We live in a society where emotions are something that people often push to the side. No matter what it is that you’re going through, many people will advise you to “be stronger” or ignore what you’re feeling at that moment. Many times it’s described as seeing things logically rather than emotionally. My question has always been this: “Why is being emotional often seen as being irrational or illogical?” It doesn’t make any sense to me.
We’re all human, therefore we all have emotions. It’s as simple as that. Part of being a well rounded human being is getting in tune with your emotions and being, what is called, emotionally intelligent. Emotional Intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Your emotions are not something that you should ever feel the need to hide or ignore. And I’ll tell you why! Like I said, we’re all human. Human emotions are extremely powerful, and not a force to be reckoned with. When you hold in your strong feelings, you’re doing yourself so much damage. You’re much more likely to hurt yourself or the people around you. You may lash out, you may be more irritable, and you may just feel generally worse. You may even keep yourself in a mindset that does not allow you to get things done, progress, or grow. You may not see it, but holding in so much negativity does so much bad for your confidence, self-esteem, and relationships with others. By suppressing your emotions, you are denying yourself something vital to your health and growth. You’re denying yourself the right to be human.
Expression of emotions doesn’t have to mean that you’re constantly sulking in a corner because you’re so sad. If it works for you, so be it! But, if you don't want to be in that boat, you don’t have to be. I know that many people may not even realize that the little things they do are denying their emotions. For example, one day you wake up and you have gotten a bad grade on an exam for school. Maybe you’re sad, stressed, or nervous about that. What I’m challenging you to do is instead of eating some ice cream to make you feel better, or ignoring the fact that you feel bad about this exam...just feel it. Feel the emotion that is naturally coming to you, because it’s normal. This goes for any emotion in any situation. The only way that you can truly get away from that negative emotion is to just feel it in the moment. Don’t ignore it. It may be a bad feeling. It may be an uncomfortable feeling. But once you’ve felt it and let it go, it’s done. That negative feeling or emotion can no longer have control over you or how you feel if you’ve allowed yourself to feel it fully.
Something I believe everyone should do is examine and release all of your emotions for the day. You can save a negative emotion or experience for later if you don’t want to deal with it at the moment. You may be busy when certain emotions come to you, and that’s okay; But always remember at the end of the day before you go to bed; let that negative feeling go. The same goes for all of the good things and the positive feelings you had during the day. Think about them, remember them, and hold onto them. Once you’ve done all of that, your mind and body can be at peace. You’ve let go of the negative energy, and expressed your gratitude for the positive energy. I can't think of a better way to end your day.
A great way that I feel like this can be done is through journaling. I know, it sounds like something pre-teen girls do, but hear me out. Journaling daily or whenever you feel a strong negative emotion can be such a good release of negativity. It’s also so amazing to let the thoughts in your mind come out; it’s like talking to yourself. When you write, you can see all of your thoughts on paper. Instead of having a mess of cluttered thoughts that you cannot decipher, floating around in your head, you can visually see them. It’s like your thoughts come from your brain, down your arm, and onto the paper without you even thinking about it. And before you know it, all of the deep thoughts that you didn’t know you had are all laid out in front of you. It’s an amazing thing. All of this to say: writing is an amazing way to let go of those emotions if you don’t want to share or express them to others.
I think it’s important to say that all of this goes for positive emotions as well. When you wake up in the morning just feel good and energized, FEEL THAT. Go outside, sit in the sun, and allow yourself to feel good and enjoy that positivity for as long as it lasts. Notice what things make you happy and positive and allow yourself to do them effortlessly. WRITE THEM DOWN. It’s so easy to remember to feel the negative because you want the negative emotions to pass. Understandable. But always take time to be grateful for all of the positive feelings that you have throughout the day as well. When you allow yourself to FEEL that light and joyful energy, you can relish in the overwhelming sense of gratitude that comes with being alive.
All of this being said, here are a few things that you can do to allow yourself to feel and express your true, raw emotions.
Journal: There’s no further explanation needed on this one! Journaling is very therapeutic for me, and I find it is effective for releasing any emotions I could be feeling. It makes you sit, think, and breathe-making it all the more relaxing.
Paint: Get creative! Painting is a great way to release any emotion you may have deep inside of you. Colors can be used to express certain positive or negative emotions, and you can also use certain brush strokes or styles of painting to convey a message or emotion through your art. This is another one that allows you to sit, think, and breathe. Putting energy into art is an amazing way to de-stress regularly.
Exercise: Stronger emotions, like anger, can be targeted through a hard workout. Have you ever felt so angry that you wanted to break something? If you have, putting that energy towards something productive and good for your body may help tremendously. Try to visualize the source of your anger while using your body to combat it.
When in doubt, cry it out: Honestly, sometimes you just need to release sadness and anger this way. Don’t be afraid of it. Contrary to popular belief, this does not make you weak. Allowing yourself the feeling of raw emotion is one of the strongest and most empowering things you can do.
Never forget to take a moment to think about and appreciate how good you feel after taking the time to do something about a negative emotion. It’s not always easy to deeply feel your feelings, and that’s okay! But you should always take time to appreciate yourself for doing something to change the way you feel.
You are in control of your life and the negatives and positives that come with it. Allow yourself to make a change.