I was largely unaware of the importance of my emotional self until I got really unwell a decade ago. It wasn’t until I came face to face with myself in a darkened room for many years that I had to get curious about what had pushed my body so far out of balance! And suppression of emotions, I discovered, was one of the contributing factors!
Growing up I had been taught to disconnect from my body and my emotions. So learning to understand my emotional self was an integral part of my wellness journey. And I continue to use these learned skills in my current everyday experience to keep my physical vessel healthy and well :-)
It became clear to me through my healing journey that healthy navigation through our emotional landscape keeps our physical vessel clear and healthy.
Healthy expression of our emotions clears and releases the old, allowing space for the new to come in. Sometimes that process (such as the process of grief, loss and trauma) can take time so please be patient and kind with yourself if you know you are dealing with some sort of loss or trauma in your life.
One interesting thing I learned from my own emotions is that in my case ‘anger is often sad’s bodyguard’. If I feel anger, I ensure I take time to process at my next convenient moment.
If I don't process the anger, I can sense a discomfort simmering in the background affecting my perception, mood, behaviour, choices and physical symptoms.
As I express my anger through journaling (my preferred creative expression) I often begin to feel sadness over an injustice, wrongdoing, a violation of my standards or perhaps even someone trespassing my boundaries. My surface emotion of anger has led me to my deeper emotion of sadness giving me clear messages that I would have otherwise missed.
Anger leads me to blame others but sadness healthily leads me to actions to take care of myself moving forward. You can feel a tangible physical healing shift in yourself as you make sense of why you feel as you do and what to do next.
Processing emotions is not an intellectual pursuit but more of a matter of the heart. Many of us are not taught to express our emotions healthily, let alone understand that they could hold the very wisdom we need to lead us to our next steps in life :-)
So instead of shying away from scary or uncomfortable emotions, I encourage you to get curious about what messages your emotions may hold for you.
We all have our individual preferences in how we process our emotions and our preferred creative outlet can be a excellent way to support emotional expression. Creativity is a brilliant vessel for allowing the energy of our emotions to flow, release and transform. We can connect with our feelings through our breath, slowing down and connecting with our body, creating, meditating, mindfulness practices, writing, drawing, or talking it out with a safe person. Just the simple act of taking space everyday to check in with yourself can be the first step in acknowledging this very important side of yourself.
By the way, no emotion is negative. Emotions can be instead regarded to be 'action signals' to our next steps and the sooner we can acknowledge and allow them their expression, the clearer we become as a whole person, mind, heart, body and soul.
If your emotions are on-goingly overwhelming and difficult to cope with, please do not hesitate to reach out for professional support. Professional support offers you the opportunity to learn skills to interpret and manage your emotions so you are able to healthily navigate yourself moving forward.
Ph. 021 027 18127
Kira Follas is a qualified counsellor and works as Wellness Practitioner and Group Facilitator in New Zealand. She is also a survivor and thriver of multiple physical and mental-emotional adversities and is a Mum to two awesome teenage lads :)