Bottling 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 just prefer keeping your emotions to yourself, which is common. It’s like sweeping the dirt under the rug and keeping the lid of a boiling pot.

The truth is, you can’t avoid these emotions, and they don’t go away that easily. Bottling up your emotions is never good for the mind and body. Your physical and mental health is greatly affected when you repress your emotions.

Bottling up negative emotions like anxiety and anger can disrupt the normal function of your stress hormones called cortisol. This results in lowered immune function and an increased risk of developing a chronic illness. Not expressing your emotions is also 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, or knowing the signs if you’re bottling up your emotions and understanding the repercussions if this continues.

What happens when you bottle up your feelings? Here’s what you should know:

1. 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, making you feel worried and anxious all the time. Let’s say you’re experiencing financial difficulties and don’t discuss 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 open up 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.

2. You Resort to Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Some people tend to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms when they have too many emotions to mask. Other people drink all night to forget their problems. And then there are those who resort to substance abuse to have that euphoric feeling and avoid getting frustrated.

Others express their negative emotions in an unhealthy way by lashing out at their loved ones. Some harm themselves or have suicidal thoughts because their emotions are too much to handle.

These unhealthy coping mechanisms will not do you any good. They are all self-destructive behaviors that will harm you and hurt those who care about you. You can avoid all of these if you let all your thoughts and emotions out in a healthy way.

3. There Are Changes in Your Eating Patterns

Have you heard of the expression “eating your emotions away”? Have you seen people not eat at all because they’re feeling too much pain? Yes, bottling up your emotions can negatively impact your eating patterns. As a result, you either gain or lose weight in a bad way.

Many people can relate to this. What they don’t realize right away is that changes in the way they eat have consequences on their physical health and mental well-being.

4. 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 giving you regular headaches. When this happens, you may have a hard time concentrating at work, find yourself easily distracted, and get cranky all day. It’s no surprise how bottling up your emotional pain can affect your everyday life by manifesting as physical pain.

5. 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 that you don’t consider it an option anymore, which can be quite common 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.

6. You Overreact to Everything

Because of all the repressed emotions, you find it hard to deal with stress and start overreacting to everything. For instance, you’re having a meeting at work, and what’s supposed to be a brainstorming session feels like a personal attack on you because you’re overreacting.

Sometimes, this reaction is a cry for help. You need to vent out; instead, you lash out at the people around you. A simple conversation makes you break down into tears and have angry outbursts. Not only are you dealing with your anger the wrong way, but you’re also harming your relationships.

7. You Avoid Confrontation

Because you don’t want to deal with your own emotions, you try to avoid confrontation. You have a hard time addressing your concerns, making it difficult for you to get the message across.

Being involved in a confrontation makes you uneasy and nervous. The thing is, avoiding conflicts doesn’t make the issue go away.

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 suffering 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.

1. Know the Cause of Your Negative Emotions

Determining the cause of an unresolved emotion takes time and patience. In time, you’ll learn how to identify your issues. Once you do, 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? Self-reflect and ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I feeling? Am I angry, scared, jealous, or 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 of my day? Is it time to make some changes?
  • How are my relationships 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?

2. 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 you 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. Writing in a journal and reading it in the future is like talking to yourself, so you get to understand yourself more.

3. Take Care of Your Physical Health

Bottled-up emotions can be expressed in a healthy manner through exercise and other physical activities. All the bad emotions can make you feel overwhelmed. But when you take care of your physical health through exercise, you release pent-up emotions healthily.

In addition, after exercise, your body produces happy hormones called endorphins. This makes you feel better, helps you avoid depression and anxiety, and attain a positive body image. When you start to take care of your body, taking care of your mental health follows as well.

4. 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 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 to hear their advice on what you need to do.

Simply talk to someone you 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.

5. Talk to a Therapist or Counselor

Bottled-up emotions are hard to process. For some, it may be a walk in the park, but for others, it is challenging to release their emotions. If you don’t understand your inner thoughts or know how to deal with your bottled-up emotions, a therapist can help you explore what you’re going through.

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 Kentucky Counseling Center.