One of my friends recently posted publicly about her battle with depression. It’s not an easy thing to talk about, especially to the entire world. The automatic response to is to hide your feelings because no one wants to hear about the bad stuff going on. They want to look at photos of cute puppies and rainbows on social media. But when emotions are ignored for long periods of time, they remain deep inside and can have a destructive impact on your physical and mental health. Try to release them in one of the five ways below, so that they aren’t building up inside you. Disclaimer: We are not doctors and we’re certainly not saying the below suggestions are a cure for depression.
Five Ways to Release Painful Emotions
Practicing mindfulness trains your mind to accept the internal and external situation exactly as it is. When dealing with painful emotions, the mind often resists feeling the true extent of the pain, especially when emotions have been trapped inside for many years. Developing a regular mindfulness practice trains your mind to accept your feelings and reduces resistance. If you’re new to mindfulness, consider joining a group or taking a class to learn the basics, as a supportive environment aids the learning process.
Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your feelings and learn more about your internal world. Exploring your emotions, actions, and reactions by writing about them can provide great insight, while also helping to purge worries, negative thoughts, and frustrations from your mind. You can use a dedicated notebook for journaling or set up a file on your computer, but it’s important to keep it somewhere private, as you need to be able to explore your world without the fear of someone reading your journal.
Meditation has long been used as a tool for self-development and personal exploration. Meditation can be used as a way for the mind to be still and open to whatever emotions arise. Being still is difficult for many people, as it can give rise to uncomfortable sensations and feelings. Guided meditations can be helpful, particularly if you are new to meditation, as the guide provides an anchor to keep you grounded during the meditation. YouTube and other video sharing sites contain thousands of free guided meditations for beginners, as well as more in-depth sessions for experienced meditators.
Sharing your feelings and experiences with another person can be incredibly cathartic and allows you to release buried emotions. A psychotherapist, counselor or another mental health professional may be helpful, particularly if you are experiencing depression or other mental health challenges, but there are also plenty of other ways to share your feelings. Family, friends, online communities and forums can all offer support and provide a way for you to unburden yourself. Some people use a blog or vlog (video blog) to share their feelings online.
Self-care is extremely important when dealing with difficult memories and painful emotions, as the process of releasing buried feelings can be emotionally draining. Take the time to look after your physical and emotional needs. Eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise, find time to relax and try to do something you enjoy every day. If you feel overwhelmed or distressed and are struggling to cope with daily life, consider seeking help or talking to a close friend.
Buried emotions can have a detrimental effect on all areas of life, including mental health, physical health, and relationships. Releasing painful feelings can often be the key to freeing yourself from long-term depression, anxiety, and addictions. Mindfulness, journaling, meditation, sharing your feelings with someone else and ensuring adequate self-care can all help you to break free from negative life patterns.
If you know someone who is going through a tough time, reach out to them and let them know they can talk to you. Sometimes they just need to know that you’re there for them.
You might also be interested in: How Journaling Can Improve Your Mental Health.