If we’re feeling unhappy, anxious or depressed, it can be tempting to keep our feelings to ourselves. We can tell ourselves others have it worse, or we don’t want to be a burden to our friends and family. However, bottling up your emotions isn’t healthy for so many reasons.
Taking the first step
As a first step, you could consider talking to a professional. Many people feel more comfortable talking to someone they don’t know, who is paid to listen to them. It makes them feel like they can be more open than they would be with someone who is perhaps linked to their current problems. With Relief Seeker, you can find the best online therapy to suit your needs.
Holding back can affect your health
Keeping your emotions bottled up can cause more stress than sharing them. This can then lead to other health problems such as high blood pressure, headaches, neck and shoulder pain (from being tense a lot) and can even increase your risk of heart problems in some cases. Sharing how you feel is definitely the better option for your health in the long term.
Let other people help you
Although this might be difficult, if you talk to a professional first, they may be able to help and encourage you to find the right way to open up to those around you. Keeping things to yourself can make you feel worse, cause resentment (especially if you feel like they have played a part in how you feel) and cause problems in your family and personal relationships. While nobody likes confrontation, finding ways to communicate how someone’s words or actions have made you feel can make them aware of something they may not have considered before.
Alternatively, your feelings may not be linked to anything your loved ones have said or done, but you might not want to burden them with your problems, especially as they may have their own to deal with. Offering to help them or listen to their worries might be a way to make yourself feel better and will perhaps inspire you to share your own feelings and worries. Others may be able to relate to what you are going through and have suggestions of how to deal with it. Making people around you aware of your emotions can also mean they will be more understanding if you have to cancel plans, or you struggle to do certain things, and this will take the some of the pressure off you.
Bottled up feelings will surface eventually
It’s not a great feeling to be upset, but when you’re dealing with certain situations, you need to experience those emotions before you can get to the point where you work through them and eventually start to feel better. If you ignore your feelings, you might find yourself pushing away those closest to you, as you withdraw, or snapping at them for seemingly small things.
Rather than lashing out, try thinking about how you feel and why. So, for example, if something upsets you ask yourself why. The act of writing things down can help you understand your own emotions and can also help you to arrange your thoughts before talking to the people close to you. This gives you a better chance of letting others know how you feel without coming across as a confrontation or making them feel defensive.
Improving your relationships
There is always the risk of losing friends if you share your emotions with them, but generally, those are the ones who weren’t proper friends anyway. Your true friendships and family relationships will grow stronger if you allow them to help you. Keeping people out will have the opposite effect. Relationships are about trust and openness. Talking about your problems will show others that you trust them.
Helping others to understand
If you often have to cancel plans, have therapy sessions to attend, or other ways of coping such as exercise or taking time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, people might take this personally unless they understand. So, if you explain to them how you’re feeling, you can tell them how these things are helping you and they will be supportive of you taking the time to do them, even if it means less time for them.
So, although it may be difficult to take the first step in sharing your emotions, it really is the healthier option and can help to improve your heath, relationships and your mood.