Emotional Health - Emotional Healing

       

      Emotional Health - Emotional Healing

      Healing Suppressed Emotions

        cancer personality

 

        


EMOTIONAL HEALTH – EMOTIONAL HEALING


Emotional healing requires that you commit to your own emotional wellness. It requires that you will participate in examining your life and choosing in every moment how you will live. Your life is a manifestation of how you love yourself and the key to healing the heart.


If I had to single out just one factor that represented the most common block to personal growth and authentic spiritual development it would be this – avoidance of our emotions. Fear of feeling our emotions is pandemic amongst human beings and for many people at the heart broken relationships, low levels of intimacy, unhappiness, unexplained bodily symptoms and devitalisation. Most people don’t fully appreciate the extent to which emotional avoidance is directing their life.

Here are the tell-tale signs that emotion avoidance might be present in your life: you avoid situations that might trigger strong emotions (for example addressing a conflict with your colleague, friend or partner); smiling/laughing when you feel angry, sad or fearful; you find it difficult to spend time by yourself; you struggle to rest your attention in the here-and-now; you need to be in control; you change the subject when uncomfortable; you feel uncomfortable in moments of silence with others; you don’t want to cry in front of others; you don’t allow yourself to show others your anger; you move away from others when you feel emotional; you feel uncomfortable around people who are displaying strong emotions; you have resentments; you don’t allow yourself to receive compliments – the list goes on.

 Avoiding what we are feeling is like holding beach balls under water – it consumes energy and its hard work! As we learn to turn towards our emotions and welcome them – we discover something quite revelatory – that all emotions are like waves - they rise, reach a crescendo and then dissipate. By allowing this process to unfold, we not only receive the message of the emotion and the energy liberated from the emotion, but we move more fully into Presence and aliveness. Welcoming and working with your emotions is an art that once learnt has the potential to transform your health, your lives and relationships. 

 Many of us are carrying repressed memories of unhealed emotional wounds or traumas from childhood and sometimes from past lives, if one believes in that. As long as these things are repressed within you, they will be activated from time to time, pulling you out of Presence or simply preventing you from being present. The ego will be constantly on alert to protect you against a recurrence of these painful experiences. And if the ego is on alert, it will keep you in the world of the mind. These emotions and memories need to be allowed to surface into the light of consciousness for healing and release. When this occurs, we can say that the past is released from you and you are released from the past. This allows you to deepen and settle into the present moment.”



Emotional wellness is an umbrella term used to describe an emotionally 'sound' person, who can analyze, recognize and cope very well with their feelings and attitudes in order to remain happy. Being multi-faceted, multi-dimensional human beings, however, keeping the balance of emotional wellness can be difficult and knowing what we need to do to get there first doesn't come naturally.

Good emotional and mental health isn't just the absence of emotional and mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristic.

Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.

When we explore our Emotional Wellness, we discover who we are, gain personal insight into why we feel and behave the way we do, and learn new ways to deal with the ups and downs of life. Emotional Wellness involves learning how to handle stress and understanding when our emotions are off kilter. It doesn’t mean that we will never have negative feelings. Instead, Emotional Wellness means being connected to our emotions, being able to name and understand them, and knowing how to handle them, whatever they may be.

Everyone has coping mechanisms. Some of them are healthy; some are ultimately destructive. Emotional Wellness often means letting our negative emotions surface so that we can then learn to deal with them in a healthy, helpful way. It also means learning new behaviors for challenging emotional situations. Anger management, self-esteem issues, emotional IQ, and healthy personal expression are all a part of Emotional Wellness. Learning not to take things so personally, known as internal boundary setting, is also an important part of an emotionally balanced life.


 


People who are mentally and emotionally healthy have:


An awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. It includes the ability to adjust to the various obstacles one may encounter in life, the development of autonomy, the ability to realistically assess one’s limitations and the maintenance of satisfying relationships.

An awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings. It includes the ability to adjust to the various obstacles one may encounter in life, the development of autonomy, the ability to realistically assess one’s limitations and the maintenance of satisfying relationships.

 

  • The ability to talk about feelings and needs
  • The ability to say ‘no’ to those things that are not apart of your priority without feeling guilty.
  • Being mostly happy and satisfied with the various aspects of your life and the relationships you develop
  • Having several people in your life that you care about and can call upon when in need
  • The ability to relax and to take care of your needs
  • Feeling good about who you are
  • A sense of contentment.
  • A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
  • The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
  • A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
  • The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change.
  • A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
  • The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem.

 

 

These positive characteristics of mental and emotional health allow you to participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships. These positive characteristics also help you cope when faced with life's challenges and stresses.

Many of us, suppressed our emotions for most of our life, which often goes as far back to our childhood.

 

You may have suffered from low self - esteem, unrecognized low - grade of depressed emotions and unhappy codependent relationships. Appearing unemotional on the outside and protected by layers of an energetic armor to numb our feelings for most of our time, we move through life, challenged by doubt of our self-worth and continuously swinging back and forth between the two poles of the victim, anger or powerlessness, until our health is seriously challenged.  Having had cancer, I emerged after a long journey, learning how to recognize, feel, heal, and express my emotions in a healthy way.

 Mastering our emotions is an integral part of self-growth and something we can all learn to do.  A lot of us believe or have believed that we are not in control of our emotions at all, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

We all have defense mechanisms that we've developed over time, often without being aware of it. In times of trouble, the behaviors that have worked to get us past challenges with the least amount of pain are the ones that we repeat; even when part of us knows they no longer work. Such behaviour is a natural response from our mental and physical aspects. But because we are spiritual beings as well, we have the ability to rise above habits and patterns to see the truth that lay beyond. And from that moment on, we can make choices that allow us to work directly from that place of truth within us.

