This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Suppress Your Emotions
By Doris Dahdouh
Society appears to have become emotionally inept. Feelings seem to be associated with negativity and showing emotion has somehow become a sign of “weakness.” Grown adults and children alike sitting across from each other seem to have difficulty expressing themselves properly.
This difficulty may stem out of a fear of potential rejection or because you simply do not know how to express yourself openly. Maybe you have become more comfortable not saying anything at all than with saying what you feel. Therefore, poor eye contact, crossed hands, stiff postures and obsessions with technology plague much of humanity today, particularly in the U.S.
We have learned to hold things in and suppression has become a societal default. Individuals are often awkward in front of each other when having to deal with emotions. But sentiment and passion are a part of being alive and connecting us to each other.
When you deny yourself the right to be expressive, you can do serious damage not only to your mind and soul, but also to your physical body.
Here are 5 ways that suppressing your emotions can affect your body:
1. Suppressing Emotions Can Cause Stress.
Stress causes tension on your nervous system, which triggers your neurotransmitters to go into “panic mode.” Your organs and/or glands then shut down for protection and the stress overtakes your body.
Tension usually goes straight to your head, neck, shoulders and lower or upper back. Most of us carry stress in those areas and eventually tighten up and hold in toxins. The more toxins floating around in the body, the more likely you are to feel some sort of pain.
2. Suppressing Your Emotions Can Cause Serious Mental Illness.
Your brain is the most important organ in your body. It controls everything in the body from your feelings/thoughts to your ability to use your hands, legs, feet, eyes, etc.
Here are the 4 parts of the brain that deal with emotions:
1. The “deep limbic system” in the central area of the brain is important for your emotional state by how it stores highly charged emotional memories.
2. The “prefrontal cortex” in the front side of the brain controls emotions along with impulse control, insight, empathy, judgment, concentration and the ability to plan.
3. The “basal ganglia,” which surrounds the deep limbic system, is in charge of combining movements, feelings and thoughts.
4. The “temporal lobe,” located in the temples and behind the eyes, is in charge of mood stability among many other things.
Therefore, suppressing emotions denies the brain the freedom to work properly and efficiently. It ends up becoming “sick” and unable to see reality for what it is because a false sense of reality has been created by the ongoing/continuous restraining of feelings. As a result, severe depression, anxiety and/or substance and/or alcohol dependence can be developed.
People are created to have feelings and to let them out and these “feelings” have to come in somehow. Holding them in will cause the subconscious to find other ways to manifest what it is truly feeling. Usually, those “other ways” are unhealthy and damaging.
3. Suppressing Emotions Can Cause Weight Gain.
When your body goes into “stress mode,” one of the stress hormones, known as cortisol, is released to help your body recover from the other two hormones, adrenaline and corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), that cause temporary loss of appetite.
However, after those two hormones retreat, cortisol hangs around, causing the appetite to increase, which in turn triggers you to eat more. Cortisol sometimes also stores in your midsections as “visceral fat.” Visceral fat is considered the culprit of a “big belly.” Continued suppression of emotions will inevitably become stress and that stress can cause weight gain, making it more difficult to drop excess pounds.
4. Suppressing Emotions Can Cause Serious Physical Illness.
Holding back what you are genuinely feeling and causing your body to be under constant stress as a result, can also impact the endocrine, lymphatic and immune systems. You become more vulnerable to diseases and disorders when under continuous pressure.
Keeping your deepest emotions quiet puts your subconscious under ongoing pressure. Your subconscious has to find a way to release it so it releases this pressure into the body, which can wreak havoc, triggering the onset of autoimmune disease, cancer, heart disease and more.
5. Suppressing Emotions Can Affect Gut Health.
The gut is considered the “second brain.” Both the brain and the gastrointestinal tract are linked interchangeably, making it difficult to isolate one from the other. Therefore, suppression of emotions and strain caused by the inability to be expressive can cause physical symptoms in the stomach such as upset, nausea, diarrhea, bloating and/or constipation.
In the article, “The Gut-Brain Connection,” Anthony L. Komaroff, Editor-in-Chief of Harvard Health Letter, reports that: “psychology combines with physical factors to cause pain and other bowel symptoms. Psychosocial factors influence the actual physiology of the gut, as well as symptoms. In other words, stress (or depression or other psychological factors) can affect movement and contractions of the GI tract, cause inflammation, or make you more susceptible to infection.”
Suppressing your emotions can and often does affect your body in major ways. It is important to find techniques in order to help you become more expressive for a happy and healthier life.
Practice communicating emotions by writing in a journal, listening to therapeutic music, talking to a trusted and safe friend/spiritual guide and/or seeking professional counseling. It is necessary to explore approaches that work for you! You are never more beautiful than when you are real, raw and vulnerable. So, let it out.
Share with us your techniques to expressing yourself in a healthy way in the comments below. We love hearing from you. 🙂
Doris Dahdouh has a Master’s Degree in social work and has helped counsel children and help families since 2001. In 2012, she became very ill due to a hormonal imbalance and autoimmune disorder. Doris was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) many years ago and was treated with mainstream medicine which did not help her. She hit rock bottom before finding refuge in holistic living, by juicing, going gluten free and eating clean, organic, whole foods. Over the past couple of years, Doris has educated herself on a healthy lifestyle by reading information by Dr. Joel Furhman, Drew Canole, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Josh Axe, Vani Hari (a.k.a. Food Babe) and more.
Doris is enrolled to become a certified health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is very excited to help others achieve their best by combining her psychoanalytic skills and what she hopes to learn in the health coaching certification program. With a heart for others, she is eager to continue assisting as many people as possible towards optimal health.
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