Our emotional health relies on our ability to identify and process feelings
Our emotional health relies on our ability to identify and process feelings. A repressed or suppressed emotion skews our entire emotional equilibrium, since when we repress one emotion, we repress them all. This, in turn, has dramatic repercussions on our overall health.
Buried emotions never really disappear. Instead, they appear in the guise of emotional behaviours, which often create vicious cycles or become self-fulfilling prophecies. For example, a person who refuses to acknowledge his feelings of sadness will probably avoid relationships, making him even more depressed, while emotional eaters usually become angrier with themselves after bingeing.
Below is a partial list of emotional behaviours and some of the conditions associated with them. Bear in mind that every case is unique, that any behaviour can be used to repress or suppress any emotion and that the key to deciding whether or not a behaviour is unhealthy is if it starts to take over your life.
Fear is our first signal that we are not safe. It has many different faces. We may fear being inadequate or we may fear success. We may fear abandonment or we may fear being tied down in a relationship.
Most fears revolve around issues of control and play themselves out in behaviours that either assert power or relinquish it. These include:
Among the conditions associated with fear-related behaviours are:
Anger is our emotional security system. When someone or something invades our emotional, physical or spiritual boundaries, we become angry. But few people know how to deal with their anger in a healthy way.
More often than not, it emerges through:
These do little to address the root causes of our anger and may in fact perpetuate them.
Among the conditions associated with anger-related behaviours are:
Loneliness combines a sense of loss with a feeling of sadness and disconnection. Feeling lonely alerts us to our need to connect with others. If this basic and primal need remains unmet, it can do physical and psychological harm.
Behaviours that arise out of loneliness include:
Among the conditions associated with loneliness-related behaviours are:
Sadness stems from a sense of loss. Not all losses are actual or quantifiable: sadness can be a sense of loss for what may have been or what we believe to have been ours by right.
Because the grieving process is so gruelling and can make others feel uncomfortable, sadness may be one of the most suppressed emotions. It materializes through behaviours such as:
Among the conditions associated with sadness-related behaviours are:
Anxiety is a sense of pending and unspecified dread. Often, it will serve as a cesspool of all the other emotions that we repress or suppress.
Behaviours that arise out of anxiety include:
Among the conditions associated with anxiety-related behaviours are:
Joy is the emotion we all want to feel, but it may be repressed or suppressed by people who grew up in environments where expressions of emotion were not allowed.
People unable to deal with joy in an emotionally healthy way will often indulge in self-sabotaging behaviour, including:
Behaviours associated with all emotions:
|Emotional eating is when a person eats for emotional reasons, such as boredom, excitement, loneliness or frustration, rather than to satisfy physical hunger. In trying to fill emotional needs with food, emotional eaters find themselves feeding a bottomless pit. Their behaviour only ceases with acknowledging their emotional needs and addressing the real issues that lie beneath them.|