As human beings, we do not enjoy discomfort. When a difficult emotion surfaces, many of us instinctually, but unknowingly, work very hard to avoid experiencing those unpleasant feelings. This can look like turning to TV, social media, eating, shopping, substances, or other unhealthy outlets to escape that feeling. We all do it. Unfortunately, this does not make that emotion just go away. How does it impact our mental health? This can lead to increased depression, anxiety, anger, and can even impact our physical health.
Have you ever experienced an overwhelming explosion of emotions? That can occur when we don’t take the time to allow ourselves to identify, experience, and express our emotions. This does not mean that you have to always sit on your therapist’s couch and verbally process every single emotion (though, that can be very helpful!). Allowing yourself to experience your emotions can begin by just identifying them: Are you sad? Are you fearful? Are you angry? Are you disgusted? Is it joy you’re feeling? Start by just naming it. God designed us to feel- both the pleasant and unpleasant feelings- for better or for worse. If we push those natural experiences of emotions away, they will just “grow” bigger. Once you name it, you can then validate yourself, just as you would affirm a friend who may be experiencing emotional distress. When you give yourself permission to feel these emotions, you allow them to flow through and out of you, like a wave passing by. This may mean that you allow yourself to cry. Or you punch a pillow to release the anger. Maybe you give yourself a hug while you breathe through the anxiety, and remind yourself it is okay to feel it, and that it will eventually pass. Whatever feels comfortable to you; just work on not suppressing them.
What have you been emotionally carrying with you- maybe for a day, or maybe for years? You deserve to experience the freedom of that emotional weight being lifted!