Passive aggressive ways of communicating may have allowed us to get what we needed without being scolded, punished or laughed at, so we learned to avoid being direct and honest. Some of us may have taken refuge in the lives of others, discovering ways to direct attention away from ourselves entirely. Throwing ourselves into projects or rescuing others from themselves can be effective ways to avoid dealing with our own issues. And when people are truly helped by our actions, we get the added bonus of feeling heroic. But while defenses can keep away the things we fear, they can also work to keep our good from us.

When we can be honest with ourselves about what we truly desire, then we can connect our desires to the creative power of the spirit within us.


        

Healing painful emotions from your past can lead to emotional, spiritual and physical healing.


It is not surprising that emotional pain is the major cause of human unhappiness and depression. However, it is surprising how difficult it can be to rid yourself of these negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, fear, hurt, bitterness, grief, and other painful memories. We often do not even realize these emotions are lurking inside of us. They may have been such a part of our lives that we don’t know we can feel differently. Emotional pain has a life of its own beyond our conscious mental control. It is almost like being processed. No matter how we try to shake it off, it clings to us like glue. Unhealed emotional pain can express itself as anxiety, fear, stress, anger or depression. It can even distort your energy field and can eventually lead to physical diseases and conditions.

 The expression of your current and past emotions and feelings are vital for your health and for your recovering from illness.

 

This is vital for your survival. People with cancer, who learn to express their emotions and feelings, for example in support groups, can double their surviving time over those who don't.

Research has shown that the biggest immune suppression is seen in people who are classed as being " too nice". These are people who usually bottle their feeling up to avoid expressing anger, confrontations or embarrassments.

Many people, who are susceptible to cancer, tend to hold on to anger, hurt, guilt, disappointments and grief. When these emotions become logged in the body, they can have an affect on different organs.

These emotions and memories need to be allowed to surface into the light of consciousness for healing and release. When this occurs, we can say that the past is released from you and you are released from the past. This allows you to deepen and settle into the present moment.

Just like our body, our emotion can also be deteriorated due to many factors. Although we can heal past pains, human continues to experience emotional ups and downs. By tuning in and befriend with your feelings, it is possible to fully understand your own needs and personality.


         


Everyone has unique emotional personalities.


A few people are more susceptible to anger, others to anxiety. By taking enough time to identify your personal characteristic – such as ‘the self-doubting self’ or ‘the anxious self’ – it is possible to better understand most of your past decisions and experiences. Be gentle with yourself; describe yourself with kindness instead of judgment, becoming aware of your ‘self-doubting self’ and ‘anxious self" may help you determine the root of your feelings. You may find that the appearance of your ‘anxious self’ is because you are insecure with your family, friends or colleagues. Empowering and befriending this aspect of your life can help you to manage and heal your automatic emotional responses to similar situations while allowing you to make better choices if you find similar situations in the future.

Lodged, unexpressed emotions and feelings become toxic to your body.


What about emotions, such as fear, anger, loneliness, jealousy or pain?


What do we do with these feelings? Often people have been taught what feelings are good or appropriate to express. We have been trained from an early age to repress, suppress and deny feelings of anger, sadness or pain as if they are bad. While it is ok to express emotions of happiness, joy and love, there is no permission for us to express emotions that are perceived as being negative. But aren’t these “negative” feelings your feelings also?

Instead, what do we choose to do with these feelings? We stuff them. We invalidate them. We get busy. We try to take our mind off our problems. We fight ourselves so that we don’t have to experience these feelings. We shove them deep into our being, pushing them deeper and deeper into ourselves, until after a while we can no longer see them. We think, “Well, I’m over that one”. But are we really? Did we actually release the emotions or did we just hide them from ourselves?


          


 Our Emotions are an Essential Part of Us


They exist and work in your interests, which can warn you if your needs aren’t met. A few emotions aren’t convenient, which can cause you to avoid listening to them. However, even frustration, sadness and anger give you useful signals about things that aren’t working for you.

Listening carefully allows you to become more acquainted and become more conscious of these messages:

  • Emotions you have been experiencing but can’t acknowledge.
  • Situations and activities that reward you with fulfillment and sense of self.
  • Benefits from staying calm.
  • Things you may need to express and how to do it properly.

 

Whether the emotions you are feeling are a true reflection of your current situation or influenced by past influences, you should look for a good balance because your expectations may not coincide with others'. For example, you may need to be close with someone but she or he feels the need for more space; you may feel that you should talk about a problem, but your friends may prefer not to. We have our own needs, but if your personal needs don’t match your social groups or your partner’s, you simply need to acknowledge the differences and seek a workable compromise that is satisfactory for you both.  

However, what was necessary once may not be necessary today, so be aware of getting drawn into past dramas, conflict, pain or knee-jerk responses to situations.

          

You need to actively scanning for your own emotional messages while trying what’s necessary to protect your well being. Healing takes place as you release an old pattern that paralyzes you and establish the ability to get out of the current situation, act and react appropriately – without getting involved in obsolete reactivity.

 Painful or confusing emotions are par for the course during a time of change, even when it's a positive, life-affirming change in the direction of overall health and well being. If you are reading these notes to deal with a present illness or medical condition, you might encounter strong emotions. Anger, fear, unexpected tears, feelings of abandonment, and insecurity all may arise in a period of questioning or transition. If you have had surgery or are taking medication, emotional fluctuations are even more common.

 Since there is no way to separate body from mind from emotions, any small changes you are making to orient yourself toward high-level wellness have the potential of arousing feelings, and it is not always easy to plot the link between actions and the emotions they trigger. You may not see a connection between practicing a new breathing exercise, for instance, and a feeling of sadness that washes over you like a wave.

Emotional pain is just as real as physical pain and can be far more invasive.

