The Dangers of Emotional Suppression
The link between mind and body has always been a source of intrigue. Aristotle recognised that emotions impact the body in ancient Greece, and Hippocrates firmly believed that mental diseases were caused by natural reasons, not supernatural ones, as was often believed at the time.
In recent decades, links between psychological conflicts, personality features, and somatic* illness have been observed with greater precision.
Certainly, scientific literature increasingly recognises the connection between repressed emotions and physical health issues. In general, approval of a holistic view of the individual is substantially higher. In a number of alternative health fields, emotional health is considered equivalent to physical health.
Biochemistry discusses the physiological connections between your emotions and your neurological, endocrine, immunological, and digestive systems. We are aware, for instance, that anxiety increases cortisol levels and that chronic and persistent activation of this survival mechanism has negative effects on health.
Emotional control aids in coping and functioning in modern life, but what happens when emotions are suppressed?
Emotions, or psychological states, are our innate reactions to the external environment. The various forms of emotions include joy, sorrow, surprise, disdain, rage, fear, and disgust. Throughout the course of the day, we experience a variety of fluctuating emotional states.
The scientific community has identified 27 distinct emotional experiences. However, we rarely fully articulate every emotion we experience. We frequently downregulate, alter, or even completely suppress our emotions.
Emotional suppression occurs when unpleasant ideas and sensations are repressed. People do this in a variety of ways, including through distraction (e.g., watching television), numbing (drugs and alcohol), overeating, and dietary restriction. People frequently channel intense emotions through physical exercise (i.e., boxing, running, or going to the gym). Concentrating on something else helps us forget what is truly occurring within.
Evidence demonstrates that revaluating emotion (which is distinct from suppression) can be beneficial.
Ultimately, psychological adaptability is necessary for coping. The goal of emotion management is not to eliminate emotions from our life, but to use them flexibly and sensibly. This is vital to some degree. Imagine if we acted out whenever we were furious. There would probably be several negative effects on relationships at home and at work. Reappraisal entails momentarily suppressing emotions while processing thoughts afterwards. Suppression is the act of avoiding or repressing memories or emotions.
Emotions that are repressed are those that are not processed and are pushed into the subconscious. These frequently stem from stressful experiences in childhood. If children encounter trauma and are not given the time and space to process their emotions, or if they are scolded or taught, they are wrong for expressing themselves, their emotions are persistently repressed. We should not supress our emotions because there are emotional suppression causes and consequences.
There are numerous reasons why individuals repress their feelings. It may be to avoid a strong or explosive emotion judged socially inappropriate, or to substitute an unpleasant emotion with one that is more acceptable. We are affected by the expectations of others in our life. Anxiety and despair frequently result from narcissistic abuse. Oftentimes, trauma sufferers find it too difficult to digest their past experiences or are taught they are wrong to do so.
Emotional repression or inhibition is a necessary for the majority of us at times; it allows us to survive. People are expected, for instance, not to spend the day crying at work due to sadness. Modern civilization requires us to suppress our feelings. We must suppress our emotions in order to perform, whether at job or inside a dysfunctional home. In public settings, courteous behaviour is expected. Angry shouting is frowned upon, yet most people lack the skills and courage to express their displeasure in other ways.
Therefore, we conceal our feelings to cope, to comply, because we are instructed to, to survive, because we are embarrassed, or because a traumatic experience is simply too painful to process.
It is well recognised that emotional suppression has physiological effects on the body. Typically, this is transient and produces no permanent issues. Long-term repression of emotions, however, can have negative health and psychological implications.
If you've ever received a deep tissue massage, you'll know that stress can present as muscle tension. Repressed feelings remain in the body. Anxiety, sadness, and other stress-related disorders are the emotional suppression causes and consequences. Such repression can lead to substance and alcohol misuse. (Click here to learn more about the link between childhood trauma and addiction.)
Individuals frequently repress what they believe to be 'bad' feelings in order to avoid suffering. But persistent emotional repression needs work, and this "effort" can eventually take its toll. The exertion heightens sympathetic nervous system activity, which can have detrimental effects.
According to research, suppressing emotions can make people more aggressive. The effortful suppression of negative emotion has both immediate and delayed effects on stress-induced cardiovascular reactivity, according to studies.
In 1970 Yugoslavian cohort research undertaken by Grossarth-Maticeck, the first evidence of a relationship between emotional suppression and death was discovered. Long-lasting despondency was independently connected with cancer, while rage was separately associated with heart disease.
Another study on emotion suppression and mortality risk over a 12-year follow-up period concluded that emotion suppression may be associated with an increased risk of death, particularly cancer-related mortality.
If suppressed, strong emotions such as jealously, fear, rage, guilt, and regret can have severe effects.
Anyone can reach a moment in their life where it appears they can no longer continue or where they confront significant obstacles. Childhood trauma, loss, separation, psychological or physical abuse, and chronic stress can all contribute to the development of phobias, depression, burnout, addictions, and eating disorders. Sleep disturbances, flashbacks, weight issues, and grave health hazards can emerge from trauma. Due to the difficulty of enduring humiliation, remorse, and powerlessness, addictive substances such as alcohol, pills, and medications are frequently used to conceal painful emotions and thoughts.
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Prepared by: Mr. Denny Prasad, Psychologist
LinkedIn Id: https://www.linkedin.com/in/denny-prasad-b55028124