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The effect unexpressed emotions have on the body

In most societies, yelling, shouting, and sobbing out loud are usually frowned upon – if we see people in public engaged in these behaviours, we tend to grab our children by the hand and rush right by them. But emoting doesn’t need to be a dramatic event that unwittingly makes you the next viral star; you can express your emotions without garnering an audience.

In fact, expressing emotions isn’t about yelling or shouting at all – it’s about communicating how you feel. It’s as simple as sitting on the couch and saying that you’re upset or sad or nervous. It’s as simple as allowing yourself to be vulnerable.

It sounds scary, right? No one loves the idea of laying down their shield and admitting that – yes – they feel! But the other option – shutting your emotions in – can be harmful to your body.

First of all, pent-up emotions manifest physically. Some studies link an inability to express yourself to certain forms of cancer and heart disease. It makes sense – the mind/body connection is an extraordinarily strong one. What the mind takes on, the body will too.

Of course, chronic anxiety beckons too and this can manifest in several bad ways – weight gain, a compromised immune system, hair loss, fatigue, and heart palpitations (to name a few). Yep, ignoring your emotions comes with all sorts of unwanted side effects!

Withholding emotions also cultivates a disease for your relationships. What this means is that when you fail to tell people how you feel or that you’re upset, the foundation of your union starts to crack. Then, one day, it topples over completely.

The funny thing about emotions in that shutting them out makes them bigger – it turns them from molehills into foothills and eventually mountain ranges. It makes surmountable issues grow until they’re surmountable no longer. And it sets you up to “explode” when you’ve finally had enough.

Other things it may do? It may lead you to coping mechanisms that aren’t healthy (such as gambling, drinking or binge-eating) which you use to help ignore those emotions and push them back down again. It may also leave your overly irritable, with every little thing making you feel rattled and annoyed.

They say that time heals all wounds and sometimes it does. Yet, when it comes to emotions, keeping them deep inside doesn’t make them go away, no matter how deep you bury them. No matter how much time has passed.

Remind yourself of this by remembering a short rhyme:

Ignore your emotions and they’ll only grow stronger.

They’ll build and build until you can ignore them no longer.


Hiya, I’m Karen, energy therapist and mind body expert for dynamic and ambitious women who are struggling with anxiety. I help them to get to the root cause of their anxiety so they can take back control other thoughts and be the calm and confident woman they want to be.
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