullest.


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