 

Long - held resentments, anger, bitterness, hurt, fears, guilt and shame, all play their role in debilitating your energy. You may feel shame or guilt for something you did or didn't do, or long hold resentment or anger for something that was done to you. You may feel unworthy or lacking in confidence, overcome by fear or panic, helpless, depressed, or full of grief.

You may spend many years building a wall around your heart in order to protect it from being hurt. But in so doing you also wall off your own feelings of love and passion. Eventually, you become isolated, locked into separation, unable to love for fear of being hurt, unable to forgive due to past resentments, unable to achieve success for dread of failure. All these feelings have their effect in the body: on your immune system, your blood circulation, your digestion and so on.

 Every time you swallow your feelings you are potentially dooming them to repression or denial. Emotions that are denied can disappear for a long time, as denial is like a large heavy blanket. Denial enables you to convince yourself that everything is fine. However, when you look beneath the surface, if you dare to look, you will find a mass of feelings and may be some traumas.  Denied emotions can erupt. They can spill out and can cause physical illness, relationship problems, addictions, and sexual problems. The event itself may have gone, but the emotional impact can stay with us for many years, affecting us on the cellular level.



Healing painful emotions from your past can lead to emotional, spiritual and physical healing.


We all have baggage that we have accumulated until now. In other words, we all have anger, sadness, fear, guilt and hurt that we carry with us every day from the past. You either gain wisdom or baggage from any event that has happened.

It is not surprising that emotional pain is the major cause of human unhappiness and depression. However, it is surprising how difficult it can be to rid yourself of these negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, fear, hurt, bitterness, grief, and other painful memories.

We often do not even realize these emotions are lurking inside of us. They may have been such a part of our lives that we don’t know we can feel differently. Emotional pain has a life of its own beyond our conscious mental control. It is almost like being processed. No matter how we try to shake it off, it clings to us like glue. Unhealed emotional pain can express itself as anxiety, fear, stress, anger or depression. It can even distort your energy field and can eventually lead to physical diseases and conditions.

Avoiding what we are feeling is like holding beach balls under water – it consumes energy and its hard work! As we learn to turn towards our emotions and welcome them – we discover something quite revelatory – that all emotions are like waves - they rise, reach a crescendo and then dissipate.  Welcoming and working with your emotions is an art that once learnt has the potential to transform your health, your lives and relationships.


        


In order to move toward something new, you must often let go of something old.      


"Letting go" is one way to describe loss, and loss is always accompanied by grief, however slight. When you stop smoking, you may feel the loss of that special rendezvous you had every morning with your fellow smokers. If you change your diet, you may feel resentment at watching others indulge freely in foods that you now avoid. Feelings are part and parcel of a life undergoing change. Be assured. You are not going crazy. You are right on schedule.

 

Know Potential Pitfalls

Denial:

Your conscious mind is completely unaware of an emotion, but other people may be reading clues in your behavior. Or, the body may be expressing this blocked energy through illness.

Over-expression:

You are fused with the energy of an emotion, becoming the emotion at the loss of your own identity-for example becoming anger. This can be a dangerous state, as your intellect is not in control of your behavior and you may totally overreact relative to the circumstances.

Repression:

The difficult place of being aware of emotions, but disallowing their expression because of shame, fear, or unworthiness.


Shift Your Emotions


People can avoid these common emotional traps and improve their emotional health, attitudes, and self-esteem by using the BARES model of shifting emotion. You can try these BARES steps:

Be aware of all your emotions

Accept them all without judgment

Recognize that you control your attitudes and behaviors

Express true emotions

Shift negative emotions consciously

Be Aware of Your Breathing

Emotional state and breathing mirror each other. Paying attention to emotions and breathing can help people identify and alter their responses. Fear, anger, and sorrow are usually the most challenging emotions, and are often reflected in breathing in the following ways:

Fear:

When people feel afraid, they tend to hold their breath, breathe through their chests or, in extreme cases, hyperventilate. This elevates the stress level in the human body and decreases the immune system's ability to fight off illness.

Sadness:

When people feel sad, they inhale forcefully, but exhale weakly (an example of this is expressed as sobbing). This inhibits the ability to breathe freely and to exude energy.

Anger:

When people feel angry, they exhale more forcefully than they inhale. This is a defensive state that renders people unable to receive or accept incoming information or energy.

In the midst of a busy day, a cleansing breath is an effective way to release negative energies and return to a place of balance and equanimity. When people exhale, they breathe out not only carbon dioxide and waste gases, but also mental and emotional toxins, concerns, worries, sorrow, anger, and fear.

When people inhale, in addition to oxygen people also take in life energy, light, love, happiness, and inspiration. Consciously focusing on inhaling, even for a few breaths, can become an exercise of healing and balance.

When we can be honest with ourselves about what we truly desire, then we can connect our desires to the creative power of the spirit within us.

 

  

Our Emotions


There are two basic underlying emotions in all human beings with varying degrees of intensity.  They are love and fear. Desire, joy, pleasure, contentment, acceptance, hope, peacefulness, excitement, self-esteem, assertiveness, and generosity are a few examples of love-based feelings. Anxiety, anger, sorrow, apathy, bitterness, jealousy, irritability, depression, rejection, pity, grief, aggressiveness, powerlessness, passiveness, loneliness, and irritability are examples of fear- based emotions.  Our bodies produce different chemicals when we feel these two groups of emotions.

An emotion is a reaction to a person, situation or object in our lives, real or imagined.  It is a reaction to what is before us or to a memory of a similar situation in the past. Many of us are afraid of our feelings, afraid that if we really feel them we will lose control. Or, we fear that if we begin to feel a feeling this process will never stop. We often deny our feelings and pretend they aren't there. We deny them, repress them, and squelch them. We think that by pretending they're not there they'll go away. But feelings, which are not faced and owned never, go away. They are buried alive, ready to poke their heads out and come to the surface the moment they have a chance. I will speak later in this book on the different ways of processing emotions out of the body.

