Humans are emotional beings that have bodies best suited to expressing our innermost feelings. However, society can teach us over time to repress emotions, especially those considered “negative” to gain full public acceptance. When we hide our emotions we ignore, avoid and delegitimize uncomfortable sensations as a means to cope with stress or adversity.
Repression is most common in troublesome emotions like shame, anger or fear. These negative experiences can overwhelm us to the point of exhaustion. We limit our ability to process the root of these feelings and bury the lessons so deep within ourselves that we can fail to see the true toll it is costing us. These unresolved emotions become trapped in our body where tensions mount and toxicity festers. We become energetic depleted that cause burnout, emotional upheaval, and even disease. Every since facet of our body marinates in this toxic sludge creating damaging consequences for our mind, body and spirit.
3-step process to dislodge trapped emotions
To heal emotional turmoil, we must first acknowledge it! Only through expression can we move and learn from these buried feelings, and allow them to final leave our body.
Step 1: Mindfulness and recognition
Notice what has been happening with your body. Name it and claim it. This will help you accept the pain and observe it without judgment. Tara Brach practice a form of radical acceptance called RAIN (Recognize, allow, investigate, and nourish) to promote self-compassion. This process “directly de-conditions the habitual ways in which you resist your moment-to-moment experience,” says Brach. Buddhist traditions state human suffering is the result of people aversion and resistance to an experience.
Only through acceptance can we free ourselves of distress. By embracing the hardships head-on with grace and wisdom we can allow the difficulty moments to pass by. In feeling the emotion, we are able to heal it through amply processing and understanding. Feeling how this emotion resides in the body brings an addition level of cognition and relatability. This will cultivate genuine acceptance, knowledge and freedom indicative of absolute healing. Practicing mindfulness will help you identifying your feelings and bodily sensations more readily. Make sure to speak and act with as much self-compassion as possible.
Sit quietly with closed eyes. Notice your body’s rhythms with curiosity. How do you feel in this moment? Is there any pressure or tingling, and if so, where? Do any parts of your body feel heavy, hot, contracted, warm, or cold? Do you notice any texture, weight, and shape of sensations within your body? What emotions correspond to those sensations? Try to breathe into the troublesome parts? What do these parts seek to tell you? What else might they need?
Step 2: Use self-expression to respond
Emotions need expression for proper processing. This moves emotional energy throughout the body so access can be released. Unite your mind and body in sincere curiosity and care to explore the emotions. Notice what this emotion is tied to, and what lesson it’s trying to teach. What else does this emotion need to heal? Perhaps you need to cry or scream. Maybe your emotions require release through exercise like a swim, run, boxing, or yoga. Or you can transform your angst through creativity like dancing, painting or knitting. Finally, consider spending time outside and use nature as a healing balm.
Purging the toxic emotions, you carry with lighten your spirit immensely. Writing is truly dynamic therapy for the soul that helps you reconnect with your inner wisdom and promote self-growth and self-awareness. The processing we do by writing gives voice to our subconscious. The act of journal allows us to see how we fit into the world around us and enables us to shift perspective. We are able to safe capture our fears, hurts, worries and joys so that we can objectively analyze them and let go what no longer serves us. Daily journaling empowers us to better express and processing feelings and experiences. It provides a safe, nonjudgmental forum to chronical everything on our mind.
Detail what is occurring in your life currently that you would like to improve. What is the biggest source of anxiety? As you write, notice the sensations in your body. Can you sense areas that might be numb, in pain, tingling or stuck? What are these sensations trying to tell you? What do they require into to change and heal?
Step 3. Rest and self-care
Healing neglected and trapped emotions in our body is difficult work. Make sure you find time to rest yourself and practice a healthy self-care routine. By resting you will help reset your mind, body, and spirit. You will ultimately be realigned with your life purpose and receptive to new opportunities, as well as enjoy peace and balance.
Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself and disconnect from technology. Slow down and enjoy nature or a favorite hobby. Cook your favorite meal. Set aside time for mediation or yoga. Creating time for self-care will restore your spirit and reinvigorate you to enjoy life’s pleasures and blessings.
It is difficult to release lingering toxic emotions. It’s important to give yourself ample care and compassion as you would a loved one. Honor the skills you are using to heal yourself and celebrate the progress of self-growth and self-empowerment. Purging trapped emotions ensure we will not longer sabotage our chance at the best possible life for ourself. This release is liberating and will inspire others in your life to reclaim their power as well.