To bottle up your emotions means suppressing your innermost feelings. It is when you avoid venting out what you really feel. There is the fear that you may appear weak, or you just prefer keeping your emotions to yourself, which is common. It’s like sweeping the dirt under the rug and keep the lid of a boiling pot.
The truth is, you can’t avoid these emotions and it doesn’t go away that easily. Bottling up your emotions is never good for the mind and body. What is greatly affected? Your physical and mental health. When you bottle up negative emotions like anxiety and anger, it can disrupt the normal function of your stress hormones called cortisol. What happens to your mind and body? A lowered immune function, at risk of developing a chronic illness, and is a gateway to developing mental health conditions.
What Happens When You Bottle Up Your Feelings?
We all must learn how to express our emotions in a healthy way. The first step is awareness: know the signs if you’re bottling up your emotions and understand the repercussions if this continues. What happens when you bottle up your feelings? Here’s what you should know:
You Feel Worried And Anxious All The Time
If you choose not to deal with your feelings, these bottled-up emotions start to creep out of nowhere and you can feel worried and anxious all the time. For instance, you’re experiencing financial difficulties and you don’t talk about this with your spouse. No matter how you keep this secret, the feelings creep up and you feel worried and anxious all the time.
But when you talk about your financial worries to your spouse, you will feel better. You will receive the support you need and your spouse can help you with the budgeting.
Resorting To Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Some people tend to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms when there are too many emotions to mask. Other people drink all night to forget their problems. Other people resort to substance abuse to have that euphoric feeling and avoid getting frustrated. Others express it in an unhealthy way by lashing out to their loved ones. Others harm themselves or have suicidal thoughts because these emotions are too much.
Will these unhealthy coping mechanisms do you any good? NO. These are all self-destructive behaviors that will do harm, not any good. You can avoid all of these if you let all your thoughts out in your head in a healthy way.
Changes In Eating Patterns
Have you heard of the expression of eating your emotions away? Or not eating at all because you’re feeling too much pain? Yes, bottling up your emotions can negatively impact your eating patterns. As a result, you either gain weight or lose weight, in a bad way.
Many people can relate to this. Have you ever felt so sad that you just wanted to consume that one pint of Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream? Or you’re feeling so down that you don’t have the appetite to eat? You know how this can be bad for your health, right?
You Experience Frequent Headaches
Are you having a hard time containing your emotions that it’s causing you to have regular headaches? There are times when you think you’re experiencing a physical ailment. But the truth is, you’re bottling up too many emotions. Perhaps you’re spending too much time thinking of negative thoughts that it’s causing you to have regular headaches.
When this happens, you may have a hard time concentrating at work, you find yourself easily distracted, and you get cranky all day. It’s no surprise how bottling up your emotional pain can affect your everyday life.
You Find It Hard To Express Your Emotions
If you’re used to bottling up your emotions for a long time, you may find it hard to express what you truly feel. This is not good for your mental health. Do you know that bottling up your emotions may lead to depression and anxiety disorders?
If you always choose to keep your feelings to yourself, you won’t know when to address them. Expressing emotions may feel odd to you and you don’t consider it an option anymore, especially in men. Expressing what you feel is a great form of relief. Keeping your problems to yourself will only lead to overthinking and feeling anxious for long periods.
You Overreact To Everything
Because of all this bottled-up emotional turmoil, you find it hard to deal with stress and you overreact to everything. For instance, you’re having a meeting at work, and what’s supposed to be a brainstorming session, feel like a personal attack on you, because you’re overreacting.
Sometimes, this reaction is a cry for help. You need to vent out, but you instead lash out to the people around you. Not only are you dealing with your anger in the wrong way, but you’re harming the relationships that you have.
You Avoid Confrontation
Because you don’t want to deal with your own emotions, you try to avoid confrontation. You’ll have a hard time addressing your concerns and it’s hard for you to get the message across. Being involved in a confrontation causes knots up your stomach. A simple conversation makes you break down into tears and have angry outbursts.
How To Stop Bottling Up Your Emotions
Studies show that people suppressing their emotional pain is at risk of developing a chronic illness like cancer or suffer from heart disease. Before you have another breakdown, learn how to stop bottling up your emotions. You may find it challenging at first, but think of this as forming a connection to your inner self and taking care of your mental health. Learn how to stop bottling up your emotions with these tips.
Know The Cause Of Your Negative Emotions
Trying to figure out the cause of an unresolved emotion takes time and patience. In time, you’ll learn how to identify your issues, and it’s going to be easier for you to deal with your anger, stress, and negative emotions.
How can you figure out what causes your negative emotions? Have a self-reflection and ask yourself these questions:
- What am I feeling? Am I angry, scared, jealous, anxious?
- When did this feeling start? Did I experience a life event that caused this? Is it because of heartbreak? Losing a job?
- Do these feelings take over most part of my day? Is it time to make some changes?
- How are my relationship with my family and loved ones? How’s the atmosphere at home? Do my emotions affect my relationship with my loved ones? Where are all these feelings coming from?
Write A Journal To Take Care Of Your Mental Health
You can make it easier to reflect on your thoughts and feelings if you write them in a journal. Studies show that journaling can reduce stress, help you solve problems in a healthy manner, and improve your mental health.
Write down what you feel during the day, why you think felt that way, or what prompted you to react to something. You don’t need to write every day, perhaps you can open your journal and let the emotions out when the feelings are too strong.
Journaling has many benefits; it can help you identify your fears, prioritize problems, and track triggering symptoms of bottled-up emotions. When you write in a journal and read it in the future, it’s like talking to yourself so you get to understand yourself more.
Take Care Of Your Physical Health
Bottled-up emotions can be expressed in a healthy manner through exercise and physical activities. All these bad emotions can make you feel overwhelmed. But when you take care of your physical health through exercise, you are expressing it in a healthy manner.
In addition, after exercise, your body produces happy hormones called endorphins. This makes you feel better, avoid depression, anxiety, and have a positive body image. When you start to take care of your body, taking care of your mental health follows as well.
Talk To Someone
The best way to vent out bottled-up emotions is to talk to someone. Are you having marriage problems? Talk to your partner. Are you having conflicts at work? Have a professional talk with a colleague. Or just simply call your friend and talk about what you feel.
Sometimes all you need is someone to talk to. Are you having problems with your kids? Maybe you can talk to your parents or in-laws so you can hear their advice on what you need to do. Simply talk to someone you can trust, and will listen to you without judgment. If you find it hard opening up to a person you know, you can always talk to a counselor or therapist.
Talk To A Therapist or Counselor
Bottled-up emotions are hard to process. For some it may be a walk in the park, for some, it is challenging to become emotional. If you don’t know how to understand your inner thoughts and deal with your bottled-up emotions, a therapist can help you explore these feelings.
Do you want to talk to a therapist as soon as possible? With just a few clicks away, you can schedule an appointment with a therapist from Kentuckty Counseling Center (KCC).