The power of the mind is beyond our imaginations. Since thought always precedes action we come to the conclusion that if we can change our thinking we can change our behavior. And we can. The foundation of our thoughts is the beliefs and values we have developed over time. These beliefs and values must be identified, reviewed and changed if we want to change our thought patterns and subsequent actions.

The mind and emotions are constantly responding to the condition of the physical body and the physical body is constantly responding to the meanings and perceptions of the mind and the emotions. This is why when dealing with illness and health the mind; emotions and body must be dealt with in an integrated manner. 


 


Why Bother With Emotions: 


Emotions control your thinking, behavior and actions. 

Emotions affect your physical bodies as much as your body affects your feelings and thinking. People, who ignore, dismiss, repress or just ventilate their emotions, are setting themselves up for physical illness.

Emotions that are not felt and released but buried within the body or in the aura can cause serious illness, including cancer, arthritis, and many types of chronic illnesses. Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, negativity, frustration and depression cause chemical reactions in your body that are very different from the chemicals released when you feel positive emotions such as happy, content, loved, accepted. 


Two Basic Emotions In Life – Love and Fear


There are only two basic emotions that we all experience, love and fear. All other emotions are variations of these two emotions. Thoughts and behavior come from either a place of love, or a place of fear. Anxiety, anger, control, sadness, depression, inadequacy, confusion, hurt, lonely, guilt, shame, these are all fear-based emotions.  Emotions such as joy, happiness, caring, trust, compassion, truth, contentment, satisfaction, these are love-based emotions. 

There are varying degrees of intensity of both types of emotions, some being mild, others moderate, and others strong in intensity. For example, anger in a mild form can be felt as disgust or dismay, at a moderate level can be felt as offended or exasperated, and at an intense level can be felt as rage or hate. And the emotion that always underpins anger is fear.


Physical Effects of Emotions

Our emotions significantly influence health and recovery from disease (including cancer).


Emotions have a direct effect on how our bodies work.  Fear-based emotions stimulate the release of one set of chemicals while love-based emotions release a different set of chemicals. If the fear-based emotions are long-term or chronic they damage the chemical systems, the immune system, the endocrine system and every other system in your body. Our immune systems weaken and many serious illnesses set in. This relationship between emotions, thinking, and the body is being called Mind/Body Medicine today.


                   

         The Seven Dimension

                 of Wellness

 

 

You Cannot Control Your Emotions


You cannot change or control your emotions. You can learn how to be with them, living peacefully with them, transmuting them (which means releasing them), and you can manage them, but you cannot control them.

Think of the people who go along day after day seeming to function normally, and all of a sudden they will explode in anger at something that seems relatively trivial and harmless. That is one sign of someone who is trying to control or repress their emotions but their repressed emotions are leaking out.

The more anyone tries to control their emotions the more they resist control, and the more frightened people eventually become at what is seen to be a “loss of emotional control”.  It is a vicious circle.

All humans have basic emotional needs. These needs can be expressed as feelings, for example the need to feel accepted, respected and important. While all humans share these needs, each differs in the strength of the need, just as some of us need more water, more food or more sleep. One person may need more freedom and independence; another may need more security and social connections. One may have a greater curiosity and a greater need for understanding, while another is content to accept whatever he has been told.

In dysfunctional families it is most often the emotional needs, which are not met. The children and teenagers are getting enough to eat and they have a roof over their heads, but their emotional needs are not being met. It is helpful to become more aware of these emotional needs as a first step towards helping each other fill them.


        


Importance of Emotions

(Goleman's Emotional Intelligence)


Survival

Nature developed our emotions over millions of years of evolution. As a result, our emotions have the potential to serve us today as a delicate and sophisticated internal guidance system. Our emotions alert us when natural human need is not being met. For example, when we feel lonely, our need for connection with other people is unmet. When we feel afraid, our need for safety is unmet. When we feel rejected, it is our need for acceptance, which is unmet.


Decision Making

Our emotions are a valuable source of information. Our emotions help us make decisions. Studies show that when a person's emotional connections are severed in the brain, he cannot make even simple decisions. Why? Because he doesn't know how he will feel about his choices.


Predicting Behavior

Our feelings are also useful in helping us predict our own, and others' behavior. Here is an article on the idea that feelings predict behavior.

When we feel uncomfortable with a person's behavior, our emotions alert us. If we learn to trust our emotions and feel confident expressing ourselves we can let the person know we feel uncomfortable as soon as we are aware of our feeling. This will help us set our boundaries, which are necessary to protect our physical and mental health.


Communication

Our emotions help us communicate with others. Our facial expressions, for example, can convey a wide range of emotions. If we look sad or hurt, we are signaling to others that we need their help. If we are verbally skilled we will be able to express more of our emotional needs and thereby have a better chance of filling them. If we are effective at listening to the emotional troubles of others, we are better able to help them feel understood, important and cared about.


Happiness

The only real way to know that we are happy is when we feel happy. When we feel happy, we feel content and fulfilled. This feeling comes from having our needs met, particularly our emotional needs. We can be warm, dry, and full of food, but still unhappy. Our emotions and our feelings let us know when we are unhappy and when something is missing or needed. The better we can identify our emotions, the easier it will be to determine what is needed to be happy.


Unity

Our emotions are perhaps the greatest potential source of uniting all members of the human species. Clearly, our various religious, cultural and political beliefs have not united us. Far too often, in fact, they have tragically and even fatally divided us. Emotions, on the other hand, are universal. Charles Darwin wrote about these years ago in one of his lesser-known books called "The Expression of Emotion In Man and Animal". The emotions of empathy, compassion, cooperation, and forgiveness, for instance, all have the potential to unite us as a species. It seems fair to say that, generally speaking: Beliefs divide us. Emotions unite us.

