What happens when we suppress our emotions? The hard science is supporting what we’ve known for years – chronically suppressed emotions often lead to physical illness.
Gut issues, IBS, aches & pains, frequent illness, insomnia, autoimmune conditions, severe PMS/hormonal imbalances, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome – these are all among the most common physical symptoms of suppressed emotions and nervous system dysregulation.
Here’s the thing – emotions are a form of communication. So are you listening to the message, or trying to kill the messenger?
It’s no secret that our bodies and minds are deeply interconnected. The way we experience and process emotions can have a significant impact on our physical well-being. Often, we overlook the profound effects of emotional hygiene on our health.
When we experience stress, our body responds by producing stress hormones. If these hormones are not effectively metabolized, they can accumulate over time, leading to chronic stress and eventual burnout. Emotional release plays a crucial role in preventing this accumulation. It’s like giving your mind and body a breath of fresh air.
Suppressing emotions might seem like a temporary solution to avoid confrontation or discomfort. However, research suggests that habitual suppression can be toxic to our bodies. A study conducted at Berkeley revealed that individuals who suppressed their emotional responses showed heightened activation of the sympathetic nervous system, commonly known as the fight-or-flight response. This chronic state of stress can contribute to various health issues.
But how do repressed emotions link to chronic illnesses? Dr. Gabor Maté’s book, The Myth of Normal, sheds light on this connection. He identifies patterns of emotional suppression in individuals with conditions such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, migraines, and chronic fatigue syndrome. These patterns, often rooted in societal norms, are mistakenly seen as strengths when they might actually be liabilities.
Dr. Maté’s work challenges us to reconsider our perceptions of these patterns. Traits like compassion and generosity are indeed valuable, but they shouldn’t require us to suppress our emotions. Recognizing and addressing emotions is an essential form of self-care that promotes both emotional and physical well-being.
So, what can we do to break free from this cycle? It begins with acknowledging and accepting our emotions with compassion.
Instead of asking “Why am I like this?” we can shift our focus to “What do I need?” Emotions are a form of intelligence, guiding us towards our needs. Allowing ourselves to feel and process emotions, which typically takes only a few seconds to minutes, can prevent long-term storage of unprocessed feelings in our bodies.
Somatic release work is a powerful tool in this journey. If expressing emotions feels unsafe or if you’re struggling with chronic health conditions, consider exploring somatic release through a discovery call. Working with a coach can provide a safe space to process and release emotions, ultimately promoting both emotional and physical healing.
Remember, emotional well-being isn’t separate from physical health—it’s an integral part of it. By giving ourselves permission to feel, express, and release emotions, we pave the way for a healthier and more fulfilling life.