Have you ever had to suppress your emotions?
You’re angry, but you act cool because you don’t want to fight.
You want to cry, but you hold it in so you won’t be considered weak.
You want to talk back, but you don’t because you don’t want to seem rude.
You want to talk to someone, but you don’t want to appear needy, so you wait for them to reach out to you.
I could go on and on…
Suppressing emotions is when a person does not express their feelings or reactions, even when they want to. This emotion may be anger, sadness, pain, confusion, disappointment, etc. Suppressed emotions often leads to stress, both emotional and physical.
The opposite of suppressing emotions is to act them out. Emotions are suppressed because of fear of the consequences when acted out. I believe everyone has suppressed an emotion or feeling at some point. It’s impossible not to have, except you have a medical condition that prevents you from bottling things up.
Suppressing emotions may be considered good when you’re making a sacrifice or trying not to hurt someone else, but overall it’s mostly bad and detrimental to your health. We tend to fuss and overthink about the emotions we’re trying to avoid.
suppressed emotions suck
Research into emotion management suggests that instead of suppressing emotions, we can regulate them. Emotion regulation is a person’s ability to manage and respond to a personal experience properly. Some methods of emotion regulation include;
- cognitive reappraisal (which I find interesting),
- adaptability, etc.
Putting myself into perspective, I try not to suppress my emotions, but I’m human and an over-thinker, so I sometimes do. When I feel stuck and incapable of expressing my true or complete emotion, here’s what I do.
1. I write it all down. It can be as a poem, an article, or simply in my journal. I make sure to be entirely honest about how I’m feeling or felt.
2. I dissect the dilemma to see if there’s a solution or way out. Sometimes, I figure out that what I need to say or do can be done later physically or via a text or email after things have simmered down a bit.
3. I take it to my Creator. Having conversations with God about how I’m feeling and asking for guidance is another thing I do.
4. I talk to my close friend or family. It’s usually more of a rant, but it makes me feel better.
5. I get busy and try to see the good in the situation. Distraction helps, and there has to be good in everything, right?
I’m still a work in progress and I’m currently suppressing emotions now, which is what birthed this post. How do you regulate your emotions?
Header source: flickr/Javier Sánchez Salcedo
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