 

 

          Emotional Needs Checklist

  • Do you feel secure in all major areas of your life?
  • Do you feel you receive enough attention?
  • Do you give other people enough attention?
  • Do you feel in control of your life most of the time?
  • Do you feel connected to some part of the wider community?
  • Can you obtain privacy when you need to?
  • Do you have an intimate relationship in your life (one where you are totally physically and emotionally accepted for who you are by at least one other person)?
  • Do you feel emotionally connected to others?
  • Do you feel you have status that is acknowledged?
  • Are you achieving things and feeling competent in at least one major area of your life?
  • Are you mentally and/or physically being stretched in ways that give you a sense that life is meaningful?

 


The expression of your current and past emotions and feelings are vital for your health and for your recovering from illness.


This is vital for your survival. People with cancer, who learn to express their emotions and feelings, for example in support groups,  (Link Cancer patient support group) can double their surviving time over those who don't.

Research has shown that the biggest immune suppression is seen in people who are classed as being " too nice" (Link"cancer personality") see cancer personality). These are people who usually bottle their feeling up to avoid expressing anger, confrontations or embarrassments.

Many people, who are susceptible to cancer, tend to hold on to anger, hurt, guilt, disappointments and grief. When these emotions become logged in the body, they can have an affect on different organs.

These emotions and memories need to be allowed to surface into the light of consciousness for healing and release. When this occurs, we can say that the past is released from you and you are released from the past. This allows you to deepen and settle into the present moment.

Just like our body, our emotion can also be deteriorated due to many factors.

Although we can heal past pains, human continues to experience emotional ups and downs. By tuning in and befriend with your feelings, it is possible to fully understand your own needs and personality.


How We Repress Emotions


When we have an experience that we find painful or difficult, and are either unable to cope with the pain, or just afraid of it, we often dismiss this emotion and either get busy, exercise more, drink or eat a bit more, or just pretend it has not happened. When we do this we do not feel the emotion and this results in what is called repressed, suppressed or buried emotions. These feelings stay in our muscles, ligaments, stomach, midriff, and auras. These emotions remain buried within us until we bring that emotion up and feel the emotion, thus releasing it. Emotions that are buried on the long-term are the emotions that normally cause physical illness.

The following are a few examples of the methods people use to avoid feeling their emotions.

 
  • Ignoring your feelings
  • Pretending something hasn’t happened
  • Overeating
  • Eating foods loaded with sugar and fat
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Excessive use of recreational drugs
  • Using prescription drugs such as tranquilizers or Prozac
  • Exercising compulsively
  • Any type of compulsive behavior
  • Excessive sex with or without a partner
  • Always keeping busy so you can’t feel
  • Constant intellectualizing and analyzing
  • Excessive reading or TV
  • Working Excessively
  • Keeping conversations superficial
  • Burying angry emotions under the mask of peace and love

Symptoms of Repressed Emotions


It takes a lot of energy to keep emotions repressed and buried. If you keep emotions buried for a long period of time, you lower your overall vibrations, and lower vibrations lead to illness and an accelerated aging process. Buried emotions create fatigue and depression.  The following are some major symptoms of buried and repressed emotions.

 
  • Fatigue
  • Depression without an apparent cause
  • Speaking of issues/interests rather than personal matters and feelings
  • Pretending something doesn’t matter when inside it does matter
  • Rarely talking about your feelings
  • Blowing up over minor incidents
  • Walking around with a knot in your stomach or tightness in your throat
  • Feeling your anger not at the time something happens but a few days later
  • In relationships, focusing discussions on children/ money rather than talking about yourselves
  • Difficulty talking about yourself
  • Troubled personal relationships with family, friends, acquaintances
  • A lack of ambition or motivation
  • Lethargic – who cares - attitude
  • Difficulty accepting yourself and others
  • Laughing on the outside while crying on the inside

Effects of Repressed or Buried Emotions - The Mind Body Connection


Repressed or buried emotions can cause major difficulties in the physical body and energetic systems. They affect all your relationships, and they especially affect your ability to grow spiritually and shift your level of consciousness. 

Your body responds to the way you think, feel and act. This is often called the “mind/body connection.” When you are stressed, anxious or upset, your body tries to tell you that something isn’t right. For example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer might develop after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one. The following can be physical signs that your emotional health is out of balance:

 
  • Back pain
  • Change in appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme tiredness
  • General aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Lightheaded
  • Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
  • Sexual problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain or loss

Poor emotional health can weaken your body's immune system, making you more likely to get colds and other infections during emotionally difficult times.

Also, when you are feeling stressed, anxious or upset, you may not take care of your health as well as you should. You may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious foods or taking medicine that your doctor prescribes. Abuse of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs may also be a sign of poor emotional health.

Emotions repressed for the long-term can cause serious illness including cancer, arthritis, chronic fatigue, and many other major health problems. Your energy leaks out creating fatigue, a sense of vulnerability, and low self-confidence.


 


When you have repressed emotions, your behavior and reactions to events in the present moment are often reactions to past events as well as the present. This has a negative effect on all relationships in your life. 

You cannot be fully present with those you love in today until you have released your emotions from the past.  You buried emotions because they were too painful and difficult to deal with when they occurred and this pain affects your reactions to today’s events and hurt that remains buried in your body.

It takes a lot of energy to bury emotions and to keep them buried. There isn’t much energy left over for other activities when your energy is being used to keep stuffing these emotions back down. By nature, buried emotions want to come up so you can become aware of them, feel them and release them. You work very hard to keep them stuffed down.

