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Emotions -"Better out than in?!" - The Healthy Way

Have you ever got a lump in your throat when you are sad, or wanted to cry?

Have you ever found you wanted to scream and shout, your hands tighten into fists, when you are angry?


In my blog "When Pain is too Heavy to carry Part 1" I talked about the ways that we deal with emotions in an UNHEALTHY manner, namely to squash down this energy internally, offload it onto someone else. Both of these cause harm.

Internalising negative emotion can effect us physically, interfering with our hormone levels, depletes brain chemicals, impacts our immunity, and even effects us at a DNA/cellular level.

Internalising negative emotion can effect us pyschologically because it increases our sense of detachment from those around us making us feel 'alone'. Can lead to Depression, Anxiety, Reaffirming negative thinking patterns/beliefs around Blame, Shame, and feeds those inner critical voices.


Talking Obviously, as a therapist I am a huge advocate of 'talking therapies'. Talking can help because the memory we have that is stored in the sensory part of our brain (ie it records smells, sounds, feelings etc) can then be transferred to the 'working memory' /verbal part of our memory. This memory can then naturally be processed and stored safely ie into long term memory etc. Also when we bring attention to the memory through talking we hear ourselves say things and it can bring a new awareness of a situation, response, relationship etc.

Lastly, if we see a therapist we get to BE HEARD by someone who is non judgemental, and in a safe environment.

Movement So emotions are experienced as an energy in our bodies. It makes absolute sense that physical movement would aid us in shifting/expressing our emotions. Take a minute to think about music for instance, how you might dance differently to different types of music?, and how that makes you feel. On top of this is how movement stimulates the release of all the 'feel good hormones'. I'm not saying that you have to workout at the gym to shift emotion physically, but MOVEMENT in some form that fits you is key. One suggestion may be as simple as a brisk walk, really moving your arms when you are angry. At work this could be done in a lunch or coffee break.... it quite hard to actually 'angry walk' for that long. Another may be sticking some music on in your front room and having a dance around when you're feeling a bit low.

Get Creative This is a perfect point for me to reiterate that finding what works for you is a journey of exploration. Trying things out and assessing the effects. Creative expression can help when we don't know quite how to explain how we feel, or we find it painful to say the words that describe how we feel. It is particularly good for young people, but I've also found that its very effective for all ages. Writing: This can be free writing in a journal for example. Poetry, or specific guided exercises around a subject such as a letter. Some people use an online journal, however using pen and paper does stimulate more of the brains motor cortex.

Drawing: Focussing on what you are feeling, have a blank sheet of paper and allow yourself to draw how something feels. The key is that this ISN'T about what it looks like, it is not for anyone else to see, unless you want to show your therapist. DON'T OVERTHINK.

Painting: This is similar to drawing, with the added benefit of being able to also use your hands, which further connects you to what you are expressing.

Clay: Have you ever been given a Stress Ball? Clay or salt dough can be used to represent the feeling ie is it spikey, big and heavy etc or as a way to express how frustration similar to a stress ball.

Breathing and Visualisation: Strictly this is a physical expression but felt it was useful to put in its own section. When we picture the painful emotion and do some breathing exercises (see social media for more info) we can imagine breathing in peace and joy and blowing out the pain, stress or anger. You can even imagine the different emotions as different colours and add this to your visualisation.

This is not an exhaustive list, but I really hope that this helps you to develop some healthy emotional expression strategies. Do contact me if you would like to work with me on this in particular, and feel free to share this blog with those in your world who may benefit.


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