We’ve all heard the expression “bottling up emotions” but what does this mean?
“Bottling up” your feelings generally refers to a situation where you aren’t expressing the way you feel- whether it be sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt, or shame.
It’s not uncommon for people to avoid conflict or intense emotions, but according to science, we shouldn’t.
Bottling up emotions can be harmful to both your mental and physical health, and it can also lead to relationship problems.
In comparison, people who are more emotive have better relationships with those around them, higher self-esteem, and are less predisposed to develop mental health issues.
Note: Alexandra is a professional Psychotherapist with specialized knowledge in relationships.– Worried Lovers
Effects of bottling up your emotions
- It’s a breeding ground for addiction – binge drinking.
- It raises the risk of developing mental health issues – suppressing emotions almost always backfires – if not immediately, then over time.
- This can lead to depression, anxiety, poor eating habits, or even insomnia.
- You are more prone to chronic illness – bottling up your emotions places you at a significantly higher risk of developing diseases like cancer or heart issues.
- Not to mention that premature death is more likely as well.
Unexpected anger or rage
If someone has hurt you, you might feel like you cannot confront them.
When people bottle up their emotions and don’t talk about what they are feeling, it can sometimes lead to a sudden outburst of anger.
Strong emotions tend to pour out uncontrollably, especially when they’ve been held undercover for a long time.
If the anger comes out in a destructive way, it can cause a lot of harm to your relationships with other people.
Unhelpful coping mechanisms
Bottled-up emotions have a way of finding other ways to manifest themselves.
When you repeatedly try to hide how you truly feel inside, negative emotions can show up in more subtle and dysfunctional ways (through destructive coping mechanisms).
We assume that we use coping mechanisms to keep the lid on our frustrations, but what happens is that they act as a release valve for our bottled-up emotions. They often seep out in harmful ways.
As quiet and internal resentment builds up, you tend to step away more and more.
Withdrawal makes its way in when trying to avoid facing the real problem: the source of your despair.
You need to face that source and get it out into the open if you want to truly feel better.
Bottling up your emotions always leads to resentment, whether that resentment is directed at other people or yourself.
The benefits of emotional expressivity
The ability to handle and deal with your emotions is a trait that will benefit you in every aspect of your life.
Understanding, identifying, and dealing with your emotions will also help you deal with the people around you.
Emotions are powerful things and can affect you daily. If you try to bottle them up, they can quickly become overwhelming.
Emotions are a natural part of the human experience. They can throw us to the ground, but they can also be beneficial if we manage them properly.
No matter how negative or dysfunctional, every emotion has had benefits throughout history or in specific contexts.
Understanding the value anger brings us, for example, may help us find healthy ways to express it (assertively).
Expressing our emotions allows us to counteract tunnel vision, have clarity, and turn our dysfunctional negative emotions into functional negative ones.
However, some emotions can be detrimental when used to cover up other emotions, which is also a form of suppression.
For example, many people are more comfortable expressing their feelings through anger rather than fear or sadness, which is what they’re truly feeling.
3 Ways to deal with negative emotions and express them
It’s not hard to fall into the routine of bottling things up. We get so used to pushing our feelings and emotions aside that we sometimes need something to kick us out of it.
What if there was a way to avoid bottling things up? What if you could do something to take more care of yourself and still keep your emotions in check?
There are ways that we can better manage our emotions without closing ourselves off:
1. Incorporate your emotions into your life story
Anger, anxiety, sadness is just a part of our life story – an essential one at that.
You don’t have to view your life through the filter of negative emotions, but you have to be able to accept that they may be there.
But they’re only visitors.
The most painful things in life are meta emotions; That is, our emotions about emotions.
Let me give you an example. When you feel ashamed of your sadness, for example, that sadness intensifies and gets worse.
2. Journaling or experiential writing
Journaling is a great way to keep your emotions in check.
Some people have found that writing is a great way to deal with negative emotions.
It can help you develop a better understanding of the situation and provide a way to express your feelings without causing any harm to yourself or anyone else.
3. Social and professional support
If you don’t know how to go about managing your emotions, a relationship coach can be helpful.
They can guide you in the right direction and show you the value of speaking up and how you can go about doing it effectively. You can read more about it here.
It’s also important to get emotional support from family members and friends when you are hurting emotionally.
Talking about how you feel with other people will lessen the resentment that builds up inside.
When we talk out our feelings, we tend to feel better afterward. It allows us to be more aware of how much pain we feel and creates a sense of belonging.
Bottling up your emotions may protect you from instant reactions, but when they eventually blow up, they can do more harm than if you had talked about them or dealt with them right away.
When you bottle up your emotions, you cannot freely share your feelings with the important people in your life.
Instead of dealing with them, you end up keeping all of the stress, sadness, and anger inside.
And isn’t it a pity to miss out on so many things by keeping everything inside?
Allow yourself to feel how you feel every once in a while. And take it as slow as you want, no pressure.
Recommended: What Is Relationship Coaching & Is It Right For You?