This post was updated on Feb 21, 2023
Do you struggle to move forward and achieve your goals? Have you ever felt anxious or even paralyzed because of a situation in your life? If you feel like there is no way out, you may be experiencing emotional blockage.
Our emotions are an essential part of our psychological makeup – they are a natural response to both external and internal happenings and situations. We all experience emotions, although some individuals may struggle with emotional detachment.
Unfortunately, our emotions can sometimes bottle up and create a barrier that can prevent us from thinking creatively and moving towards our goals. This is known as emotional blockage, a condition that can benefit greatly from relationship intimacy coaching exercises and other forms of psychological help. Keep reading to learn about suppressing emotions.
What Is Emotional Blockage?
Being emotionally blocked means having an unhealthy relationship with your emotions. You may be unable to express and communicate them, or you might experience difficulties understanding why you feel the way you do. It is a defense mechanism that keeps us from coming to terms with our emotions, thinking clearly, and taking forward action.
Emotional blockage can be quite difficult to deal with. You may be fighting hard to avoid or ignore your emotions, which instead makes them even more overpowering and pervasive. Instead of going away, your emotions will bubble up, leaving you confused, easily triggered, and prone to lashing out. What’s more, intense emotional blockage can also cause severe anxiety and depression. All of this can affect many aspects of your life, including your behavior, cognitive skills, work, friendships, and relationships.
What Causes Emotional Blockage?
Emotional blockages are typically caused by negative, traumatic, or stressful situations and events the individual is not prepared or used to dealing with. These may include:
- Abuse and traumatic experiences
- Death of a loved one
- Relationship breakups or turbulences
- Employment status changes
- Unexpected moves or lifestyle changes
- Diagnosis of serious medical illnesses
You can also become emotionally blocked by positive events such as news of pregnancy, promotions, unexpected visits. In general, emotional blockage can be a natural response to a wide range of shocking events, as we need time to process the new information and the changes that may come from it.
Is It Bad To Hold Back Your Emotions?
Choosing to bury your feelings can lead to a variety of issues, both internally and externally. If you don’t react to a stressful situation by letting out the painful emotions or at least acknowledging them, you may start to withdraw from others, react inappropriately, experience anger outbursts, or fall into apathy. Ultimately, you’ll most likely be unable to resolve your emotional, social, or professional issues unless you express and deal with your emotions.
What Happens If You Hold In Your Emotions?
Suppressing painful emotions can lead to a range of psychological and physical stress on your body. Here are some concrete examples of how emotional blockages can affect the quality of your life:
Bottling up emotions can lead to substance abuse, whether it’s with alcohol, antidepressants, or drugs. If not addressed, addictions can further worsen your emotional situation.
If you keep suppressing hurtful emotions, burying them as deep as they can go, they’ll inevitably push back at some point, pouring out in intense bursts of anger. If you notice yourself lashing out at people close to you, take a step back and think about what you may be avoiding.
Withdrawing from others, lashing out, and being emotionally unavailable can negatively impact your relationships. You may distance yourself from your romantic partner, struggle to maintain some of your friendships, or fail to build strong professional relationships.
When you suppress emotions, you may also suppress a memory of an event or situation that has hurt you or made you feel uncomfortable. As you can’t actually forget something on purpose, your mind will have to work extra hard to avoid thinking about the memory in question, often causing mental exhaustion.
Migraines And Headaches
The unaddressed emotional stress can tighten your brow and forehead muscles, reducing blood flow and causing headaches and migraines.
Not dealing with your emotions can cause a number of other health issues, including stomach problems, weight gain, and even increased cancer risks. In fact, suppressing emotions may increase your chances of premature death by as much as 30 percent.
How Do You Release Emotional Pain?
Nobody enjoys feeling sad, angry, ashamed, or humiliated. Still, not acknowledging these feelings and lying to yourself will get you nowhere, and can actually make things much worse. Here’s how you can start dealing with your emotions and working on a healthier, less stressful life:
- Unleash emotion through movement. Physical activity, even just a tiny bit of it, can help you feel better and release your blocked emotions. Jump, run, dance, or exercise – it will help you both physically and emotionally.
- Stay with your feelings. Give yourself time to feel your anger, sadness, or guilt. Sit with your emotion, analyze it, and try to accept it. You can try listening to music, discussing your emotions out loud, or just letting yourself cry it out.
- Understand why you feel the way you do. Ask yourself: Why do I feel this way? What am I reacting to? Understanding the cause of your unpleasant emotions can help you accept and integrate them.
- Write down your thoughts and feelings. Journaling is another great way to better understand and more easily accept emotions. Once you start putting them down on paper, you might feel silly at first, but your emotions will most likely start pouring out eventually.
- Seek professional help. While you can achieve great results by working on your emotions on your own, seeking professional advice and insight can further improve your ability to integrate negative emotions and use them to power positive change.
Find Release Through Expert Relationship Intimacy Coaching
If you struggle to let out your emotions and maintain strong relationships, know that you can facilitate positive behavioral change with the right kind of help. At PIVOT, we strive to help individuals and couples understand and integrate their emotions and find relief from emotional pain. Whether you choose to try our transformative emotional coaching for individuals or attend one of our deeply insightful relationship workshops, rest assured that our PIVOT Coaches will give you the tools and resources you need to heal your emotional wounds. Contact us today.