Eating, Drinking, Exercising, or Any Type of Compulsive or Excessive Behavior: 

We often go for weeks, even years acting in a manner that is normal for us – and what is normal for you may not be normal for another person. Then we will find ourselves overeating, working excessively, and drinking daily, engaging in compulsive sex, working long hours, and many other types of compulsive behavior. We stuff down our feelings through excessive behavior, ensuring we do not feel them at that moment. We do this because the feelings are too painful or we are just too afraid of these feelings and where they might lead us in our thinking and actions.

When we have unmet emotional needs, we often seek physical substitutes.

Try to identify the times when your excessive behavior was triggered and, as soon as you can, identify the emotion that is causing this behavior. It can be stress or fear related to a new job, the death of a friend or partner, difficulties with lovers or children. Document these emotions as best as you can. We never do anything without getting something from it. There is a reason why you are engaged in excessive or compulsive behavior.

 

Some Ways We Try to Compensate for Our Unmet Emotional Needs

By managing/controlling/manipulating others

By feeling superior to them.

By seeking status, money, fame.

By competing and trying to be the fastest, the smartest, the best, etc.

All of these are attempts at making it appear that we are okay, that we are worthy. These fill some of our needs, but neglect many others. When we are behaving in ways that don't address all or enough of our emotional needs, this behavior is ultimately unhealthy for us. Often instead of realizing that we have other unmet needs, we try to compensate for what is missing by seeking more of what we already have enough of. Some needs then become a substitute for the others. But we can never get enough of the substitutes, so we never truly feel emotionally fulfilled.



 Human Emotional Needs


In many countries they have labels on food telling you how much of your minimum daily requirements for a certain vitamin a certain food gives you. This made me wonder about our "daily emotional needs. I realize this is similar to our daily nutritional needs, but much less studied and discussed. 

All humans have basic emotional needs. These needs can be expressed as feelings, for example the need to feel accepted, respected and important. While all humans share these needs, each differs in the strength of the need, just as some of us need more water, more food or more sleep.

One person may need more freedom and independence; another may need more security and social connections. One may have a greater curiosity and a greater need for understanding, while another is content to accept whatever he has been told.

In dysfunctional families it is most often the emotional needs, which are not met. The children and teenagers are getting enough to eat and they have a roof over their heads, but their emotional needs are not being met. It is helpful to become more aware of these emotional needs as a first step towards helping each other fill them.

John Bradshaw: "As long as Mom and Dad satisfy their own needs through their own powers and with each other, they will not use their children to solve these needs". 

Here are some of the basic human emotional needs expressed as feelings. While all humans share these needs, each differs in the strength of the need, just as some of us need more water, more food or more sleep. In various degrees, each according to his or her own unique nature, we each have a natural emotional need to feel:


 

Accepted
Acknowledged
Admired
Appreciated
Approved of
Believed in
Capable
Cared about
Challenged
Clear (not confused)
Competent
Confident
Forgiven
Forgiving

Free
Fulfilled
Heard
Helped
Helpful
Important
In control
Included
Listened to
Loved
Needed
Noticed
Powerful

Private
Productive / Useful
Reassured
Recognized
Respected
Safe / secure
Supported
Treated fairly
Trusted
Understanding
Understood
Valued
Worth


 

Identifying Unmet Emotional Needs

Exercise 1

Fill in the blanks to the sentence below as many times as you can.

When I am feeling ______ I have an unmet need for _______.

Example: When I am feeling lonely, I have an unmet need for connection.

Exercise 2

Complete this sentence as many times as you can:

All my life I have had an unmet need for_______.


 


When What You Say and Do Is Not In Sync With What You Feel: 


Men and women go through many situations telling themselves that “it doesn’t really matter” or “it’s not important enough to argue about”, basically buying peace by agreeing to something that deep down they do not agree with. They find themselves feeling unhappy, disgruntled, and angry with the individual involved.  This type of situation creates tensions and unhappiness in relationships.  Buying peace at any price creates negative feelings within you. 

Identify those situations where you have created depressing feelings within yourself by agreeing to something that makes you don’t really agree with. Write them down. This will be difficult for people who have difficulty saying no, or who are too anxious to please others. But the feelings generated by these situations are very important when dealing with your emotional life.  Many times we need to excuse things and just overlook them. That’s normal in life. But we apply this to situations that affect us deeply. It’s these situations we need to identify.

Deciding How To Respond To Your Emotions: 

Once you have identified a certain emotion you will at times need to decide how to precede in dealing with it.  There are many options that need to be considered carefully. Certain approaches can have very serious effects. You could lose your job, or you could lose your marriage. It’s very important to consider your options carefully before saying or doing something that cannot be taken back.

The following are a few questions you can ask yourself when deciding what response would suit a particular situation best – and each emotion, each situation is different. 

  • Am I reacting to this situation or is this reaction partially a reaction to a past situation as well? 
  • Am I able to discuss the issues with the person without venting anger? 
  • Will I be able to talk about how I feel to the person? 
  • Is a direct approach the best way to proceed? 
  • What are the consequences of dealing directly with the person/ situation? 
  • What do I expect from this discussion?  *Are my expectations realistic? 
  • Should I discuss this with someone before doing anything?
  • By asking these questions you will be deciding whether a direct approach is the best approach, and if so if you are ready do this at the present time. If your anger is at a “rage” stage, you need to release some of this anger before proceeding to discuss this with anyone.

 

 


Shifting Your Perspective: 


Life brings injustice, abuse, bad luck, and emotions of hurt, anger, self-pity, and depression. It’s quite easy to look at what others have done that you consider being wrong, and these wrongs are very real. It’s not as easy to look at your response to the real wrong or injustice done to you. Someone might have demeaned you and degraded you.

Did you punish them in some manner for their behaviour? Was your response to the situation a healthy and loving response?

