We all experience negative emotions. Some common negative emotions are: anger, shame, guilt, envy, depression, fear and pride. My goal is to help everyone I can release the negative energy that is created by holding on to negative emotions so they have more room to experience love, peace and joy in their lives. In this three-part blog, I will give a cliff notes version of:
- How we typically handle negative emotions.
- The effect of negative emotions on our body.
- How to release negative emotions once and for all.
Let us begin with how we typically handle negative emotions. There are three ways that we typically handle our negative feelings: Suppression, Expression and Escape. These mechanisms are often ineffective and the reason we have difficulty in our personal and professional relationships. Here is an overview of each mechanism:
- Suppression/Repression: Suppression and repression push feelings either down or away and are the flip side of the same coin. Suppression is consciously done whereas repression is an unconscious process. Everyone does both at some point because we are unsure of what to actually do with the feeling other than avoid it.
- We often repress a feeling because we feel extremely guilty about having that feeling. In fact, we rarely experience the feeling at all because we instantly throw it into our unconscious mind whenever it threatens to emerge. Whenever we repress our feelings, two common defenses arise: Denial and Projection. In essence, we deny our feelings and then project those feelings onto other people.
- On the other hand, when we suppress our feelings, we are aware of them but choose not to express them for one reason or another. When we suppress our feelings, we usually feel irritable, experience mood swings, headaches, tight muscles, allergies, and other somatic feelings.
- Expression: This mechanism allows the feelings to get out of the mind and body via outbursts, body language, et cetera; we call this ‘dumping.’ The purpose of expression is to allow just enough pressure from the negative emotion to be released so the rest of the emotion can be suppressed. After expressing a negative emotion through an outburst, the person usually feels relief however the underlying tension is still there. Instead of dumping our emotions onto others, the best way to deal with your negative emotion is to own how you feel. When you own your negative emotions, you neutralize them and allow your positive emotions to increase!
- Escape: The saying goes, “Ignorance is bliss.” This is why we are desperate to remain unconscious of how we feel. Escape is our favorite mechanism for avoiding our feelings. We usually turn to acceptable social diversions to take our mind off of what we feel. Unfortunately, what tends to be socially acceptable tends is a slippery slope: alcohol, work, sex, gambling, television, et cetera. The effects of escaping our feelings cause us to hate ourselves and become emotionally isolated.
As always, I hope you find this helpful and encourage you to check back in for parts 2 and 3. If you have questions, post them below or email me: Jinnie@highachiever.net. For those of your who are self-help fanatics, click here for more resources. Pleasant Journeys!