Emotional suppression is a natural functioning of human beings. Emotional intelligence instinctively blocks out stressful events that a person is unable to cope with at the time. In this way, suppression is useful and serves a purpose. However, it is when emotions are held back consistently that people are liable to hurt themselves.
Freud discovered that letting out emotions could be beneficial. Suppression and repression, after Freud, became known ways people could make themselves unwell inadvertently. By keeping angst and other strong emotions inside, people came to understand that they might produce physical symptoms, such as tension headaches and other illness, and emotional symptoms, such as hysteria and phobias. Some people also believe that cancer may be linked to suppression.
More often than not, the consequences of suppressing emotions are personal damage like the examples above. At the same time, in this post Freudian world, scientists have discovered that letting emotions out is only helpful if the art of balance is practiced. People may benefit from releasing emotions, as long as they do not allow them to build and grow out of hand. For example, going over and over past traumatic events, can prevent internal emotional healing from taking place. Immediately after Freud’s discoveries, it was thought that airing troubles was the healthiest way to go. These days it is mostly understood that there should be a limit to outpouring of grief and intense emotions. While preventing emotions from settling inside and festering, people also need to make sure that they do not concentrate so much on them that they end up living in the past or carrying on difficulties far past their sell by date.
People benefit from both releasing emotions and by moving on to finer pastures. Sometimes they do not let go of their sadness and anxiety. They may need some encouragement to release themselves from the tension this creates and illness. After they have done so, there is rarely any point in them repetitively deepening wounds. Doing so is like setting a vinyl record to replay, so that the groove gets bigger and bigger. Emotions can grow likewise.
Finding a balance between successfully releasing emotions and preventing negativity from deepening can take practice. The first step is to recognize when you are suppressing an emotion. Often you may feel this as tension in your body. You may experience a feeling of tightness around your head, or palpitations from your heart. Other symptoms may be frustration, a flared temper or feeling of fear or anxiety.
Once you have discovered where you are prone to holding tension caused by suppression in your body, or how doing so affects you, you will be better equipped to deal with it swiftly by learning to release your emotions appropriately at the right time, instead of hanging onto them and letting them control you.