Emotions around injustice of any kind are complex. Once we accept personal responsibility for our responses, the emotions around a given situation tend to lose their hold over us. It’s important to honor that an injustice has occurred. But it’s equally important to be ready to release that from your life, which involves looking at your own behavior, and accepting responsibility for your own actions. 


Detach Yourself: 

When your emotions are running high and you are having difficult reducing the intensity, try to detach yourself from the situation and the emotion. Try to imagine the same situation happening to someone else.  Try to see if the behavior would be the same if someone else were in your situation. If the answer is yes then you can begin to see that the experience is not necessarily being focused at you. The other person is probably acting unconsciously, and you just happen to be the individual “in their way”. Detaching yourself in this manner can help you move through very difficult situations without taking the abuse personally. You might need to terminate the situation causing the emotions, but your detachment allows you to look at things more rationally and quietly.


Knowing Your Fears: 

What are the fears underlying your emotions? You will need to know and understand your fears. To do this you will have to swallow some pride and admit and accept that you have many fears that are affecting what you do each day. These fears are often not at the conscious level. Are you afraid of being alone; abandonment; the unknown; adventure; losing face; ridicule; not having enough money; loneliness; death; suffering; losing prestige; not being honored for your work and effort; losing your wife or husband – the list is endless?

Fears are tricky things.  There are some that you need to ignore and just act as if you were not afraid.  For example, if you’re afraid to say no, your fear will leave as you begin to say no when you need to say no.  At times it’s like exercising a muscle. The more you use it the easier it gets. Other fears are a healthy warning that something is very wrong. For example, a person might be afraid of another person. This fear might be the signal to avoid that person, to leave the relationship.

As you become aware of your fears and own them to be truly yours, a day will come when you will notice that one of them has somehow disappeared.  That’s the way it is with fear.  As you live a life in tune with your emotions, a life focused on coming from that place of love, you will find that many of your fears will just disappear.


 The Worst Case Scenario Exercise

Many people react emotionally to things that never even happen. If they can rehearse the worst possible situation and think of ways to respond and deal with them, they can release and clear the emotions and be better prepared to best face whatever actually occurs.

 

Try this exercise, which is particularly helpful for people who experience a great deal of fear, worry, or anticipatory anxiety.

  • Look ahead to a situation that is creating fear, anxiety, or worry in you.
  • Imagine the worst possible things that could happen. Feel what those things would feel like in your body. Make it as real as possible.
  • Plan now how you would respond if any of these things actually happened. How will you take responsibility for your well-being in this situation? What will you do to take care of yourself?
  • Accept these scenarios as possibilities, and then release them with gratitude for the learning they may bring. Focus your attention on the most positive and desirable scenario.

         


Emotions Assessment


 1: Assessment

To improve health and create positive outcomes, you first need to identify where you need to improve. It is also beneficial to identify where you have strengths because these can provide you energy to change.

Choose the appropriate category for each question, then click Next button when you have answered all the questions.

  • I am aware of all my emotions:

Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often - Always


  • I accept my emotions without judgment:

Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often - Always


I allow myself to express true emotions:

Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often -Always


  • I consciously try to let go of resentments and negative                 emotions after the event has passed:

Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often - Always


  • I try to practice forgiveness:

Never - Rarely -Sometimes - Often - Always


  • I try each day to practice gratitude and recognize joy:

Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often - Always


  • I deliberately try to shift negative emotions:

Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often - Always


  • I try to be compassionate and non-judgmental with myself:

Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often - Always


 2. Assessment

It’s a good thing you’re starting to look into a healthy lifestyle now. Consider writing down any emotional skills not reflected in the previous questions under My additional strengths and My additional areas of improvement.


Additional Strengths:

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________


My Areas of Improvement:

I am unaware of my emotions


I do not accept my emotions without judgment


I might be denying emotions, preventing me from processing them and moving on.


I might not be expressing "negative" emotions appropriately.


I do not practice forgiveness


I do not practice gratitude and recognize joy.


I may want to work on shifting emotions to become more effective and avoid stress.


My beliefs or attitudes might be obstacles in my life (Examples of self-limiting beliefs: there's not enough to go around or I'm not good enough.)


Additional Areas of Improvement  

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________


3: Next Steps

Your assessment results offer a great starting point. Read them over and consider what you would like to improve. Pinpointing your intentions is a necessary and empowering first step to achieving goals.

Once you have identified an area you would like to improve, proceed to set a goal.»»motivations and goals


My Areas of Improvement

  • I am unaware of my emotions

  • I do not accept my emotions without judgment

  • I might be denying emotions, preventing me from processing them and moving on.

  • I might not be expressing "negative" emotions appropriately

  • I do not practice forgiveness

  • I do not practice gratitude and recognize joy.

  • I may want to work on shifting emotions to become more effective and avoid stress.

  • My beliefs or attitudes might be obstacles in my life.
  • (Examples of self-limiting beliefs: there's not enough to go around or I'm not good enough.)

Some other question for you to think about


  • Who (what person) or what experience made me feel generous, magnanimous, expansive, so far?
  • Did I experience any "ah-ha" moments, insights, and breakthroughs in the last 3 months?
  • Where have I found the joy in my life so far this year?
  • Who or what made me laugh out loud?
  • What happened that gave me a sense of relief and peace?
  • Who helped me along my way and have I said thank you?
  • Who or what caused me to feel a sense of accomplishment?
  • Did you take even one step forward towards your dream or goal and if so, what was that step or steps?
  • If you could do it over, these past 3 months, what one thing would you have done differently?
  • Did you take some time to celebrate your victories along the way?

        

Improve mental and emotional health by taking care of yourself


In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Don’t let stress and negative emotions build up. Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you’ll be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise.

