How to Release Suppressed Negative Emotion (And Why This is Important)
How to Release Suppressed Negative Emotion (And Why This is Important)
By Nirmala Raniga
To live is to experience a broad range of emotions, from profound joy to insurmountable pain and despair. While we can’t control everything that happens to us, we can learn to control our reactions and emotional responses to negative experiences, and begin to heal negative emotions we’re holding onto from the past.
Suppressed negative emotion creates energy blocks in the mind and body, which is why confronting and healing negativity is essential for moving forward in life, and enjoying each day to the fullest.
There’s no arguing that facing our emotions can be challenging and uncomfortable. Oftentimes, it’s much easier to suppress negative emotions and store it away to deal with “later”, rather than working through it in the present moment. But as mentioned above, confronting and healing emotional pain is essential for your mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
Why Suppressing Emotional Pain is Harming You
Suppressing negative emotion can lead to an unhealthy, toxic energy in the mind and body, which leaks out in different forms, such as anger, sadness, fear and anxiety. These emotions may cause us to react outwardly at loved ones, or internally at ourselves.
Refusal or avoidance of working through emotional trauma and negative emotion means these feelings are housed within you— allowing them to subconsciously deplete you of your energy and resources, and potentially lead to depression, addictive behaviours and other symptoms of imbalance.
Instead, by facing and working through the negative emotions we experience, we may be able to transform pain into wisdom and meaningful life lessons. And these lessons can become invaluable tools for improving our decision making in the future, if we let them.
So, where do you begin when it comes to confronting and healing suppressed emotion? While it may seem like a daunting experience, the following five steps will make the healing process easier, so you can live your life feeling lighter, happier, and experience more joy in the present moment.
How to Heal Suppressed Emotional Pain in 5 Steps
1. Be Aware of Avoidance and Denial
The desire to avoid pain is natural. In fact, avoidance and denial are defense mechanisms we often use as an attempt to keep ourselves in a happy, balanced state. But when we live in denial, we keep ourselves locked in a state of fear.
Sure, it’s normal to fear the possibility of what shining a flashlight on pain may bring. But in the process of healing ourselves, the first step is to become aware of the suppressed pain or negative experiences you’re avoiding. In fact, this is the only way you’re able to begin confronting the negative emotion that may be holding you back from living a truly peaceful life.
As suggested above, there’s an energetic blockage that occurs when we deny ourselves the gift of working through negative experiences. By shifting our attention to what we may normally choose to avoid, we heighten our self-awareness and take the first step towards healing.
2. Identify Your Negative Emotion
Once you’ve acknowledged a suppressed negative emotion or experience, the next step is to confront and identify with the negative feeling. You may be familiar with the negative emotion, or you may require time and space to honestly explore and address the suppressed pain.
Allow yourself quiet time in solitude to conduct a thorough and honest investigation of your heart. Free writing in a journal, or speaking with a therapist is a helpful way to do this.
Daniel Siegel, psychiatrist and author, coined the phrase “name it to tame it.” By addressing and naming the negative emotion (you may even want to say it out loud to make it more tangible), you can work towards ‘taming’ or releasing the pain that’s attached to the emotion.
3. Witness and Express Your Emotions— aka: “Feel it to Heal it”
Identifying negative emotion is a huge step towards health and vitality, but simply naming the issue isn’t enough. Your presence and attention is required to “stay” or feel through these emotions. When you stay with the emotions, you allow yourself to witness the issue in its entirety, detach, and examine it from different perspectives.
At this point in your healing, the intensity of riding the emotionally turbulent waves might have you ready to duck and run, which is completely normal. Despite any discomfort, allow yourself to stay with the emotion.
This might mean reflecting on past experiences, journaling, using various forms of artistic expression, or verbally expressing these feelings aloud to a trusted person. There’s a powerful shift that occurs when we allow ourselves to fully witness our experiences physically and emotionally. By expressing these emotions, we experience outlet, movement and release.
4. Take Responsibility and Action
The negative event or trauma you experienced may have been out of your control, but the residue of these experiences, and the feelings, are your own.
In this fourth stage of emotional recovery, you take control of your present experience, by choosing how you emotionally respond to these past experiences. By taking responsibility in this way, you can redirect potential anger, pain and sadness towards forgiveness, acceptance and healing. You are taking away blame, empowering yourself and taking ownership of your health and happiness. You become captain of your own ship and choose what emotional state you want to exist in, in this present moment.
5. Release and Rejoice
The final stage of healing is to release and let go of the negative emotions that no longer serve your highest self.
By releasing old pain, you open yourself up to new experiences, and the opportunity to experience more joy, love and light. Through the release of your negative emotions, you may notice your perspective has shifted and you’ve gained greater awareness, insight and a higher level of consciousness.
Imagine yourself as a great phoenix rising from the ashes and rejoicing in your freer, charged and enlightened self. Your psyche has now integrated and transformed your experience into something that is digestible and manageable.
Wading through negative emotions is incredibly intensive, turbulent and messy work, so when you arrive at this stage, ensure you take the time to honour yourself. Celebrate and rejoice your ability to heal and restore yourself.
How our Team at The Paradise Valley Healing Center Can Help
At the Paradise Valley Healing Center, we recognize each person is unique. We work with individuals to explore what their personal challenges and struggles are, to determine what’s necessary for their healing. We also work closely with the individual’s support network, which can ease the stress in everyone’s lives and increase feelings of joy, equanimity and peace.
Contact us via phone or email with your questions and inquiries today. Our therapists are available to provide answers on how we may best assist you on your path to wellness. We look forward to hearing from you!