There are many reasons we bottle up our emotions; we may be scared of being judged by others, we may be trying to “keep the peace,” we may not understand our emotions or how to deal with them, or we may be scared of our own emotions. Many people learn as children that their emotions are not safe to share; they may have been dismissed, belittled, made fun of, or simply ignored. You may have even gotten in trouble for expressing anger, fear, or sadness. This can lead to being a stifled adult. But hiding our emotions can backfire. It can put a strain on our emotional, physical, and relational health. Some signs you may be bottling your emotions include feeling like other people don’t understand you, feeling dissatisfied from your relationships, and experiencing a growing anger, frustration, and resentment with the world and others. You could be experiencing physical symptoms such as an upset stomach, digestive issues, headaches, a racing heart, and tension. Emotions need to be expressed in a healthy way, which isn’t always easy to do if you are not in the practice of it. Sometimes the easiest way to start is simply by expressing your emotions to yourself. When an emotion comes up, instead of pushing it down, let yourself get curious about it. Maybe start writing about your emotions in a journal, or start talking about them with a therapist. Eventually, you will want to be able to express yourself in your relationships. You can start with small, positive comments, such as, “I really enjoy eating dinner with you.” Gradually, you can begin to express yourself in more difficult ways, such as being able to say, “sometimes I feel like you don’t hear me.” While some people might push back, the right people will respect and appreciate you speaking up for yourself, and feel closer to you in the end. You will begin to feel more seen, understood, and connected with yourself and others.


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