Taking care of yourself includes pursuing activities that naturally release endorphins and contribute to feeling good. In addition to physical exercise, endorphins are also naturally released when we:

Express your feelings in appropriate ways.

If feelings of stress, sadness or anxiety are causing physical problems, keeping these feelings inside can make you feel worse. It’s OK to let your loved ones know when something is bothering you. However, keep in mind that your family and friends may not be able to help you deal with your feelings appropriately. At these times, ask someone outside the situation--such as your family doctor, a counselor or a religious advisor--for advice and support to help you improve your emotional health.

Live a balanced life.

Try not to obsess about the problems at work, school or home that lead to negative feelings. This doesn’t mean you have to pretend to be happy when you feel stressed, anxious or upset. It’s important to deal with these negative feelings, but try to focus on the positive things in your life too. You may want to use a journal to keep track of things that make you feel happy or peaceful. Some research has shown that having a positive outlook can improve your quality of life and give your health a boost. You may also need to find ways to let go of some things in your life that make you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Make time for things you enjoy.

Develop resilience.

People with resilience are able to cope with stress in a healthy way. Resilience can be learned and strengthened with different strategies. These include having social support, keeping a positive view of yourself, accepting change and keeping things in perspective.

Calm your mind and body.

Relaxation methods, such as meditation, are useful ways to bring your emotions into balance. Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take many forms. For example, you may do it by exercising, stretching or breathing deeply. Ask your family doctor for advice about relaxation methods.

Take care of yourself.

To have good emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and exercising to relieve pent-up tension. Avoid overeating and don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. Using drugs or alcohol just causes other problems, such as family and health problems

Do things that positively impact others.

Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem.

Practice self-discipline.

Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.

Learn or discover new things.

Think of it as “intellectual candy”. Try taking an adult education class, join a book club, visit a museum, learn a new language, or simply travel somewhere new.

Enjoy the beauty of nature or art.

Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. The same goes for strolling through a park or an art gallery, hiking, admiring architecture, or sitting on a beach.

Manage your stress levels.

Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.

Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying.

Try to avoid becoming absorbed by repetitive mental habits – negative thoughts about yourself and the world that suck up time, drain your energy, and trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.

Appeal to your senses.

Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.

Engage in meaningful, creative work.

Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it – things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop.

Get a pet.

Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for one makes you feel needed and loved. There is no love quite as unconditional as the love a pet can give. Animals can also get you out of the house for exercise and expose you to new people and places.

Make leisure time a priority.

Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them. Go to a funny movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good book, or talk to a friend. Doing things just because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.

Make time for contemplation and appreciation.

Think about the things you’re grateful for. Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.

Everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people. Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel better. The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give you a boost.


         


Supportive relationships: The foundation of emotional health


No matter how much time you devote to improving your mental and emotional health, you will still need the company of others to feel and be your best. Humans are social creatures with an emotional need for relationships and positive connections to others. We’re not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Our social brains crave companionship - even when experience has made us shy and distrustful of others.

Social interaction - specifically talking to someone else about your problems - can also help to reduce stress. The key is to find a supportive relationship with someone who is a “good listener” - someone you can talk to regularly, preferably face - to - face, who will listen to you without a pre-existing agenda for how you should think or feel. A good listener will listen to the feelings behind your words, and won’t interrupt or judge or criticize you. The best way to find a good listener? Be a good listener yourself. Develop a friendship with someone you can talk to regularly, and then listen and support each other.

Get out from behind your TV or computer screen.

Screens have their place but they will never have the same effect as an expression of interest or a reassuring touch. Communication is a largely nonverbal experience that requires you to be in direct contact with other people, so don’t neglect your real-world relationships in favor of virtual interaction. 

Spend time daily, face-to-face, with people you like.

Make spending time with people you enjoy a priority. Choose friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members who are upbeat, positive, and interested in you. Take time to inquire about people you meet during the day that you like.

Volunteer.

Doing something that helps others has a beneficial effect on how you feel about yourself. The meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life. There is no limit to the individual and group volunteer opportunities you can explore. Schools, churches, nonprofits, and charitable organization of all sorts depend on volunteers for their survival.

Be a joiner.

Join networking, social action, conservation, and special interest groups that meet on a regular basis. These groups offer wonderful opportunities for finding people with common interests – people you like being with who are potential friends.


Risk factors for mental and emotional problems


Your mental and emotional health has been and will continue to be shaped by your experiences. Early childhood experiences are especially significant. Genetic and biological factors can also play a role, but these too can be changed by experience.  

Risk factors that can compromise mental and emotional health:

Poor connection or attachment to your primary caretaker early in life.

Feeling lonely isolated, unsafe, confused, or abused as an infant or young child.

Traumas or serious losses, especially early in life.  Death of a parent or other traumatic experiences such as war or hospitalization.

Learned helplessness.

Negative experiences that lead to a belief that you’re helpless and that you have little control over the situations in your life.

Side effects of medications, especially in older people who may be taking a variety of medications.

Substance abuse.

Alcohol and drug abuse can both cause mental health problems and make preexisting mental or emotional problems worse.

Whatever internal or external factors have shaped your mental and emotional health, it’s never too late to make changes that will improve your psychological well-being. Risk factors can be counteracted with protective factors, like strong relationships, a healthy lifestyle, and coping strategies for managing stress and negative emotions.


         


When to seek professional help for emotional problems


If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental and emotional health and you still don’t feel good – then it’s time to seek professional help. Because we are so socially attuned, input from a knowledgeable, caring professional can motivate us to do things for ourselves that we were not able to do on our own.

Red flag feelings and behaviors that may require immediate attention

  • Inability to sleep.
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time.
  • Concentration problems that are interfering with your work or home life.
  • Using nicotine, food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions.
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can’t control.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

 

 

Healing Suppressed Emotions

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