Finding Healthy Ways to Release
“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
― Oscar Wilde
All of us have something inside us. Our thoughts, our demons, our wants, and desires. Our hopes, dreams, and wishes. Our emotions. And while we may express some of the more healthier thoughts, those that may hold stronger emotions are usually kept within.
Much of the time, these things reside in a place which only a few people may know about — and sometimes no one but yourself knows these things. We keep them locked inside and away from others because it’s scary to share. Especially when it comes to men, vulnerability can be seen as a weakness, and for women, it can be seen as being “too emotional,” thereby furthering the stereotypes we want to give everyone.
But the more we keep everything inside us, the worse it becomes. These thoughts build up until there’s no more room.
I did this for years. It became normal to hold my emotions in and once that bucket became full, there was no other place for them to go except to spill out. And it wasn’t just a spill but a flood — an explosion of every pent-up emotion which I held inside for so long.
I was angry and would get upset over things which didn’t matter. Whether it was due to something someone else did or my behavior, I allowed my emotions to take over and control me. They ruled my life and not for the better — because I kept them on the inside.
For a long time, I put on a good face. I functioned only on the outside but on the inside, I was a mess. That’s what happens when we hold everything in. I tried to hide from the world and from what I was really felling. But I learned I couldn’t hide from my emotions.
However, many of us do this. We keep everything locked inside us and it builds up. We function, but barely. This is no way to live your life. It’s like a roller coaster of ups and downs but the ups are not that high and the downs are as low as you can get. We get so used to holding everything inside it becomes our normal. We learn to live with it and it begins to creep into everything we do.
We are only depressed on the inside.
We are only anxious on the inside.
We are only beautiful on the inside.
We are only lonely on the inside.
We are only miserable on the inside.
And we are only happy on the outside.
Having emotions is normal and you can’t fight back the ones which come. However, you can learn how to react to those emotions and you can find techniques to help you release the feelings from your emotions.
I’m learning every day to let go of my emotions in healthy, productive ways — and that is the key. Many of us let go of our emotions but we do it in unhealthy ways. And it ends up hurting not only ourselves but those around us. We bury them in a bottle or release them through violence. We try to escape from our problems when we know deep down we need to face them. And this only leads us down a path of misery.
What has worked for me may not work for you because you need to find your own way, your own techniques. But these are the things which have helped me and have worked for many others:
Writing — Many people use writing as a form of releasing emotions as well as healing. Writing for me has been a form of therapy and getting the emotions out of my head and onto the screen or paper is freeing. It feels good and it allows me to let go of things which have been held in for so long. You can write to the world like I do or you can keep a personal journal and not share it with anyone. Either way, writing helps us from over-thinking about everything which is going on in our busy lives. When we over-think, we become anxious and anxiety can lead to worsening emotions.
Running — I know running is very specific to me, but any form of exercise will help in letting go of emotions which we are holding inside. Along with the physical benefits, many studies have shown participation in regular physical exercise reduces stress, elevates and stabilizes mood, and improves sleep and self-esteem. Studies have also shown sufficient evidence exists for the effectiveness of exercise in treating clinical depression. It also has a moderate reducing effect on anxiety and can improve physical self-perceptions.
Talk to someone — Therapy is a wonderful way of releasing emotions. Even if you can’t afford a therapist, you can speak with a friend and let them know how you are feeling. There are also many other resources available on the internet and over the phone for free when you are feeling down. There are even text-based programs which allow you to text someone. Just talking it out helps relieve pressure and emotions you may be experiencing.
Cry — Sometimes all you can do is cry. There is nothing wrong with a good crying session, even for a man. It’s healthy and it’s normal. Allow yourself to feel those emotions. Get it out and let it go because it feels much better after you’ve been able to have a good cry. Even if it’s not due to sadness, releasing those emotions are good for your mind.
The next time you find yourself holding everything in, try one of the above. But also remember some of these are only temporary fixes. If you are experiencing a large swing of emotions regularly, you should seek professional help. In fact, I recommend you do anyway if you are struggling. I understand it’s easier said than done but it’s important to try. And as always, mental health issues never have a one-size-fits-all solution.
You can’t hide from your emotions but you can let them go in healthy ways. And they no longer have to be kept on the inside.