There are many schools of psychology, and each has its own point of view in the matter of suppressing feelings and emotions. Let us note at once that one way or another everyone is right and wrong at the same time. There is not one objective truth in psychology, and if one thesis helps you improve the quality of life, it doesn’t mean that it helps everyone. Let’s try to understand the topic of suppressing emotions and get closer to a semblance of objectivity.
Emotions are complex psychological states that include physiological, cognitive, and behavioral aspects. Research shows that emotions carry important information about our attitudes towards events and are an integral part of the human experience.
The importance of emotions in human life is immense, we wouldn’t be able to progress and develop without them. Its feelings and sensations that are our guiding star, which points us to the right path. It helps us conclude that completely closing ourselves off from emotions is definitely not worth it.
Suppression serves as an element of self-regulation and discipline, which pays off in your career. Research conducted by scientists in 2003 showed that the ability to control the expression of emotions is closely related to psychological well-being. This link is explained by the following mechanisms:
- Emotional flexibility. The ability to suppress or express emotions depending on the situation allows for better adaptation to different situations, avoiding excessive emotional reactions. In the context of career, business or building family bonds, this can be a key success factor.
- Interpersonal relationships. Leaders often influence people by suppressing emotions. They don’t go along with general opinion and mood, keep a cool head, and lead the team.
- Stress management. Since suppression directly affects mental clarity, it affects productive, rational, and informed decision making at critical times.
Suppressing emotions can have a positive impact in the short term, but things are not so rosy in the long run. There is a high probability that suppressed emotions will lead to negative consequences. Here are a few reasons why suppression can be harmful:
- Emotional buildup. When negative emotions are suppressed, they don’t go away; instead, they accumulate in the psyche. This creates internal tension, which over time leads to psychological pressure.
- Stress response. Suppressing emotions is an additional source of stress, your body still responds to emotional stimuli but without the ability to fully express them. This leads to high levels of stress and anxiety. Also, all the suppressed emotions the psyche needs to hold onto somehow, so all the energy will be directed here. Before you know it, you will begin to tire and burn out faster.
This works not only for negative emotions but also for the positive ones. If you have won a huge sum while online sports betting but try to hide your happiness, it will also turn into negativity.
To recover, psychogists advise more physical activity. It allows you to reset the negative, develop a hobby, which brings positive emotions.
The opportunity to speak out to close people and friends is a great psychological support. In a comfortable environment at home, most problems remain behind the threshold. To work through the negativity, experts advise:
- Draw negative emotions. This can be done to music and colored pencils. The main thing is to clearly draw feelings, which will help to discount them.
- Shout in the woods, by the water, in nature — this is a great emotional release.
- Massage. It allows you to relax, relieve muscle tension, and clamps.
- Talk out. Here you can do it with close people or use the “traveling companion” tactic.
- Master breathing practices.
- Write a message to the person causing negativity, and then tear it up, burn it, crumple it up. You can imagine the opponent opposite on a chair and say everything without being shy in expressions.
- Keep a diary, where you write down in detail all feelings and emotions.
It’s equally important to learn to let go of what causes negativity, problems, and the past. In other words, to live emotions here and now and move on without carrying them with you.
By useful suppression, we mean that you refuse to go along with your emotions in the moment, for example, during a conflict at work. But that doesn’t mean that these emotions should be forgotten forever — they will stay with you as a heavy burden until you realize them.
Using the example of a conflict: you somehow also felt anger at your colleague, you just suppressed it. This anger can not be left inside, it must be realized. After all the edges have been smoothed out, go to your colleague and release the accumulated anger: “It was unpleasant for me that you spoke to me like that.”