We are taught to embrace and express “positive” emotions, but told to repress the “negative” emotions. This mindset isn’t necessarily healthy for us to do so. All of our emotions should be expressed and accepted, even appreciated. I know that may sound strange, but things can be learned from “negative” emotions. One can learn to evolve and grow from these emotions. It is important to let out these “negative” emotions, so that we don’t allow them to fester and permeate our minds and lives. It won’t help to keep them in, to use drugs, alcohol, food, or other unhealthy habits to repress them. Bottling in emotions can lead to lower level of well-being and makes one less likely to achieve goals.
I put quotations for positive and negative emotions, because emotions are not necessarily good or bad. It is how we perceive them. Emotions just are. They are there to tell us something. They are there to guide us. We tend to see the more difficult/uncomfortable ones as bad/negative, and see the more comfortable/uplifting ones as positive/good emotions. Difficult emotions tend to make us feel worse about ourselves and our lives. Uplifting emotions tend to make us feel better. It makes sense, we as humans like categorizing things to make things simple, but I like you to be aware that emotions in itself are not good or bad.
With practicing mindfulness, you learn to feel, understand and accept all emotions. You learn is okay to feel these emotions “good” or “bad.”. You may even see the beauty in it. Emotions is what makes us human. It shows that we are caring. If you don’t feel any of these, than that may be something to be concerned about. So what are some ways to express and let out these emotions?
- Cry-Sometimes you just got to let out a good cry.
- Take deep breaths-This is always a helpful strategy to help calm and sooth an individual.
- Vent to others-Let others know what you are feeling. It always feels good to let out what you are thinking, having others listen, and getting some empathy from others.
- Journal-Sometimes you don’t want to vent to others, or have no one to vent to. This is also a good way to let your thoughts and feelings out. Just getting your thoughts out on paper can be therapeutic.
- Exercise-Can help reduce stress, helps increase brain health, thinking and memory. Increases levels of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin(feel good neurotransmitters and hormones). It also gives you a nice sense of accomplishment and makes you feel good about oneself.
- Get creative-Fuel that energy into something creative can be helpful and can help you create something beautiful.
- Listen to comforting music-It can be uplifting music that can help you get into a happier place, or sad songs that help comfort you, knowing others have gone through the same thing.
Another important reason why we should express our emotions.
- You won’t be able to enjoy happiness and joy: You won’t be able to appreciate the good times as much. Feeling joy, happiness, excitement, accomplishment, appreciation are wonderful feelings to have, but if you try to repress the more difficult emotions. It will be just as hard to express the more uplifting ones as well.
- Fighting emotions leads to more suffering: The more you fight it, the harder it will be to move one. The more you repress it with something else, the longer it will stay with you. Facing it is the best to heal.
- It doesn’t allow you to live life fully: Feeling emotions makes us human. It allows us to experience life. It pushes us to evolve and grow. It shows us we are caring and compassionate individuals. It shows us we want to improve and become better individuals. It keeps us alert. It keeps us moving. We need emotions to live.
We don’t want emotions to be expressed in a harmful, hurtful way, or become persistent. The point is to feel the emotions, cope in a healthy way and move forward. You don’t want to ruminate over the emotions for a long period of time, but you also don’t want to skim pass and repress them. There needs to a balance. Allow yourself to feel the emotion, but recognize that the show must go on eventually, express it in a healthy manner, and this should allow you to move on from it.