For some reason in our society, showing how we feel is considered a weakness. Because of this, most people suppress how they feel daily, and this can lead to pretty nasty problems down the road. While society seems to glorify hiding your feelings, doing so will mean that you hold onto all the problems that weigh you down instead of releasing them and finding a solution.
You have to take time to feel the emotions instead of burying them, because they will come out at some point. It’s much better to let your feelings out than allow them to fester and intensify. When you express how you feel, you give yourself a chance to find a solution to the problem and the emotions. You face the emotion head on instead of running away from it.
Below, we’ll go over some reasons why you should express yourself instead of burying how you really feel.
Here are 10 reasons why you should never suppress your feelings:
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” – Sigmund Freud
You might become more forgetful.
A Stanford University study showed that when you suppress an emotion, your incidental memory becomes impaired as long as you keep that emotion buried. You often process memories at night while you dream, so you may find that you’re having fewer dreams if you stifle how you feel.
Dreams help you work things out in your daily life, so you might feel more scatterbrained and lost as you go about your day. Of course, most people don’t want to remember things that cause them pain, so they think suppressing that memory or emotion will help them overcome the incident. However, this might lead to more problems down the road since the emotions will inevitably come to the surface.
You will feel mentally drained.
Because of the energy it takes to put on a smile while you feel like the world is collapsing around you, people might say that you seem more tired than usual. This is normal, because anyone who continuously tries to maintain composure while dealing with negative reaction will seem drained. The key is to not let your emotions get to you. Having a healthy outlet, such as music, drawing, writing, or exercising, will help you get your sentiments out and maintain a balanced mindset.
Your relationships will suffer.
Most people who allow negative emotions to weigh them down take out their problems on close family members. They don’t mean to cause a rift, but it inevitably happens when you don’t deal with your natural responses. When you suppress your emotions, you might lash out more at your spouse or family. Little things that didn’t bother you before may start getting to you.
If the emotions you face have to do with a person close to you, getting angry or passive-aggressive won’t solve the problem. You have to sit down with that person and iron out the issues so that you both can either have a healthy relationship or move on with your lives.
Your sleep will become affected.
When you suppress your emotions, you might find yourself lying awake at night mulling over the problems you face. The longer you deny the problems and feelings you have in your daily life, the more you will deal with insomnia.
Studies show that insomnia can cause mood problems, especially if it occurs most nights of the week. Of course, low moods might cause the tossing and turning indicative of insomnia; either way, you should tackle the suppressed emotions so that you can sleep better at night.
Your physical health may decline.
The same Stanford study that confirmed suppressed emotions cause memory problems also found that hidden negative emotions can lead to cardiovascular problems.
Your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration increase when your cortisol levels go up, and when you suppress emotions, your body absorbs that stress. So, to make sure you keep your reactions from harming your physical health, you should exercise at least 30 minutes per day and maintain a healthy diet.
You might gain weight by suppressing your feelings.
Many people who let negative responses get to them find an outlet in comfort foods. While they might taste great and provide temporary relief, unfortunately, they can also cause a myriad of health issues. Eating to suppress emotions can cause problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and more.
Not to mention, drowning your feelings in food will only create an unhealthy cycle of feeling bad, bingeing to deal with the feelings, and gaining weight. If you find yourself using food to cope with feelings, talk to a therapist or another licensed professional who can help you.
Your digestion might suffer.
From upset stomach and ulcers to acid reflux and constipation, you may suffer from many different digestive issues when you suppress your feelings. Stress from holding onto negative emotions sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, which can wreak havoc on the internal systems.
You might find that you feel bloated or gassy as well, because stress can alter the bacteria in your gut.
Your brain won’t work correctly.
The part of your brain near your forehead, the temporal lobe, helps you cope with negative emotions and throw them away if they aren’t useful for your survival. Unfortunately, when you suppress your feelings, this part of the brain becomes impacted.
Of course, life comes with a lot of problems which can exacerbate negative thinking. In order to combat this, you have to learn to not take anything personally. In other words, go with the flow and don’t try to force things. Don’t let people’s words and actions affect you too much either, because most of the time, they’re acting out of fear and pain. By learning coping skills that help you deal with all the negative situations in life, you will find that you don’t suppress your feelings nearly as much because you don’t let your emotions get to you in the first place.
Keep this quote from Don Miguel Ruiz in mind: “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”
Negative emotions can warn you of impending danger.
When you suppress your feelings, your body won’t be as alert to threats. For instance, if you have buried your emotions in regard to an unhealthy relationship, you will treat the relationship as normal when in reality, it is toxic for your mental health. In other words, you become used to the chaos and find comfort in it, but you can’t see the damage it’s doing to your mind and body.
Instead of hiding your emotions, examine them to see if you can uncover any clues about your personal life. By addressing these negative feelings instead of suppressing your emotions, you will finally be able to move forward instead of allowing the situations causing your pain to cloud your judgement.
Negative feelings make you human.
We preach positive thinking a lot on this site, but it’s equally important to remember to nourish your darkness. We have been taught to be afraid of negative emotions and hide them as much as possible. The result? A largely fake society where people have become more like mannequins. No one feels like smiling and being happy all the time, so if you don’t feel like being positive, don’t be!
The dark side of you contains many answers about life, so don’t suppress it. Allow it to come to the surface every once in a while, and just sit with your feelings. Nothing good comes from trying to be someone you’re not or ignoring your negative feelings. Never feel guilty for feeling a certain way, because humans can feel a variety of emotions and aren’t meant to remain happy at all times.
As you can see, when you suppress your emotions, you only prolong the pain and cause more damage in the long run. As much as society tries to tell you to shine your light on the world, you also need to spend time getting to know your darkness.
Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual, so oftentimes, we’re left to figure it out on our own. However, if you only remember one thing about life, keep it in your mind that you don’t have to put on a mask for others. You don’t have to smile when you feel like you’re dying inside. Smile when you feel like it, and be sad when you feel like it. Keep things simple, and you will finally feel free instead of guilt tripping yourself about being negative.
Of course, we want everyone to feel happy, but it’s unrealistic to expect this at all hours of the day and night!
Here’s to being authentic and showing how you feel, even if it’s not what society expects of us.